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Climate Change Policy
In This Issue
Impressions from COP16
Balancing on Thin Ice - Mainstreaming Climate Change into Development Policy
Biogas tackles food, energy, and climate change crises
Implementing Climate Change Policy in an African Megacity
Floods and Disaster Preparedness in Pakistan
Recent Publications from an ELP alum
Message from Sarah Sawyer, Alumni Network Coordinator
Thanks for making this another fascinating newsletter on Climate Change.  SCS
Its been a busy few months since the last newsletter: The marriage of my sister; the first publication to come out of my dissertation work; an exciting symposium for the local chapters of the Society for Conservation Biology; the successful launch of the new ELP website; and, of course, a new wave of applicants.  Having seen the talented and diverse applicant pool for ELP 2011, I am now looking even more forward to the upcoming course.  Its shaping up to be as informative and innovative as ever, and I can't wait to finally see what all the hype is about.  Keep those updates coming, and keep letting me know if you have ideas for website news pieces or newsletter articles.  Also, please let me know how I can continue to make alumni connections even stronger.
TopClimate Change Issue II March 2011

Message From Robin Marsh:Robin


Thanks to all of the contributors of this issue on Climate Change Policy, and to Sarah for putting it all together.  If you haven't checked out the latest article on the website about ELP personal experiences and viewpoints regarding the COP 16 in Cancun, I recommend you take a few minutes to do that: http://beahrselp.berkeley.edu/elp-alums-report-on-cop16-continued/

I am happy to inform you that this year we have had an outstanding group of applicants to ELP 2011.   Many of them have found out about the ELP through you, our alumni.  From our point of view, there could be no better recommendation since you know well what we have to offer as an international environmental leadership training program and network.  Thank you!  Also, every year we have applicants from entirely new organizations and regions of the world, expanding our reach and your access to the world through the ELP.  We are also grateful to our continued support from sponsoring organizations such as WWF, The Asia Foundation, Development Alternatives, Inc, Ford Foundation, and a number of generous individuals.   

Read On...
David photoMessage from David Zilberman -

One more step towards establishing the MDP


As you know we are working towards establishing a master of development practice at Berkeley. This program will be part of a global network of programs sponsored by the MacArthur foundation (see http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.4711697/k.254A/Masters_in_Development_Practice.htm). The MDP is a two years Masters program in sustainability (see http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/site/dev_prac.php), which will complement the Beahrs ELP. We received a grant to establish the program from The Macarthur foundation and now our challenge is to get is approved by UC Berkeley and the UC system. I spent a year preparing the case for the program and this Tuesday we learned that we got the go-ahead from Berkeley academic council - a major step    on the way to being established. We plan to have the first class start at July 2012.

Last week I participated in the MDP summit at CATIE in Costa Rica. I met representatives of all the 23 universities with MDP programs. We aim to establish a network of programs, which share curriculum and are using the electronic media to have a joint global class. While each program has its own flavor and emphasis, all programs share commitment to practical, interactive education. All are committed and are challenged to establish a strong internship program. I felt really fortunate that we have our ELP alumni that could provide our students many internship opportunities.  I hope that the MDP program will emphasize life long learning and provide refresher courses or online education to their graduates. It will be great if we can apply this concept in the ELP.

I feel very good about the MDP now, as we move towards approval. But still we have a long way to go. I will inform you as we progress.


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Impressions from the Climate COP16 

Ruiz w/ UNFCCC Secretary

Adrian Ruiz (Mexico, ELP 2007) 

There is already much being written on the outcomes of the Cancún COP16, its implications and the next steps to build on the progress made since the disappointment at Copenhagen. Instead of trying to come up with some radical new perspective on the process, or a brand new strategy or theory on how to accelerate the transition to a carbon-stable world, as so many organizations were eager to do at the COP, I'll reflect on my own experience at the Conference.

read more 

Balancing on Thin Ice - Mainstreaming Climate Change into Development Policy 

Anu Maria Hassinen (Finland, ELP 2001) 

Many energy experts share the view that, globally, energy systems need radical transformation and systematic change in order to meet the triple challenges of energy security, energy access and climate change mitigation. In developing countries,energy poverty is and is expected to remain high.[i]solar lanterns in cambodia 

These challenges will most likely be exacerbated by the increasing climate vulnerability faced mostly by developing countries. The need for urgent action for adaptation and disaster risk reduction is therefore paramount but still receives little attention at the policy level.  

read more 

Biogas systems to occupy a centre stage in tackling climate change, food and energy crises in rural areas of developing world

Biogas Pic 1

Emmanuel Binyuy Wirsiy (Cameroon, ELP 2007) 

Climate change is posing a serious challenge for the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals of improving living standards and reducing the number of people living in poverty by half while protecting the environment.

