|Message From Sarah,Alumni Network CoordinatorGreetings! I hope you all enjoy the first of our series of 3 Newsletters on Climate Change as it pertains to the work and experiences of our alums. Thanks to everyone who contributed. As a PhD student in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, it's thrilling for me to be joining the ELP family. Thank you all for welcoming me on board and bearing with my learning curve. The ELP alumni network is really an awe- inspiring group of people doing important work all around the world, and I'm so happy to be, in some small way, a part of that. I'm particularly excited about helping to get the new ELP website up and running, seeing the incredible videos that will appear on the website once it's finished (now available on YouTube), and making it easier for alums to stay connected to each other and to important resources in any way I can. Please, don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help, and stay tuned for more info once we get the new website going... |
|Message From Robin |
Greetings from UC Berkeley! For all of you baseball fans, I hope you take pleasure in the World Series victory of the San Francisco Giants - the first since 1954! It was actually a tremendous show of both skill and teamwork. We also have a new governor in California - Jerry Brown. Well, new and old. He was governor for two terms in 1974 - 1982. Brown has a strong pro-environment and pro-labor record. He believes in investing in quality education for youth and in promoting "green economy" jobs. Read On...
Message From David
This fall has been very busy. We had elections where, unfortunately, the U.S. congress gained more conservatives, which may have negative implications on the environmental agenda--in particular, the chances of enacting a comprehensive climate-change policy in the next few years. So the challenge of educating people about climate change and developing policies for addressing these issues will continue. In California, however, Proposition 23, which was supposed to delay implementing greenhouse-gas legislation, was defeated. So we will proceed with introducing cap and trade, energy-efficiency standards, and other elements of greenhouse-gas policy. Read on...
Climate Disasters and State Emergency Response in Nigeria: How Prepared are we?
Most years, the gates of the Challawa and Tiga dams in the rivers of Kano State, Nigeria are opened up to allow the exit of excess water and avoid overflowing following heavy rains. In August 2010 however, this action proved disastrous for over two million inhabitants of six states in the northern part of the country. Millions were forced to flee their homes and farmlands due to the floods that overtook and consumed everything in their path. Read Full Article
Mobilizing Governments in Lagos for Climate Action
Lagos is the fastest growing mega city in the world, growing at 6-8% per annum, and by 2015 it will be the third largest city in the world, with a population of 24.5 million. Lagos has also been identified as one of the 21 coastal cities most vulnerable to the dangers of rising seas and other disasters related to climate change. Read Full Article
Adapting to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta
The Vietnamese government's achievements in pulling millions of people out of poverty are seriously jeopardized by the likely increase in extreme weather events such as severe rainfall, drought, sea level rise, and warming temperatures. The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, in particular, has been highlighted by recent reports as an area of particular concern, due to the devastating effects climate change may have in the coming decades. Read Full Article
| Traditional Solutions to Cope with Extreme Events|
Cities and rural areas will experience climate change differently, and while we are distracted by urban politics and technological endeavors, we may be overlooking important existing solutions in traditional rural practices. A mix of traditional adaptive measures and practices may hold the answer to Bangladesh's critical problems of food security, flooding, landlessness, and salinity intrusion. Read Full Article
Climate change, natural disasters, and governmental actions in Mongolia
In the winter of 2009, about 6 million of Mongolia's roughly 44 million livestock and a large number of wildlife died because of heavy and continuous snowfall and temperatures dropping below minus 40 degrees Celsius. The impact was severe, as livestock herding accounts for about a third of employment in Mongolia. Read Full Article
Effects of Climate Change on Local Livelihoods in Kenya
The Siakago community resides in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya that support 80% of the country's total land area, 25% of the population and 50% of the livestock. The area is fragile, prone to drought, and poverty stricken leaving the communities, holding stock of wealth in livestock, severely threatened by disastrous droughts. Read Full Article
| Managing Climate Risks in the Angat Reservoir Region, Philippines|
Read Full Article
Recently, ELP alums Dulce Elazegui (2003) and Agnes Rola (2001) authored the document "Managing Climate Risks in the Context of Angat Resevoir, Philippines", the result of a collaborative research project entitled "Institutional and Policy Landscaping for Climate Risk Management".
| The economic impacts of climate change in Bolivia
The increase in global warming is generating irreversible impacts on ecosystems and society as a whole, representing a major economic loss. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and the impacts of climate change in the country not only represent a significant economic cost, but also a major setback in any effort to reduce poverty there. Read Full Article
ELP ALUMNI UPDATES:
find out what your colleagues are up to...
| Robin's Letter Continued...|
California also voted against "Proposition 23" that would have forced a retreat from implementation of mandated carbon emission reductions under legislation AB32. It's great that California voters have clearly stated their support for investment in clean and renewable energy, and the "polluters pay" principle. See David Zilberman's "blog" for more perspective on this issue!
We are extremely happy to have Sarah Sawyer as our new Berkeley ELP Alumni Network coordinator. She has put tremendous effort into working with you to develop and publish this newsletter full of articles on managing the impacts of climate change in communities around the world. Our second and third newsletters this year will also feature your work related to climate change science, policy, mitigation and adaptation. Please share your knowledge and experiences!
As part of the 10th anniversary of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, we hired a recent graduate of the UCB School of Journalism, Clare Major, to develop four short videos about the ELP that will be helpful for our communication, recruitment and fundraising efforts. She accompanied us for part of ELP 2010, including the July 11th event that brought several outstanding alumni to Berkeley for the celebration. The outcome of her work is now available for all of you to see on YouTube.com! Just search for Beahrs ELP and you will see the videos titled, "Program", "Participants", "Alumni" and "Future". So far the feedback has been very positive, including from UCB Chancellor Birgeneau, who is featured in two of the videos. Please send us your feedback! That's most important of all.
In a few days the 2011 course brochure will be completed. And within a few weeks the Beahrs ELP will have a new, user-friendly, attractive website with added functions such as: "Forum", "Alumni Database", "On-line Application", and "News". You will be the first ones to know when we go "live" with the website. Sarah will be leading the effort to construct and "populate" the ELP Alumni Network pages. Please help her with timely responses to requests for information. You will be able to update your own profiles; however, we need your collaboration to build the basic information that you will then edit whenever there are changes in your professional circumstances. Watch for an email from Sarah or Elna about building this searchable database with your information and updated photos on it. Thanks!