Biogas systems are promising solutions to problems linked with food and energy crises, and can mitigate climate change. 
read more

Implementing Climate Change Policy in an African Megacity: The Lagos State Experience

Adedoyin Lasisi (Nigeria, ELP 2009)

Lagos erosion

Cities generate no less than 40% of global GHG emissions and are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. If it maintains its current growth rate, Lagos will be third largest megacity in the world by 2015 after Tokyo and Bombay.  Lagos State faces particularly complex challenges in a changing world, due to its geographical and economic situation within Nigeria. With the impact of climate change facing many countries and cities of the world, the only solution is for governments to have in place policies and programmes to mitigate the effect of climate changeread more

Floods and Disaster Preparedness in Pakistan: Regional Solution to National Problems 

Nazima Shaheen (Pakistan, ELP 2010) 

Nazima flood panel 1
Pakistan Flood Panel

Policy regarding climate change disaster mitigation and prevention is an important subject of discussion in many countries.In Pakistan after a year of disastrous flood impacts, policy strengths, weaknesses, and future directions are forefront in the national conversation.  

In December 2010 ELP alum Nazima Shaheen organized a Panel on Floods and Disaster Preparedness in Pakistan, and she reports here on the presentations that took place.

read the report 

Recent Climate Change Related Publications by an ELP alum

Denis Sonwa (Cameroon, ELP 2010)

Denis Sonwa shares links to his recent publications on climate change research. Click to see the links and read abstracts Stay tuned for the next newsletter for a full article from Denis.




read all alumni updates or search by year:  








Message from Robin Marsh Continued...
RobinLetterLet me fill you in on a couple of the special sessions we have planned for the next ELP summer course.  For the first time, we will be taking a two-day field trip to Blodgett Forest Research Station in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  We will learn about sustainable forest management among the trees, with the guidance of Blodgett director, Rob York.  Blodgett researchers have evaluated response, cost and impacts of different management activities over fifty years, including relative impacts on animal and plant biodiversity.  We expect a lively discussion as many ELP candidates this year come from forestry backgrounds and work on ecological and social forestry issues. 

Another innovation will be a "Faculty Fair" featuring short presentations and dialogue with UC Berkeley faculty that are working on environmental and sustainable development problems relevant to ELP participants.  This will give an opportunity for greater ELP exposure to UC Berkeley research, and, we hope, future fruitful collaboration among ELP alumni and UC faculty and students.

On a personal research front, I am involved in two new projects.  I am co-writing a paper with Professor Alastair Iles on Enabling Scaling-up of Diversified Farming Systems (policy-focused), that will eventually be published with other articles from UC Berkeley in a special issue of Ecology and Society.  With Ecoagriculture Partners, Forest Trends and UNDP, I am working on a project to analyze the potential for developing PES schemes to promote adoption of sustainable production and processing practices in pineapple production in Costa Rica.  We will collaborate with an ELP alumnus on this project - weed scientist and pineapple expert, Professor Ramon Leon, EARTH University, Costa Rica.  Anyone else want to join the project?  Let me know!

That's all from Berkeley for now.  Warm regards,

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Impressions from Climate COP16 continued...
 RuizArticleAdrian Ruiz (Mexico, ELP 2007

It all started in mid 2010, when I decided I had to attend the next COP which was to be held just a few hundred miles from my home in Mexico City. I soon discovered that the deadline for signing up had already closed, and my only hope of attending, therefore, would be by joining the delegation of one of the organizations that had already registered. So, I went through the long list of registered NGOs (1356 to be exact) on the UNFCCC website, and made a shortlist of the few where I had acquaintances or had worked in the past. The first 2 or 3 attempts yielded no results, until I contacted an Indian NGO where I had done an internship in 2004. The fact that they had no local contacts, did not speak the language, and were unfamiliar with the Mexican culture certainly played a role; the fact that I offered to cover all of my expenses sealed the deal. After that, it was only a matter of sending a few documents, answering some of their questions (e.g. how to get hold of 10 local SIM cards and where to eat Indian food in Cancún), and finding affordable accommodation and a flight.

Ruiz Ecol Footprint
Adrian discovers his ecological footprint


And so I went, arriving the Sunday before the opening ceremony. The Conference venue was so far from the city that it took me at least an hour to pick up my badge. I soon discovered that instead of a single Conference venue, there were actually 3 official ones for those attending the COP, and various 'unofficial' ones for anyone interested in protesting. On the official side were the "Moon Palace", a huge, distant resort where the actual negotiations would take place; the "Cancún Messe", a two-block air-conditioned building which served both to host most side-events and as a central hub to switch buses; and the "Climate Village", which was basically a fair where the local population could find entertainment with a touch of climate awareness. Since corporations cannot formally partake in either negotiations or side events, they organized a separate event called "GreenSolutions" at a nearby resort. And finally, for those inclined to believed that the Cochabamba Declaration[1] was the way to go, there was the "Clima Forum", where numerous social groups gathered to (once again) declare the official negotiations a failure and call for a shift in values and development paths.  


Absurd as this venue fragmentation may seem, and much to the dismay of participants who had to spend several hours a day commuting between venues, this layout distributed the 20,000+ participants according to their interests (negotiating, networking, learning something new or opposing all of the above) and reduced the disruptive effect of protests. Security was also intimidating, with several police and army checkpoints between venues, which explains why protestors were stopped in their tracks tens of miles before reaching the Conference.


Believing the side-events would be the most interesting places to spend my time, I stayed at the Cancún Messe most days. Most of the events lasted for 1-2 hours, from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, and were a popular vehicle to promote niche agendas, present new reports, and/or introduce the latest breakthrough. Despite all the hype and much theatrical tree-hugging, it was still possible to come across genuinely innovative ideas, and meet (or at least get close to) people who one usually only reads about in the papers, such as Sir Nicholas Stern, Rajendra K. Pachauri, Christiana Figueres, and Mario Molina (a 1972 Berkeley graduate).


The last day of the COP was also quite an experience. Expectations were, as always high, as were the stakes for the Kyoto Protocol which was to expire in 2012. Significant progress had been made in establishing a financial mechanism to deliver financing for adaptation/mitigation, REDD+ (compensation for avoided deforestation) and laying the foundation for the future transfer of low carbon technologies.  With Bolivia the sole country to oppose adoption of the agreements, even after Venezuela and Cuba called on it to reconsider, the whole process was in danger of collapsing once again. However, in the early hours of Saturday, December 11th, Mrs. Patricia Espinoza, the COP's President, took advantage of a procedural loophole on voting to declare that the agreements could be adopted despite lack of consensus, much to the dismay of Mr. Pablo Solón, Bolivia's chief negotiator. The Cancún Climate COP was one of those occasions where the search for a consensus undermined the best possible outcome, and had even impaired any progress.


For me, attending the COP helped me to determine whether I wanted to choose climate as a career path, find out who were the relevant actors, and explore the areas where progress can still be made. It also allowed me to re-establish contact with long-lost friends and acquaintances, collect vast amounts of information (which I haven't had time to read), and - since climate is such a transdisciplinary field - make it easier to navigate the ocean of information that keeps continuously coming our way.

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[1] The outcome of the World People's Conference in Cochabamba in April 2010, convened by Bolivia's president Evo Morales.


Balancing on Thin Ice - Mainstreaming Climate Change into Development Policy continued...

Anu AnuArticleAnu Hassinen (Finland, ELP 2001)

Most development practitioners within EU member states agree on the urgency of responding to these challenges and have been successful in incorporating the issues into their respective development cooperation policies. At the policy level, the focus is on mainstreaming climate change into sectoral policies: for energy, focusing on promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency instead of fossil fuels; in the forestry sector, focusing on REDD programmes and sustainable forest management; and in the agriculture, water and rural development sectors, focusing on income diversification, agroforestry, crop improvement, irrigation technologies, etc. An increasing number of

sophisticated climate risk screening and adaptation tools, as

well as knowledge networks, exist to help the development practitioners in improved programme design. Best practices exist also, for example, on designing integrated rural development programmes that cover many sectors and mainstream both mitigation and adaptation activities. However, in most cases, cross-disciplinary approaches are still in their infancy.



With the welcome increase of climate funding and given the knowledge and tools available, one would expect that many developing partner countries benefit from improved response to key climate-related development challenges. solar lanterns in cambodiaOften, however, this is where the politics enter into the discussion and development policy goals are overridden by donor countries' other policy interests, especially trade-related. This is evident at the global level in climate negotiations, where technology transfer is one of the key issues. As the energy sector is seen to be the main contributor to climate change, transferring cleaner energy technology to developing countries is thought to be one of the key solutions. This is where the interests of developing and developed countries start to diverge and policy coherence becomes ambiguous.

Africa image


Given their underdeveloped and poorly maintained energy infrastructure, including limited coverage of national grid and few interconnections within the region, many developing countries are forced to move towards distributed energy systems with both grid- and off-grid based solutions. Underdeveloped generation capacity, although seriously limiting the pace of economic growth, is also forcing the countries to seek more diversified, hybrid, renewable sources of energy, especially given the increased donor support towards this direction.