Soon we will be asking for your support for ELP 2011 recruitment! Please think of excellent candidates among your colleagues and friends and send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
Warm regards and many thanks,
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| David's Letter Continued... |
Other states will watch the outcome of these types of policies. For example, will it be costly? Will it lead to the establishment of a green industry? One of the key challenges of our agency is to develop a rational and effective implementation plan that will achieve greenhouse-gas emission reduction with minimal friction. While I do not expect much progress in greenhouse legislation in many parts of the world, I expect that the pursuit of biofuel and alternative energy will continue. I also expect that programs, such as REDD, that protect against deforestation will be expanded. Many people would like society to pursue environmental objectives but are worried that it will be too costly. The challenge is to establish successful environmental policies that will grow by their own momentum.
I am working very hard on developing the Master's of Development Practice. We have a website (http://mdp.berkeley.edu/). It does not provide much information, but it is a start. While we have the funding from MacArthur, we need University approval to begin. After three months of work and a 1,000+ page document (indeed, we sacrificed many trees for sustainability education), I submitted the proposal to the University. We will have to jump through many hoops but, in the end, we will have a great program. Stay tuned. I will keep you informed.
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| FEATURE ARTCLES|
CLIMATE DISASTERS AND STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN NIGERIA: HOW PREPARED ARE WE?
Nnaona Efe Usoroh (ELP 2010) Program Officer
Bayelsa State Sustainable Development Policy Unit, Yenagoa
Most years, the gates of the Challawa and Tiga dams in the rivers of Kano State, Nigeria are opened up to allow the exit of excess water and avoid overflowing following heavy rains. In August 2010 however, this action proved disastrous for over two million inhabitants of six states in the northern part of the country. Millions were forced to flee their homes and farmlands due to the floods that overtook and consumed everything in their path. This devastation was the result of torrential rainfalls, despite forecasts by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) of low rainfall in the north for the year. Lives were lost; infrastructure, properties and livestock worth millions of Naira were destroyed; and thousands of hectares of farmland were submerged, damaging crops and food items. The resultant health implications of the flooding are dire: millions are forced to survive on polluted, contaminated waters, leaving them highly susceptible to malaria, cholera, and other water-borne diseases. NIMET also warns that more than 12 million people in the region could face food shortages in the coming months. In September, the western part of the country also experienced severe flooding as a result of enhanced precipitation. The release of excess water from the Oyan Dam caused flooding in the Ogun river banks and surrounding areas, covering Lagos and Ogun states. The present reality is that homes have been lost/abandoned and livelihoods shattered, and the victims are left to ponder their fate as the aftermath of this devastation continues to unfold.
While excessive prolonged rainfall is natural and beyond human control, several 'man-made' factors have intensified the extent of the calamity: problems in dam management and lack of adequate awareness; increase in the population residing on the flood plains of the rivers; human manipulations of drainage basins and undeveloped drainages; and town & urban planning problems, among others. Additionally, the Dam authorities blame floods on the rising sea level occasioned by climate change.The Federal Government, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has provided tons of relief materials to victims of the flood disasters. NEMA has, however, been criticized for its lack of quick response and for its reactionary role in the events of the past months. NEMA, State governments, and the Dam management authorities have been pointing fingers and trading blame about how each party could have done a better job and how each party should have responded.
The Need for Better Emergency Preparedness
The recent unfortunate events have once again reiterated the immediate need for Nigerian authorities to enhance the country's emergency system and response strategy. If the Emergency agencies are unable to adequately manage these flood-induced emergencies occasioned by water deliberately released from dams, then how can the country possibly cope when confronted with unanticipated complex disasters and threats?
Perhaps nothing calls for better preparedness than the fact that nature can neither be precisely predicted nor controlled. Nigeria's director for Germany's Heinrich Boll Foundation, adviser to the Nigerian government on climate change, stated that most scientists predict a one-meter rise in sea level over the next 50 years. He noted, however, that "we can't predict the exact time frame that the scourge can occur." (Next online; 10-23-2010) Scientific predictions imply that several of the coastal states (i.e. the Niger Delta) and Lagos state are highly vulnerable: any significant rise in sea level and the states, which make up about a third of the nation, will be submerged.
Though other scientists may argue that sea levels are actually declining, the fact remains that given the variability of rainfall patterns and the unpredictability of other forces of nature, our emergency systems and services must be improved. The management of disasters should henceforth be more proactive than reactive as has hitherto been the case.
Responding to floods, and indeed all disasters, is a collective responsibility. NEMA has urged the States and Local Governments to establish and empower their respective State Emergency Management Agencies and Local Government/Community emergency response teams. Emergency relief plans and programs of all tiers of government should be integrated and effectively coordinated. Preparedness requires constant efforts at planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluation and improvement activities to guarantee effective coordination and the improvement of capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, mitigate and possibly adapt to the effects of disasters.
It is heartening to note that gradual steps to make this a reality in Nigeria are actually being made. The establishment of the Ecological Fund and Office by the federal government is a welcome development and is a step in the right direction. States and local communities should have well-equipped and funded local emergency agencies to enable them to tackle emergencies as they arise. It is the desire of many Nigerians to see that the funds are judiciously expended.
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MOBILISING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN LAGOS NIGERIA FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Kofo Adeleke (ELP 2006) Director, Programmes
Community Conservation and Development Initiatives CCDI
From February to August 2010, with the support of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Community Conservation and Development Initiatives (CCDI) designed and implemented the Mobilising Local Governments for Climate Change Project in Lagos, Nigeria. The project aims to build the capacity of local governments to construct a framework for local action to respond to the challenges of global warming. The project helps develop priorities and common participatory positions that enhance local development agendas in the face of climate change.
Lagos is the fastest growing mega-city in the world, growing at 6-8% per annum, and by 2015 it will be the third largest city in the world, with a population of 24.5 million. Lagos has also been identified as one of the 21 coastal cities most vulnerable to the dangers of rising seas and other disasters related to climate change. The city is located on a narrow low-lying coastal plain, with a coastline of 180km and numerous creeks and lagoons. Much of the land is less than 5 metres above sea level, or is below sea level. The influx of new residents exceeds the capacity of existing structures and many of the poorest people live along the coast and lagoon waterfronts. In addition to sea level rise, residents are also at risk from higher temperatures and other extreme weather conditions and salt water intrusion, which will damage agriculture.
CCDI identified three coastal local governments with low income communities, agriculture and fishing activities, and/or high population density for the project. Capacity-building training workshops were organised for government officials, to raise their awareness of the impacts of climate change on their communities and to help them identify local priorities, opportunities, and obstacles for climate action at the local government level. The government officials then organised stakeholder community forums with two goals: 1) to explain to residents in their local languages the impacts of climate change; and 2) to gather information from stakeholders, including market women, fishermen, farmers, and local community leaders, about their experiences and suggestions for coping with a changing environment.
The project has been highly successful. Local residents gained information about how climate change impacts their local community and were able to participate in decision-making about necessary interventions. The local government officials strengthened their capacity to produce policy ideas for local climate action, which will aid in meeting long-term development goals.