It is generally acknowledged that developing countries can indeed leapfrog several generations of energy technology and become frontrunners in development and export of more climate-friendly technologies such as clean coal, renewable energy, biofuels and electric vehicles, as has been shown by China, India, Brazil and South Korea. Hydro Power imageMany African countries have also stated similar policy goals for technology adaptation and development of appropriate and affordable technological solutions, which would also help achieve their poverty reduction targets. What is needed is innovation in financing mechanisms and business models to the scale of adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in developing countries. However, although the rapid technological development in emerging economies and increasing South-South co-operation and technology transfer can be considered a positive development from the development policy perspective, it is also seen as a threat by the strongly lobbying Western industry that fear losing their markets for more conventional solutions.  


Although the work at the policy level often ends up being more of a power play, the small steps towards practical local solutions in currently implemented programmes are a strong motivator. For those ELP colleagues who are interested in funding opportunities in renewable energy and energy efficiency, you are most welcome to apply for grants from the Energy and Environmental Partnership Programmes, supported by MFA Finland, that provide seed money for feasibility studies as well as pilot and demonstration projects through calls for proposals in the following regions: Central America (http://www.sica.int/energia), Mekong region (http://www.eepmekong.org), Southern and Eastern Africa (http://www.eepafrica.org), Indonesia and Andean region (both to be launched this year).

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[i]According to IEA's World Energy Outlook 2010, based on current trends, 1.4 billion people - or 15% of the world's population - will still lack access to electricity in 2030, against today's 1.4 billion. Likewise, 2.7 billion people rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking which causes more deaths than malaria or tuberculosis today.

Biogas systems to occupy a centre stage in tackling climate change, food and energy crises in rural areas of developing world continued... 

EmmaArticleEmmanuel Binyuy Wirsiy (ELP 2007)Emma Wirsiy photo

Team Leader/Environmentalist

Cameroon Gender & Environmental Watch

Climate change is making the fight against the food crisis a nightmare in poor rural areas of developing countries. Rural areas often lack basic facilities like energy for lighting, heating and cooking. These same areas are often rich in natural resources, which are rarely properly managed. Human pressure on natural resources to meet basic needs of food and energy is increasing, which can lead to the deforestation and land conversion that is responsible for climate change. The lack of alternative livelihood sources and knowledge about sustainable management/conservation of natural resources in rural areas is responsible for the environmental degradation. Climate change is posing a serious challenge for the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals of improving living standards and reducing the number of people living in poverty by half while protecting the environment.


Biogas Pic 2
Research plot to evaluate biogas slurry as biofertilizer for hukleberry farm

Biogas systems are promising solutions to problems linked with food and energy crises, and can mitigate climate change. This technology has worked well in developed countries and has supplied many households with energy and biofertilizer. It can therefore be replicated in developing countries to provide energy for heating and cooking as well as biofertilizer for agriculture. Biogas system produces methane gas for cooking and heating from organic matter through the process of anaerobic respiration. The remaining processed organic matter, or biogas slurry, is decontaminated, decomposed, and mineralized by passing through a high temperature biogas digestion tank, leaving minerals directly available. These minerals are nutrients to crops and the biogas slurry is good as biofertilizer. The biogas system reduces human labour and waiting time, and ensures the death of microbes that could be dangerous to man and crops. This biogas slurry has proven to be perfect manure for gardening. As rural household often have domesticated animals like goats, sheep, rabbits or cows, they already have the raw material, animal dung, to produce biofertilizer for their farms the energy for cooking and heating that is so desperately needed.


An NGO called Strategic Humanitarian Services (SHUMAS) in Cameroon has discovered that biogas is the way forward for peasant farmers to fight poverty, food and energy crisis, and to get involved in the fight against climate change. SHUMAS developed a biogas system in their Integrated Organic Farm (BIOFARM) Centre found in a rural area called Kingomen in Kumbo, Cameroon. This centre serves as a biogas training, research, production, and demonstration for farmers, researchers, and the public. The Centre uses cow dung and pig dung to produce the energy that is used to heat poultry and cook for about 50 student and staff. The biogas slurry used as biofertilizer in huckleberry (a staple crop in the area) farms increases yields drastically compared to non-biogas processed dung. Biogas slurry also acts as a pesticide against aphids, not surprising, there are no insects observed in the system chamber that contain processed organic matter. The six month research I carried out to assess the effectiveness of biogas slurry as organic manure in the SHUMAS BIOFARM is proving positive.