Agreed-upon actions from the project include: 1) the establishment of disaster management committees/teams for disaster risk reduction within the local communities to cope with and minimize the impacts of disasters such as floods; 2) the adoption of more effective waste management strategies to keep canals and drains clear for flood water; 3) strengthening building policies to support sustainable planning; 4) tree planting for shoreline protection; and 5) revision of local government budgeting methods to support climate change actions.
Action is more urgent than ever before. During October 2010 almost 1,000 people living on a 120 square kilometre flood plain in the north eastern part of Lagos lost homes and property as a result of exceptionally heavy and prolonged rainfall and release of water from a nearby dam. Blocked drainage channels compounded the disaster; the victims were evacuated to temporary relief shelters with plans for their long term relocation. Local governments need to conduct climate change vulnerability and risk assessments as part of the planning process for action. The Mobilising Local Governments for Climate Change Project in Lagos is one of many steps that must be taken in the right direction to address climate change risks in Nigeria.
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Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in Mekong Delta Region Agriculture in Vietnam
Tin Nguyen (ELP 2004)
Current and Future Climate Impacts in the Mekong Delta
Vietnam is one of the world's most vulnerable countries to climate change (Oxfam report, 2008). The government's achievements in pulling millions of people out of poverty are seriously jeopardized by the likely increase in extreme weather events such as severe rainfall, drought, sea-level rise, and warming temperatures. The Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, in particular, has been highlighted by recent IPCC, UN, and World Bank reports as an area of particular concern, due to the devastating effects climate change may have in coming decades.
The Mekong Delta is a region rich in aquatic resources, including rice cultivation and shrimp farming, that constitute the means of sustainable food and income in the area. The mangrove and melaleuca forests in the region both act as important forestry resources and play critical roles in coastal protection and land reclamation. The climate and weather patterns of the Mekong Delta have been characterized by extreme conditions throughout the history of human settlement in the area and therefore the success of human habitation has always depended on adaptation to these conditions. Climate change, however, is projected to dramatically alter the Mekong Delta region, and policies for economic development in the area must therefore explicitly address such transformations.
Primary dimensions of anticipated climate change include temperature, rainfall, sea level rise, and typhoon landfalls. According to Vietnam's National Office for Climate Change and Ozone Protection (NOCCP, 2002), annual average temperatures have increased by 0.1-0.3ºC per decade and simulations project further increase in the Mekong region of 1.5º. According to the IPCC Third Assessment Report, rainfall may increase in intensity, resulting in flash floods and greater runoff. Predicted sea level rise will have grave consequences for Vietnam in general and the Mekong Delta in particular. Given the one-meter predicted sea level increase, with no additional protection measures, 40,000 sq km of the Mekong Delta region will be flooded each year, affecting 14 million people. Capital losses in Vietnam will increase more than GDP, reaching US$270 billion in 30 years (ADPC, 2003). Finally, it is anticipated that typhoon activity, which already accounts for 80% of disasters affecting Vietnam, will increase in both intensity and frequency.
Crucial Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta
Climate change adaptation in the Mekong Delta will require a four-pronged approach: 1) increasing yield of adaptive rice systems; 2) improving dry season production; 3) developing non-farm income opportunities; and 4) increasing mangrove cover. Climate change will cause serious problems to agricultural activities in the Mekong Delta, specifically to rice paddy and shrimp farming. Both flooding at the end of the rainy season and drought in the dry season will present major obstacles for rice farming, while sea level rise will increase soil and water salinity. Deterioration of mangrove ecosystems will exacerbate these problems, and increase the risk of climate disasters in the future.
At present, 70% of the population in rural Vietnam works in agriculture, and not enough non-farm jobs have developed (Suppakorn Chinvanno, 2006). Development strategies must: 1) increase rice productivity on small farms; 2) encourage shrimp production to increase income; and 3) develop non-farm opportunities that are climate-insensitive or climate-resistant. The best rice systems to adapt to future climate conditions will be floating rice varieties, which can withstand increased flooding, and salt-resistant varieties, which can withstand the increased salinity. Improvements in yield and quality of these rice varieties are necessary for survival, as they are currently quite low. Additionally, dry season rice production must be improved to increase overall food and income security.
The mangrove ecosystem, a vital component of the greater Mekong Delta ecosystem, is currently threatened by industrialization, increased land development, and sea level rise. Mangroves filter salt, reduce erosion, prevent flooding, act as a nursery for many fish and shrimp species, and provide protection from sea upsurges. Further degradation of the mangrove system will result in increased vulnerability for coastal areas. Without the mangroves, costly dikes will have to be built and maintained. A study conducted in 1998 found that the benefits of mangroves are worth approximately US$2400 per hectare (ADPC, 2003).
Many steps need to be taken, not only at the provincial level but across the Greater Mekong region, to ensure a more secure future for the region's residents. For the immediate future in the Mekong Delta, improving the productivity of existing rice farming activities and ensuring the sustainability of shrimp farming will help to raise the level and security of incomes. The diversification of crops and aquaculture-based industrial ventures can then provide the capital for developing agro-industry and accelerate the industrialization process in the region. Over time, transferring large numbers of Mekong Delta workers away from the high-risk coastal areas will free these lands for promoting mangrove cultivation. Moreover, the large-scale afforestation program in the Mekong Delta will act as a buffer against sea level rise and will also minimize risks from salt intrusion. Climate change must be taken into account in the formation of all development strategies.
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Options for the supporting non-cluster populations to cope with extreme events
Peter Kuria (ELP 2001)
The Paradox of the Climate Change Discussion
We are faced with a climate crisis. We somehow cannot agree on how to deal with it. However, some estimate that by 2050 the impacts of climate change (cooling or warming) will have defined the destiny of humanity.
Amid other global challenges, climate change has created an atmosphere of both fear and hope. There is hope that we have the ability to change things, and despair that things are beyond our control. Paradoxically, given the opportunity to change, we tend to shift our attention to things furthest from our control, getting easily distracted. For example, when we talk of food security, instead of focusing on using existing naturally-bred crops, we seek technological advances, such as GMOs, to respond to short term problems, while disregarding the long-term implications of these technologies. Additionally, when searching for global solutions, we trap ourselves in complex and intricate political distractions that prevent us from taking concrete actions, for example, to improve our ecological integrity. Cities and rural areas will experience climate change differently, and while we are distracted by urban politics and technological endeavors, we may be overlooking important existing solutions in traditional rural practices.
Non-Cluster Populations and Climate Change Risk
Cities can be seen as clusters of population in space. While hamlets of villages can be defined as non-cluster populations. It is easier to provide services and determine a predictable market within cluster populations. Amid the extreme climate views, there is widespread support to finance climate solutions, and develop technologies and infrastructure that prepares and placates those living in cluster societies. However, it is the non-cluster populations who are exposed to the extremes of climate change, and impacts on them are projected to be severe, especially in the arid zones. Nevertheless, solutions to support those living in non-cluster population are still being studied and analysed, rather than being implemented. As the economic returns from non-cluster areas are not often evident, people lack incentives for climate investments there.
The climate debate leaves many questions unanswered about the non-cluster populations. Little is being done to proactively represent their framework of existence and concerns, and factor them into the climate financing mechanisms. The emerging instruments and institutions shy away from dealing with non-cluster issues. It has been argued that benefits from investing in cluster systems will eventually 'trickle down' to the marginal non-cluster populations. This has been a development paradigm over the last 50 years. Can we still afford to buy this argument?
Non-Cluster Populations and Climate Change Adaptive Solutions
Big problems, at times, require simple solutions that already exist, are within our reach, and take minimum spending. Bangladesh may provide an ideal example of this fact. Bangladesh, a low-lying delta country, laced and often lashed by 600,000 sq miles of watershed from the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna river systems, will bear the brunt of extreme climate conditions in the coming decades. One fifth of the country is under water for six months during the monsoon period, exposing the non-cluster population to critical problems of food security. However, Bangladesh has an interesting response to landlessness during the flooding period: the floods offer an opportunity for adaptive farming to enhance rural livelihood options.This highlights the roles traditional knowledge, technology, and practice can play in addressing climate change issues.
A mix of traditional adaptive measures and practices might therefore hold the answer to Bangladesh's critical problems of food security, flooding, landlessness, and salinity intrusion. Access to crops that can withstand salinity; aqua-culture practices that guarantee food security; and water management systems that will secure future supplies of clean water are paramount. A combination of the non-soil floating agriculture known as goata and the water engineering system called ber can deliver these solutions, they simply lack a support framework to do so. This is an opportunity to use Climate Funds to promote the goata practice, the traditional salinity tolerant rice species and develop the ber technology for wider application.
Goata agriculture transforms landless people into farmers during the flood season. Floating goata is made of bamboo and straw from amon and aush paddy (rice). Pulses, tubers and vegetables are grown on it. After the flood waters recede, the partially decomposed straw is ready for use as organic manure. According to the locals, besides withstanding salinity, the aush species is the best straw for the goata. Farmers combine farming and fishing to improve their nutritional status, and to generate cash by selling excess fish and the decomposed goata as organic manure. The ber water engineering system has traditionally been used by farmers to deal with water-logging and salinity. The architecture effectively maintains fresh water for use by households as well protecting the limited agriculture lands from being contaminated by salinity.
As the global community fights about economy, political texts, and expensive interventions, knowledge from a non-cluster population is defining how to deal with the future in a very meaningful manner in Bangladesh. Giving traditional adaptive strategies more weight in our climate change discussions may lead to vastly improved and easily applicable solutions.
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Climate change, natural disaster and governmental actions in Mongolia
G. Erdenebayasgalan (ELP 2009)
Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism
The signs of climate change are already evident in Mongolia as in many other countries in the world. Mongolia's fragile ecosystems, pastoral animal husbandry, and rain-fed agriculture are extremely sensitive to climate change. As such, Mongolia's traditional economic sectors and its people's nomadic way of life are highly vulnerable to climate change.
Mongolia joined the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in1993 and the Kyoto Protocol in 1999. The Government has taken considerable steps toward the implementation of the UNFCCC, by accomplishing the required commitments such as the Initial National Communication (INC), Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) and the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) to address climate change and other legal commitments.
Climate change can lead to natural disasters, which usually cause socio-economic damage and environmental degradation, thereby negatively impacting society and the economy. For example, Mongolia counts both a rapid increase of rodents and forest and steppe fires as natural disasters. Therefore, environmental degradation, in addition to large-scale property damage, should be included in the UN's definition of natural disaster. According to data collected since the 1970s, Mongolia has experienced approximately 25-30 atmosphere-related natural phenomenon, almost one-third of which caused natural disasters and several billion Tugrugs in damage.
Since the mid-1990s, excluding droughts and zuds (heavy snow fall), temporary extreme weather conditions have caused 10-12 billion Tugrugs in damage every year.
This damage is largely due to the lack of protective mechanisms against natural disasters and the weakness of statistical data in forecasts.
Continuous strong snowstorms (6 hours or more) that cover a large territory are one of the most dangerous extreme events, and can cause dramatic human fatalities.
During this type of storm herders, usually in the pastureland with their herds, are especially vulnerable. For example, from April 16 to 20, 1980, a strong snowstorm, with up to 40 m/s of speed, continued for 60 hours and caused 43 human deaths and unkown economic damage (during the socialist era, damage statistics were not open to the public).
| Source: http://www.life.com/image/97711013 |
The herders are always afraid of natural disasters like zud. The zud is an extremely snowy winter in which livestock are unable to find fodder through the snow cover, and large numbers of animals die due to starvation and cold. In the winter of 2009, about 6 million of the country's roughly 44 million livestock, and a large number of wildlife, died because of the heavy and continuous snowfall and temperatures dropping below minus 40 degrees Celsius in most provinces of Mongolia.
The impact was severe, as livestock herding accounts for about a third of employment in Mongolia. Around 35 percent of Mongolia's work force is dependent on herding for a substantial part of their livelihoods and about 63 percent of rural household assets are livestock. Therefore, impacts include worsening food security and rising poverty levels, which may cause an increase in rural to urban migration.
In 2010, the Government of Mongolia adopted a clean air amendment along with a new law based on the 'polluters pay' principle, the Air Pollution Fee. An interagency and inter-sectoral National Climate Committee (NCC) was established. The committee consists of experts to coordinate and guide national activities, and to develop measures for adapting to climate change and mitigating GHG emissions.
A Governmental meeting was held on the last Friday of August, 2010 in South-Gobi, a place badly hit by spreading desertification. South-Gobi was chosen as the venue because the Government wanted to raise public awareness of problems posed by climate change. Meeting participants discussed a new program to battle climate change and decided to appeal for international assistance and attention. The coalition Government will do whatever it can, but people and organizations also have to change their habits and ways to adopt environmentally friendly methods of living and working.
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Implications of Climate Change Effects on Local Communities' Livelihoods: The Case of Siakago Community in Kenya
Patrick Karani (ELP 2003)
Kenya is most vulnerable to cli mate change, particularly its marginal communities, such as Siakago, that largely depend on natural resources for livelihood (Karani 2010). Climate events such as La Ninã affected Kenyan economy in the Financial Years of 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. Stern (2007) noted that about 26% of the Kenyan Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was lost as a result of La Ninã, resulting from a 28% decline in hydro electric power production, a 58% loss in industrial productivity, and a 16% reduction in agricultural output. Local communities must struggle with climate consequences on the ground for survival.