Biogas Pic 3
Collection of biogas slurry for use as biofertilizer

The BIOFARM is acting as a training centre for rural youths and building the capacity of practicing peasant farmers to increase crop yields, preserve the soil, create jobs and engage in the fight against climate change through integrated organic agriculture. Other actors involved in the promotion of this technology in Cameroon are: the government through the Ministry of Energy and water, SNV, HEIFER International, African Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST), HYSACAM in charge of managing waste in Cameroon, Cameroon Baptist Convention through her hospital called Banso Baptist Hospital in Kumbo, University of Dschang in Cameroon and Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW).


Engaging peasant farmers in integrated organic agriculture is tackling climate change. Peasant farmers here in Cameroon consider agriculture an occupation, lifestyle, and way to interact with nature. This relationship is being destroyed as soils deteriorate. Farmers work for more than ten hours per day in scorching sun or constant rainfall for less and less output, often running short of food a few months after harvest. Frequently, farmers must sell crops to settle debts incurred in buying high priced chemical fertilizer or pesticides, used to increase soil fertility. Chemical fertilizers have high nitrogen content and a large quantity of this nitrogen turns to oxides of nitrogen, green house gases that cause climate change. These chemicals also pollute ground and surface waters, and affect plants, animals and humans. The fish our grandparents told us about in our rivers are gone. Switching to clean technology like biogas technology is the way forward, replacing chemicals with biofertilizer and biopesticide.

Biogas Pic 4
SHUMAS has institutionalized integrated organic agriculture. Children of peasant farmers learn principles of integrated organic agriculture in theory & practice such as methods of soil conservation & biogas systems.

Most rural areas are very far from the national electricity grid and therefore lack energy for lighting. They depend on firewood for energy. The patches of existing forest are cut as wood for energy until most remaining forest is far from households. Peasant farmers have to move long distances to fetch wood for cooking and heating. This deforestation for fuel releases carbon and eliminates essential carbon sinks. Wood fuel also produces smoke that is responsible for a large number of respiratory diseases worldwide. In the past fossil fuel in form of kerosene was used for lighting in rural areas. Recently, the price of kerosene has risen and poor peasant farmers can no longer buy. There is now need more than ever before to see how to unblock the decentralised energy potential of rural areas to improve the living standards of these people. Many climate and energy problems could be solved and our existing forest preserved if biogas systems are developed and used in rural areas by peasant farmers.


It is now important for governments in the developing countries to create a favourable environment to promote the development of biogas and other renewable technologies. Biogas technology may be key in the fights against both poverty and climate change. Government policies should provide subsidies and reduce or cancel importation taxes on renewable energy equipment. The developed world should also be ready to transfer their knowledge and skills on renewable energy and to support rural development of biogas systems. Local and international non profit organisations should sensitise rural areas to the importance of renewable technologies in alleviating poverty and fighting energy and food crises. Research and learning institutions must promote understanding of biogas and other renewable technologies. The private sector needs also to be ready to give financial assistance and loans to support this type of technologies to combat climate change and promote sustainable development worldwide.

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Implementing Climate Change Policy in an African Megacity: The Lagos State Experience continued...
 Adedoyin Lasisis photoLasisiArticleAdedoyin Lasisi (Nigeria, ELP 2009)
Research & Development Dept, Office of Envir. Services, Ministry of the Envir.  Lagos State, Nigeria.




Cities generate no less than 40% of global GHG emissions and are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Cities are vulnerable because they concentrate people and buildings into a relatively small area. More than 64% of Canadians live in urban centres of 100,000 or larger. Consequently, even a relatively contained weather event can affect a large number of people. Cities are also very dependent on their "lifelines" - transportation systems to move people and goods, communications systems, water and energy distribution, sewers and waste removal systems (McBean and Henstra 2003). The concentration of people and wealth in cities, and their dependence on these infrastructure systems make urban centres particularly vulnerable to weather extremes.


Climate Change and Lagos State

Lagos state is the smallest state in Nigeria, with an area of 356,861 hectares of which 75,755 hectares are wetlands. However, with a population of 17 million, the state has over five percent of the Nigerian population. If it maintains its current growth rate, Lagos state will be third largest megacity in the world by 2015 after Tokyo and Bombay. Metropolitan Lagos, covering 37 percent of the land area of Lagos State is home to over 85 per cent of the State population. The rate of population growth is about 600,000 per annum with a population density of about 4,193 persons per sq. km. In the built-up areas of Metropolitan Lagos, the average density is over 20,000 persons per square km. Lagos State faces particularly complex challenges due to its geographical and economic situation within Nigeria.

Drawing on the experience of small island countries (see, e.g., UNFCC, 2005), which have the same low-lying topography as Lagos State, the following consequences of climate change are the basic challenges currently being faced by the State.  They are:

·         Water resources: Water management challenges due to climate variability, climate change and sea level rise include increased flood risks, reduced freshwater, and impeded drainage.

·         The coastal environment: The loss of land along the coastlines due to sea-level rise is likely to disrupt economic and social sectors in the state. Coastal erosion will have severe adverse impacts on agriculture, industry and on infrastructure of both Lagos State and Nigeria on the whole.

Lagos erosion
Coastal Erosion in Nigeria

·         Agriculture and food security: As the climate changes, root and vegetable cultivation is likely to be affected by heat stress, changes in soil moisture and evaporation, and changes in extreme weather events such as storms and floods. Moreover, because of the proximity to the coast, most parts of Lagos' agricultural land will have challenges of sea level and saline intrusion, which will also have major adverse impacts on crop production.

·         Human settlements and infrastructure: A rising sea level and changes in the patterns of extreme events such as storms and coastal flooding will put human settlements and critical infrastructure (airports, seaports, roads, power) at severe risk. Considering that metropolitan Lagos already has close to 15 million people and extremely high population density, the consequences to human settlements will be severe.


Our challenges

In the past years, the State has been faced with the following challenges as a result of climate change:

(i)               Increased rate of Beach Erosion: Even through the Nigerian coastline has not been associated with any known disaster it has been undergoing burying erosion processes.  The Victoria beach is the fastest eroding beach in Nigeria with average erosion rates of 20- 30m annually. A fundamental cause of the coastal erosion in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos coastal area, is the incidence of storm surges which generate the powerful waves whose impact on the sandy formation prove destructive.  The storm surges are frequent during the rainy season at the Victoria recession, occurring mainly during the rainy season months and rarely during the dry season's months when some accretion takes place.  

(ii)            (ii) Flooding: Flooding of the low-lying beaches along the coasts of Africa and in particular the Eastern, West and Central African coasts has become an environmental problem in recent times. The flooding situation experienced in Lagos in recent years can be attributed to high waves tide, sea-level rise, and high precipitation associated with global warming and climate change.  

Nigeria coastal protection

Shoreline Protection Project

Our Efforts

In the past years, the Lagos State government has initiated various policies and programmes to help combat the effect of climate change. This includes: urban greening, tree planting, organization of international summits on climate change, establishment of climate change clubs in schools, development of climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, etc.  

Nigeria urban greening
Urban Greening to reduce GHGs


In conclusion, our world is so complex it is immensely difficult to predict what will happen next.  Thus, it is paramount to prepare.  With the impact of climate change facing many countries and cities of the world, the only solution is for governments to have in place policies and programmes to mitigate the effect of climate change. 
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 Floods and Disaster Preparedness in Pakistan: Regional Solutions to National Problems.  December 21, 2010.

 NazimaArticleReported by: Nazima Shaheen (ELP 2010)Nazima headshot

Chair: Mr.Naseer Memon, Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), Islamabad, Pakistan 

Discussant: Mr. Navid Ahmad, Media Analyst, Islamabad, Pakistan


Dr. Edward Gonzalez, USAID, Lahore, Pakistan

Ms Huda Sarfraz, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan

Mr. Sanaullah Rustamani,  Hyderabad, Pakistan

Ms Javeriya Hasan, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan

Panel Organiser: Ms Nazima Shaheen, Research Associate, SDPI, Islamabad, Paksitan

 floods panel

While presenting a paper on "Pakistan at a critical juncture: How an Integrated Community-led Reconstruction Model (ICRM), can help promote democratic culture and institutions in Pakistan", Dr. Edward Gonzales from the USAID said that by adoptingthe ICRM, Pakistan could promote democratic participation, increase transparency andaccountability mechanisms, thus directly addressing the pervasive perception of government corruption. In this way, he said, not only can the physical infrastructure be built but also the social infrastructure, by influencing the flood reconstruction efforts through ensuring more democracy and transparency. He expressed his opinion that different sectors had shown a high level of scepticism regarding the capability of government to handle the flood situation.Dr. Gonzales said that, by providing a joint platform for interaction of local people, private sector, civil society and government institutions, the ICRM could reduce publicscepticism, and promote democratic culture and social cohesion. This platform could increase the efficiency of re-construction efforts through open communication and constructive and democratic community dialogue.