The Case of Siakago Community in Kenya
Siakago community resides in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya that support 80% of the country's total land area, 25% of the population and 50% of the livestock (Karani 2010). The area is fragile, prone to drought, and poverty-stricken. The communities, holding much of their wealth in livestock, are severely threatened by drought that diminishes cattle feed and water (Karani 2010).
The impact is seen in reduced incomes due to underweight livestock that fetches very little cash on the market or livestock that is lost completely. The farming communities face similar consequences, as drought affects food and cash crops. In attempts to mitigate the effects of climate change, different groups have tried to diversify their income sources (Karani 2002). Kung'u et al. (2009) found that communities are involved in multiple, diversified activities as shown in Table 1.
One can deduce from Table 1 that as climate change introduces economic and social costs to local communities, along with environmental damage, local communities are adapting to climate change and becoming more resilient to its causes. Enterprising and innovative activities have been initiated by the Siakago community in the face of climate change. For example, they are exploring options for carbon trading on a small scale (Karani 2002). The community members are planting trees not only to provide fruits for income and food, but also for carbon sequestration, which earns revenues from voluntary carbon markets. Chart 1 shows diversification of activities to mitigate climate change while also supporting livelihoods.
Climate change is one of the most challenging phenomena for the survival of local communities. It is a pressing issue on the poverty and constraints achievements of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa in general and in Kenya in particular.
It is important for vulnerable communities most affected by climate change to be assisted with means of diversifying their economic opportunities, enterprising activities with resilience mechanisms, and developing adaptive measures to climate change.
It is time to look beyond command and control policy and regulatory measures to mitigate climate change. We must look towards market-based approaches, such as carbon trading and exchange, which provide incentives for local community motivation and participation in addressing problems of climate change.
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Karani, Patrick, 2010. The Turning Point: Building Local Assets through Carbon Sequestration Initiatives. Aura Books, Nairobi, Kenya. ISBN: 9966-1504-5-5
Karani, Patrick, 2002. Introduction to Emerging Carbon Offset Markets: Prospects and Challenges for Development in Africa. College Publishers Limited, Nairobi, Kenya. ISBN: 9966 -9761-0-8.
Kung'u, B. James and A. Gichu, 2009. Research on Potential for Carbon Trading among Small Scale Farmers in Semi Arid Regions of Kenya. Department of Environmental Studies, Kenyatta University.
Stern, Nicholas, 2007. The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review. The Cambridge University Press, Cambrideg, UK.
Managing Climate Risks in the Context of Angat Reservoir, Philippines
Ms. Dulce D. Elazegui (ELP 2003) and
Dr. Agnes C. Rola (ELP 2001)
Recently, ELP alumni Dulce Elazegui (2003) and Agnes Rola (2001) authored the document "Managing Climate Risks in the Context of Angat Resevoir, Philippines", the result of a collaborative research project entitled "Institutional and Policy Landscaping for Climate Risk Management". The project represents collaboration between the Institute of Strategic Planning and Policy Studies, College of Public Affairs, University of the Philippines Los Baños, UPLB Foundation, Inc., and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA. It is part of a bigger project, entitled "Climate Forecast Applications for Disaster Mitigation in Indonesia and the Philippines" with support from USAID and NOAA.
The important work highlights results of an analysis of the institutional and policy context for climate risk management (CRM) in the case of Angat Reservoir in Bulacan province of the Philippines. The case of Angat Reservoir is complex, as many different players are involved from the national level to the local level. Water allocation is approved by the National Water Resources Board to three competing sectors. Seasonal climate variability and extreme climate events affect levels of stream flow to the reservoir, and thus its capacity to deliver water to the various users. Users include: the Metro Manila area, for domestic, industrial, commercial, and other uses; the Bulacan and Pampanga areas for irrigation requirements; and the National Power Corporation for hydro-power generation. The degree of climate impacts will depend on the response mechanisms already in place.
The primary objectives of the research are to provide a fuller understanding of: 1) the roles of the stakeholders and institutions involved; 2) the arena within which interactions occur; 3) the policy decisions that are routinely taken in response to climate-related problems; and 4) potential institutional and policy strategies to upgrade climate risk management solutions for better incorporation in social and economic development.
The monograph presents important information on topics such as: the nature of climate risks in an urban setting, and current efforts to address them; the decision-making process at the national level, particularly in the context of rural-urban competition for water use; the experience at the local rural level, particularly the agricultural sector in Bulacan; and the potential for rainfall index insurance to help manage risks in agriculture.
Key observations on institutional behavior include: 1) informal institutions are just as important as formal laws and regulations; and 2) stakeholders respond to risks and constraints as they perceive them, then use this knowledge to take actions to protect their interests. Abnormal climate conditions typically trigger reactions to cope with an "unexpected" or extreme climate event, but pro-active steps to reduce risks often do not receive sufficient attention. Management of Angat Dam is more critical when the water level is low, demanding a change in demand from water users as demonstrated during the 1997-1998 El Niño. The coping mechanisms are physical (e.g. building infrastructure), technical (e.g. use of alternative technologies), and behavioral (e.g. changes in farming and water delivery).
A number of institutional issues arising from the research include: organizational mobilization, upgrading of climate information system, weather index insurance as a tool for reducing risks, more effective decision tools for reservoir operation and management, and mainstreaming CRM in development planning. Collaborations between water suppliers/managers, decision makers, and research institutions will be key in guaranteeing the obtaining of required information for better CRM decisions. Finally, although awareness of the need to address impacts of climate change is slowly increasing, the publication points to the importance of efforts to improve societal resilience to climate-related risks today. While trends related to climate change must be continually monitored and analyzed, and policy approaches must be developed to address them, increasing capacity to proactively manage climate risks today holds important lessons in adapting to a changing climate for decades to come.
The impacts of climate change in Bolivia: an economic approach
Mónica Claudia Castro Delgadillo (ELP 2005) and Daniel Leguia
Global Consulting, Sustainable Development
The increase in global warming is generating irreversible impacts on ecosystems and society as a whole, representing a major economic loss. Bolivia is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. The impacts of climate change not only represent a significant economic cost, but also a major setback in any effort to reduce poverty there. Given the high vulnerability of rural poor to this kind of phenomena - extreme and chronic - global warming will only deepen the processes of inequality in Bolivia (Oxfam 2009: 2; PNCC 2006; Castro M., Leguia D. et al. 2009).