 Pakistan Floods 1

Ms Huda Sarfraz from the University of Engineering and Technology presented her research study on "Technology preparedness for disseminating flood relief and rehabilitation information to local stakeholders online". She reported a need to localise the language of flood related information so that it could be disseminated to relevant stakeholders more effectively and proposed the use of mobile phones due to the rapid increased their use in recent years. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Ms. Sarfraz noted, are usually deployed in English while use of local languages would increase accessibility to a much wider audience. This was the main reason that she developed the Punjab Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Website with her team. She explained that the site gave information regarding statistics on infrastructure, roads and livestock damages and information on relief and rehabilitation. This information was easily available through interactive portals on the website.


Mr. Sanaullah Rustamani, a journalist from Sindh province, presented his views on "Floods in Sindh: Analysis of missing links in the pre- and post-flood scenario". He said that the government should focus on the compensations for flood affectees, including construction of low cost houses, plots, watan cards and new infrastructure. He emphasized prioritising the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and also proposed that the government should provide free seeds and other agricultural inputs to farmers. Mr. Rustamani argued that illegal encroachments of river catchments must be demolished. Landlords who own catchment areas of the River Indus often construct their own embankments to irrigate the river land, ultimately weakening the official embankments of the river. Policy must address these issues.  Mr. Rustamani also recommended that authorities should pump out standing water immediately, repair the damaged irrigation system, and strictly monitor the damaged points, especially during the monsoon season. Suggestions to minimize damage included a joint venture between the forest and irrigation departments to grow more trees and stone pitching at vulnerable points of embankments.

 Pakistan Floods 2

Ms Javeriya Hasan from the SDPI gave a presentation on "Sustainable Flood Management Strategy for Pakistan". She highlighted a dire need to focus on structural measures to avoid the institutional failures witnessed during the recent floods, with a central role for the Federal Flood Commission to play. She also stressed the paradigm shift from disaster management to disaster risk reduction, emphasizing climate change impact assessment and investment in adaptability for communities. According to Ms. Hasan, the main causes of the 2010 flood were: deforestation, absence of demarcation/flood zoning, incompetence, inadequate embankment designs, institutional failure, absence of dams, and flood management policy. To improve flood management policy, focus must be aimed at structural measures i.e., construction of dams and non-structural measures including the reforestation and watershed management. A win-win solution would be to build dams for cheap and renewable energy, water storage, flood mitigation, irrigation, which would in turn decrease the vulnerability of downstream regions. Flood zoning and reforestation were other ways forward. In addition, the preservation of Himalayan glaciers, demilitarisation of Siachen by the Indian and Pakistani Armies, and joint watershed management in Jammu and Kashmir by the governments of India and Pakistan would all contribute to policy improvements.

Pakistan Floods 4 

Mr. Navid Ahmad, Media Analyst, presented his views on registration and compensation. He reported a need for systematic registration of land records, as the existing system of land registration lay with the Patwaris, which can be traced through NADRA. Compensation by the government was also linked to Computerized National Identity Cards, but as about 33% of the flood affectees were not registered with NADRA yet, they could not benefit until their registration was done. Attention must also be given to compensation for the agriculture sector, subsidizing the loss of crops and also seeds. Otherwise about 15% of food shortages could occur in Southern Punjab. Proper records must also be drawn up of the number of people that died in the flooding. According to Mr. Ahmad, the district government did not play any serious role during the recent floods, instead the officials were more focused on dealing with foreign delegates and politicians. Similarly, there was no strong pressure from the civil society organizations and the media. 


While concluding the session, the chair said that climate change was a serious issue and reflected on the worst floods in Pakistan's history. He noted that the lack of a proper early warning system for floods in the affected areas significantly worsened the situation. Dams may be an option to control such a massive flood, but controversies over dams are very old in Pakistan and have not been resolved. Another possible way forward would to be to focus on rehabilitation and policy development and tradeoffs.

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Recent Climate Change- Related Publications from an ELP alum
 DenisPubsDenis Sonwa (Cameroon, ELP 2010) shares links and abstracts for his latest publications

Potential synergies of the main current forestry efforts and climate change mitigation in Central Africa. Sustainable Science (2011) 6:59-67 http://www.springerlink.com/content/yhr022g7nmmu1212/


Abstract: In Central Africa, important carbon stocks are stored in natural forest stands, while activities that modify the carbon storage occur in the forest landscape. Besides clean development mechanisms, the reduction of emission through deforestation and degradation (REDD) initiative is viewed as one way to mitigate climate change. Important forest habitat protection activities have already been implemented with the aim of conserving the biodiversity of the region in a sustainable manner. The main causes of land use changes in the region are small holder subsistence practices and logging activities. Agricultural production has low productivity levels and therefore investments in improved agricultural techniques can both reduce pressure on existing forests and perhaps allow for the reforestation of existing degraded lands. The logging industry is dominated by large, industrial scale, logging operations performing selective logging of specific species and large trees. The adoption of improved forest management practices can reduce the impact of such logging on the ecological integrity and carbon stocks. Some efforts to engage in the carbon market have begun in the region.  Further research is needed into the types of projects that will most likely become successful in the region and what locations will offer the greatest benefits.