Among the most important climate change impacts in Bolivia are: declining food security, reduced water availability, natural disasters with greater frequency and intensity, increased incidence of mosquito-borne diseases, and increased forest fires (OXFAM 2009: 6). However, climate change phenomena will most strongly affect the agricultural sector, which has the largest single share in national GDP (15%), contribution to exports ( 16%), the generation of employment (39% of the population), and food security (PNCC 2006; Castro M., Leguia D. et al. 2009). Assessing the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector, we will see a growth in inequality levels represented by the Gini coefficient (Figure 1). Studies (PNCC 2006, Castro M., Leguia D. et al. 20009) show that during the extreme events of El Niño (1982/83 - 1991/93 - 1997/98 and 2006/07) there was a sharp fall in agricultural GDP. Therefore, the increased incidence of extreme events has major implications for food production and food security (Easterling, et al, 2007. Stern Review. 2008).
Forestry also has a close relationship with climate change. Forests contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and store more than one billion tons carbon
(FAO 2008). Forest destruction releases approximately 6 million tons / year of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additionally, the activities of land use change (deforestation) contribute 80% of the total greenhouse gases in Bolivia. Forests, therefore, constitute the main mechanism for climate change mitigation.
In Bolivia, yields of corporate agriculture are declining and industry continues to expand the areas of industrial crops. At the same time, legal deforestation rates are also growing exponentially (Figure 2). Both behaviors increase climate change vulnerability in the country. Such vulnerability will cost Bolivia dearly. According to IDB estimates, during the period 1970-1999, losses due to disasters in Bolivia amounted to 21% of GDP (NPCC 2006). A study by the Community of Andean Nations (CAN 2009) estimates that climate change in Latin American countries like Bolivia could represent 4.5% of GDP. While a survey by M. Castro, Leguia D. et al. (2009) estimates the impact of climate change as a percentage of GDP of the agricultural sector to be 2% and of the economy as a whole to be 14%.
For these reasons, it is important to take immediate action to counter the effects of climate change, thereby reducing the vulnerability of social, economic, and environmental sectors. As there will be limits to adaptation in areas with high temperatures in future, the only way to prevent future damage is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions today (Stern Review 2008).
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CAN. (2008). "EL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO NO TIENE FRONTERAS". El Comercio S.A.. Secretaría general de la Comunidad Andina. Lima, Perú. 40.
CEPAL. (2007). "ALTERACIONES CLIMATICAS EN BOLIVIA: IMPACTOS OBSERVADOS EN EL PRIMER TRIMESTRE DE 2007". CEPAL. La Paz, Bolivia. 140.
FAO (2006). "EL ESTADO MUNDIAL DE LA AGRICULTURA Y LA ALIMENTACIÓN". FAO. Roma, Italia. 162.
IPCC (2007). "CUARTA EVALUACIÓN DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO". PNUMA. Estados Unidos. 120.
PNCC. (2003). "INVENTARIO NACIONAL DE EMISIONES DE GASES DE EFECTO INVERNADERO DE BOLIVIA PARA LA DÉCADA 1990 - 2000 Y SU ANÁLISIS TENDENCIAL". PNCC. La Paz, Bolivia. 241.
PNCC. (2006). "EL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO EN BOLIVIA: IMPACTOS SOBRE SECTORES CRÍTICOS". PNCC. La Paz, Bolivia. 135.
PNUD. (2007). "INFORME SOBRE DESARROLLO HUMANO 2007 - 2008. LA LUCHA CONTRA EL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO: SOLIDARIDAD FRENTE A UN MUNDO DIVIDIDO". Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo. Nueva York, Estados Unidos. 402.
SENAMHI. 2006. Quinto informe: Generación de Escenarios Climáticos
Stern; et. al (2007). "STERN REVIEW: LA ECONOMÍA DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO". HM Treasury. Londres, Inglaterra. 1005.
Castro M.; Leguia D. Taicer E.; Anze R.; Miranda F. (2009). "ANÁLISIS DE LOS IMPACTOS DEL CAMBIO CLIMÁTICO SOBRE LA ECONOMÍA BOLIVIANA". Programa Nacional de Cambio Climáticos (PNCC). Simbiosis. Global CDS. Instituto de Investigación Socioeconómica (IISEC).
SGI Update: The IYLEGI (Indonesian Young Leaders for Environmental and Governance Initiatives) Training, 2010
Combining several different methodologies as practiced by the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) and the UNDP Asian Young Leaders in Governance (AYLG), the Indonesian alumni of ELP and AYLG designed and carried out the Indonesian Young Leadership for Environment and Governance Initiatives (IYLEGI). The training project was successfully conducted from 21 to 26 September, 2010 in Bogor, Indonesia. Thirteen young leaders from 9 organizations (government and NGO) from 5 provinces in Indonesia were trained in leadership skills and environmental governance.
The core training team consisted of four ELP alums: Alifah Sri Lestari (07), Happy Tarumadevyanto (07), Rahmina (02), and Nani Saptariani (04). Also sharing their experiences during the training were four more ELP alumni: Diah Raharjo (01), Erna Rosdiana (02), Yohannes Izmi Ryan (05) and Burhanuddin (02).
The primary goal of the IYLEGI training project is the institutionalization of a spirit of sharing among up-and-coming young leaders to support their work. IYLEGI aims to increase the capacity of young leaders in governance, resting upon three pillars of implementation:
- Character-building of the leaders, strengthening understanding and providing leaders with new perspectives on governance;
- Creating an environment that enables the leaders to implement governance systems;
- Improving skills and knowledge which strengthen collaborative processes, an important component of governance systems.
These three pillars are implemented using several methodologies, including field trips. In addition to discussions about leadership and governance, participants also visited a village during the training sessions. There they observed and held discussions with stakeholders, identifying a particular case study to learn more about leadership and governance. The ensuing sessions used insights from the field trip as the basis of further discussions. Game-playing and role-playing exercises are also essential methodologies in IYLEGI training as means of understanding the topics of discussion.
By the end of the training, each participant developed an action plan drawn on experiences gained during the training. They planned to incorporate insights and skills into their daily work and organizations. Andreas, a participant from Ecoton-Surabaya, said, "This training is very useful to support my work because it's really practical, and easy to apply under different conditions." Ati, from FIELD Indonesia, added, "The topic of power mapping helped me to understand more about governance. I haven't practiced this before, and I will use this approach to support my work at the field level."
Two weeks after the IYLEGI training, as part of a follow-up exercise, alumni held a joint training on plastics recycling. The aim of this was to increase awareness of environmental protection into the future.
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SGI Update: Assessing the Environmental Impacts of the WET-Jukskei River Restoration Project in Johannesburg, South Africa as a Foundation for a Green Market Stock Exchange
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The Waterway Environment Transformation (WET)-Africa seeks to preserve and rehabilitate the valuable natural reserves of South Africa's critically endangered rivers. WET-Africa's Jukskei River Restoration project intends to rehabilitate the dangerously polluted 67 km Jukskei River in Johannesburg, South Africa, through educating and involving communities in river restoration, and providing alternative 'green' employment opportunities that alleviate poverty while benefiting the river
Kim Kieser (ELP 2009), CEO Founder of SOUL Foundation and WET-Africa, was assisted by four graduate students from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, International Business Development Program (IBD), in the plan to remediate, restore, and improve the waters and catchment area of the Jukskei River. The MBA students' objective was to perform an economic and environmental assessment of the Jukskei River. Specifically, they set out to identify and quantify the financial benefits derived from cleaning and maintaining the Jukskei River, for the purpose of attracting capital support. The Haas students report that they found the experience to be challenging and rewarding.
The work by WET-Africa, IBD, and GFN (Global Footprint Network) will laythe foundation for a global and a regional Green Stock Exchange (GMSE), which gives monetary value to natural open space that can be utilised as conservation areas for public recreational use. The GMSE utilizes investment-based revenue as a financial mechanism to fund environmental improvements and is an innovative mechanism for investors to earn financial returns in the process of restoring and 'adding value' to degraded environmental areas. It generates income for the local community, creates employment and contributes to long term sustainable growth in the region. The increased value of the Jukskei watercourse after restoration in the WET program will be a reflection of the project's associated social, economic and environmental benefits.
The Haas Business School's IBD students, Gustavo Botelho, Chad Arkoff, David Schlosberg, and Samir Janveja, completed their portion of the project and reported their findings in June 2010. One student reported, "We hope that our efforts to assess the feasibility of WET-Africa's strategic plan will contribute positively to the region through environmental improvement, poverty alleviation, and job creation." The IBD reports indicate that recycling is the most realizable near-term outcome for the Jukskei River project and that the development of recycling centers will be essential in keeping waste away from the river. SOUL is currently in negotiations with National Dept. Water Affairs and Environment to form a Public-Private Partnership to implement WET-Jukskei 67 as a Ministerial Legacy Project. They hope this will secure the lands necessary for buyback centers.
The range of stakeholder interests in the Jukskei River is incredibly diverse, and IBD findings conclude that WET-Africa will need to partner and negotiate with a variety of different people and organizations to further its goals. This will include not only local communities, but also: 1) a carbon advisor to tackle the challenges of monetizing carbon mitigation contributions and recycling carbon schemes; and 2) the University of Witwaterstrant, a major landholder in the area, to protect their land from development. The report also recommends the organization and management of a business/environmental improvement district comprised of and funded by the Jukskei Restoration District (JRD), through which WET-Africa will be able to achieve a net surplus by year three. Development of the JRD is currently underway.
The IBD students note, "As part of our engagement on the project, we encountered a wide spectrum of passionate constituents along the river, which passes through and significantly impacts those ranging from impoverished township residents, governmental departments, universities, private businesses and real estate developers." Working together with this diverse range of stakeholders, WET-Africa will move one step closer to its goals of improving the river environment while alleviating poverty in the area.
ELP Alumni Updates
Natalia Belova (Russia, ELP 2003) shares photos from the Youth Environmental Camp (July 2010, Black Sea, Anapa, Russia), where she worked as a trainer (leadership communication) with school children and students. She is Head of the Center of implementation of social and ecological initiatives of the NGO "FUTURE FOR EVERYONE", which partners with Oxfam Russia and many other Russian and international NGOs.
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Tin Nguyen (Vietnam, ELP 2004) completed his master's degree in Environmental Science and Policy last June and returned to Vietnam. During his two years at Clark University, he received an award, and joined the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative meeting at the University of Miami.
Sam Ubi (Nigeria, ELP 2004) writes: "I am the conservation coordinator of a sanctuary dedicated to the sustainable management of its biodiversity. I am directly involved in policy formulation and implementation. Recently, my colleagues and I succeeded in lobbying the state legislators to revive a 30 year old forest and wildlife law. My duties have been diverse, involving the training of newly recruited staff on anti-poaching techniques and supervision and establishment of community development projects. Currently, I am preparing the communities to benefit from carbon forestry while ensuring sustainable use of the resource. My team is making a meaningful impact on the lives of rural people and primates."
Pieter Terpstra (Japan, ELP 2004) writes: "I am still working for the Dutch Foreign Service. After a great 2 1/2 years in Bangladesh we moved to Tokyo in August this year. I am currently working as Trade Officer at the Economic Section. At the same time I am also the Environmental Counselor so I am still involved in environmental issues. It has been a big change from Dhaka to Tokyo but so far we really like it."
In September, 2010, Anyaa Vohiri (Liberia, ELP 2004) became the first female Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia. Her appointment is a crucial step in protecting Liberia's environmental health. Before her appointment, Vohiri was instrumental in designing the current Liberia Environmental Protection Laws, and she brings to the post a vast wealth of experience and knowledge that will be essential to combat the grave environmental challenges that Liberia faces.
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Wamiti Wanyoike (Kenya, ELP 2005) writes: "In August 2008, I moved from the Ornithology Section to Entomology, offering me a chance to widen my knowledge in ecology and conservation. In 2008 and 2009, I successfully implemented a Rufford Small Grants' birds survey and community bird guides training at Uaso Narok Forest Reserve in my rural town of Nyahururu. Together with the guides, we founded Nyahururu Bird Club (now Nyahururu Conservation Society). In July 2010, I undertook an invertebrates inventory in the same forest. As was the case with birds, this was the first such study conducted in this forest. The findings of the bird survey have now been published in Scopus journal and I am preparing to publish the invertebrate findings in 2011. I have published an article in Kenya Birding magazine on the ornithological treasure of Nyahururu, listed as a key global site because of my research."
Valentina Martinez (Mexico, ELP 2006) has recently joined a PhD program in Tropical Ecology at a Mexican university. For the next three years, she will be focusing on the construction of learning objects to deliver problem-solving and learner-centered experiences for students, decision-makers, and general public. Her intention is to develop teaching strategies that will contribute to the establishment of new alternatives to traditional education regarding environmental issues.
Sara Mateo (Peru, ELP 2006) is now working as an Associate Consultant for Carbon Decisions International, a company with headquarters in Costa Rica. She is currently running a Project related to the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCB) in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala in the context of the GuateCarbon National Project.
Norma Chan-Pongan (Philippines, ELP 2006) writes: "In my position as the National Coordinator for Population Health and Environment Programs of Save the Children, I am currently managing a project addressing hunger and food insecurity in three regional sites in the Philippines. Kraft Foods funds the project, and was recently awarded the Asian Corporate Social Responsibility in the Poverty Alleviation category for this innovative nutrition program."
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To promote the cause of community carbon forestry and giving local efforts a global voice, Dr. Pushkin Phartiyal (India, ELP 2007), Executive Director of the Central Himalayan Environment Association, has established Global Community Carbon Forestry Alliance (GCCFA). With participation of developing and developed countries, this alliance aims at: 1) policy advocacy for valuation of the Ecosystem Services emanating from community forests in the form of carbon sequestration and 2) rewarding the communities managing these resources. Pushkin (email@example.com) welcomes persons and organizations interested in community forestry to be in touch for exchange of ideas and resource sharing.
Osmond Mugweni (Zimbabwe, ELP 2008) is currently looking for funding to scale up and replicate the pilot work he's been doing as executive director at the Njeremoto Biodiversity Institute. His pilot work suggests that the solution for the intense semi-arid rangeland degradation suffered in many areas of Zimbabwe is time-controlled grazing based on Indigenous Shona Grazing Management Practices. Mugweni hopes that the Institute will be able to find funding and get going on this important work soon.
Daru Rini (Indonesia, ELP 2009) writes that Prigi Arisandi (Indonesia, ELP 2008) was invited by the US State Department to visit the US in September/ October this year. With six other Indonesian conservation activists, he was invited to attend biodiversity training and visit many conservation institutions in Washington, New Orleans, Montana and Hawaii. Their NGO, ECOTON, was invited also by IYLEGI to attend a leadership training in Bogor for 5 days at the end of September (see SGI news), and they are currently preparing for training with Vince Resh in Java.
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Maria Rita Manzano Borba (Brazil, ELP 2010) reports: "As the ELP 2010 alumna who transits between sectors (!!!) I'm now with one of the biggest banks in Brazil, Itaú Unibanco, in the Sustainability Management area. I'm coordinating the GRI process for the 2010 report and also the implementation of a Sustainability management tool to integrate all the areas within the bank."
Vivienne Caballero (Panama, ELP 2010) reports that she has been very busy lately, but she has still managed to visit with Alicia Calle (ELP 2010), and Federico Ballone (ELP 2010) during their recent trips to Panama
Nazima Shaheen (Pakistan, ELP 2010) writes: "I am so pleased to inform you that I have been able to meet two ELP alumni at the 2010 UNEP-Tongji University Leadership Program on Environment and Sustainable Development with the theme of 'Low carbon life and urban sustainable development'. I got the email from coordinator of the program with a request to share it with my network. I shared it with the ELP alumni network and Anthony Penaso (ELP 2007) and Pushkin Phartiyal (ELP 2007) and I were all selected. During the training, we were so passionately talking about ELP that most of the other participants now have orientation of our Berkeley ELP."
Trotsky Riera Vite (Ecuador, ELP 2010) writes: "I am happy to announce the birth of my daughter. She was born Saturday, October 2 at approximately 11:38 AM, with 3,000.00g (6,6 pounds) and next to 50 cm. Her name is IKIANA, that in Shuar language means Jungle, or Forest."
Steve Ndzerem (Cameroon, ELP 2010) of the Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) organization and Wirsiy Emmanuel (Cameroon, ELP 2007) of the CAMGEW Organization in Cameroon have established a partnership for the promotion of household bio-gas systems amongst rural poor communities, aimed especially at reducing their dependence on fuel wood and at the use of slurry as bio-fertilizer and pesticide. The training thus far has been carried out at the SHUMAS Integrated Bio-farm training Center. It has been very successful and they are already making plans to start expanding this system to poor peasant communities.
Rhonda Hardy (USA, ELP 2010) has been busy forming Envirovisions Institute (EI), a non-governmental organization whose purpose is to champion those individuals and groups who want to turn environmental challenges into opportunities to grow their businesses and strengthen their communities. The mission of EI is to provide leadership for businesses and communities whose goal is to create environmentally sustainable practices, products and services. Stay tuned for more details as EI develops into a successful organization.
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| ELP and Development Practitioners Forum:
InfoSpring UpdateDavid Nicholson
Community Manager, The Development Practitioners Forum
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In January of this year, the ELP network announced a partnership with the Development Practitioners Forum, a non-profit based in Washington DC and founded by Tony Barclay, a member of the ELP Steering Committee. The announcement coincided with the Forum's official launch of InfoSpring, a Q&A knowledge sharing platform for development practitioners. The tool is designed to allow practitioners, especially those working in the field, to share knowledge and experiences, and crowd-source solutions to practical development problems. The thematic focus (sustainable development) is closely aligned with the core themes of the ELP, and the Forum hoped to benefit from the wealth of knowledge present among ELP students and alumni.
InfoSpring's primary functionality allows users to organize around a problem-solving process that feeds knowledge from those who possess it to those who need it. The site is democratic in spirit and user-driven. Community members rate the content that appears on the site via a peer-review system, through which members earn "reputation points" for their contributions.
Since January we have experienced considerable success in building what is now a vibrant and rapidly expanding community. We have used a variety of methods to engage practitioners; including an innovative effort to reach the grass-roots led by InfoSpring Advocates in several countries.
InfoSpring now counts more than 1,350 members from 83 countries. Since its inception, practitioners have asked 475 questions, over 85% of which have been answered. Much has been learnt along the way, with traction being gained in certain countries far easier than others. Hubs have developed in Kenya, the Philippines and Indonesia, indicating great enthusiasm among local practitioners in those countries. Members of the ELP network have played a role in this growth. Currently there are 36 ELP alumni registered on the site, a few of whom have been extremely active members.
Muthoni Ngotho (ELP 2003) has been an avid InfoSpring user since its launch. She has generously shared her broad knowledge on issues relating to urban environments, energy, and gender through 6 questions and 50 answers 50, earning her one of the highest reputation point scores. Muthoni describes InfoSpring as "a great resource and an inspiring, positively challenging community".
Due to the difficult fund-raising climate, the Forum's board of directors recently concluded that the best way to ensure sustainability would be to find a new organizational home for InfoSpring. We are currently in advanced discussions with The Earth Institute, Columbia University. The proposal is for Columbia's Masters in Development Practice (MDP) program to absorb the project, where it can build links to other global MDP programs supported by the MacArthur Foundation. UC Berkeley was one of the successful applicants during the second round of MDP funding, and will be launching its own MDP program in September 2011. It is expected that there will be many links between the MDP and ELP programs at Berkeley, and it is hoped InfoSpring can play a productive role in linking the alumni of both programs for many years to come.