Central Africa is not only carbon stock: Some preliminary efforts to promote adaptation to climate change for forest and communities in Congo Basin. Published in Nature & Faune, Volume 24, Issue 1.  FAO journal www.fao.org/docrep/013/am071e/am071e00.pdf


Cocoa Intensification Scenarios and Their Predicted Impact on CO2 Emissions, Biodiversity Conservation, and Rural Livelihoods in the Guinea Rain Forest of West Africa. Environmental Management.  DOI 10.1007/s00267-010-9602-3 (See attached paper)  http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/scientific-research/research-library/documents/Gockowski2010.pdf   


Abstract: The Guinean rain forest (GRF) of West Africa, identified over 20 years ago as a global biodiversity hotspot, had reduced to 113,000 km2 at the start of the new millennium which was 18% of its original area. The principal driver of this environmental change has been the expansion of extensive smallholder agriculture. From 1988 to 2007, the area harvested in the GRF by smallholders of cocoa, cassava, and oil palm increased by 68,000 km2. Field results suggest a high potential for significantly increasing crop yields through increased application of seed-fertilizer technologies. Analyzing land-use change scenarios, it was estimated that had intensified cocoa technology, already developed in the 1960s, been pursued in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon that over 21,000 km2 of deforestation and forest degradation could have been avoided along with the emission of nearly 1.4 billion t of CO2. Addressing the low productivity of agriculture in the GRF should be one of the principal objectives of REDD climate mitigation programs.

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AU2001Hans Burger (Switzerland, ELP 2001): 

After retiring as head of the agriculture department of my canton I am doing practical work on my small apple farm and act as president of the communal utility (electricity, water, etc.). However, most interesting and challenging is an engagement as a volunteer of the Senior Expert Corps of Swisscontact, a private development agency. Hans BurgerI got an assignment in Ukraine to a large apple farm of 540 hectares. It is a former Kolchose, which is still in transformation from the old system to the market economy. The area has great natural potential, but the farms face many problems. My job as agronomist is to give advice and support regarding apple production and cold storage technologies as well as training possibilities. I am also greatly interested in the history and the culture, as well as the living conditions of the people and the economic development of the area.


Tuong-Vi Pham (Vietnam, ELP 2001)

Our family moved to Sydney 7 weeks ago for my son to go to school. Since arriving in Sydney, I am still working (distantly) for the Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES), Vietnam National University, Hanoi. Vi Pham photoBut my work with CRES will end in 2 - 3 months, and then I will look for work in Sydney. If any one has information related to "jobs available in Sydney, Australia", please help! My work interest is in the field of resource governance and/or environmental management.  I am also writing a research paper on "Social dimensions and institutional factors that enable and/or constrain a biogas program at community level in Vietnam". The paper is related to issues of bio-innovations and poverty alleviation in Asia. I can share the article when it's completed.


AU2003Natalia Belova (Russia, ELP 2003):

Yulia Yevtushok (Russia, ELP 2010), who is with Oxfam in Russia, and I, with the NGO "Future for Everyone" now work together!

Here are links to their latest videos about Climate change http://www.clicr.ru/video/show/id/24 and Food security http://www.clicr.ru/video/show/id/23.


Teresita Amezcua Jaeger (Mexico, ELP 2003):

I am working on three projects. One is an analysis of how the governmental system of wildlife use and conservation units (UMAs for its name in Spanish, which is a strategy to promote wildlife conservation, management and rural development), are really functioning. The second is about how payment for environmental services (PES) works together with other conservation instruments.  I and my team (another team!) are working on the agroecology part of the analysis. The third project I am working on is analysis and management of digital scientific literature, in which we teach researchers how to use bibliographic data bases, internet tools for research and networking. We also do bibliographical analysis, meta-analysis, and are making a repository for the faculty of sciences in the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM).


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AU2004Nelia Lagura (Philippines, ELP 2004):Nelia Lagura

I am at present connected with the Office of the Ombudsman as Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II.  Although my main responsibility is with the Prosecution Bureau, I am still able to continue to share my knowledge about environmental management through my teaching job at the University of San Carlos-College of Law, radio guesting and lectures.  The Office also has an Environmental Compliance Audit (ECA) Team, of which I am one of the movers.  My fellow lawyer friends, who are equally experienced in human rights laws advocacy, and I have incorporated a non-government organization called Human Rights Unlimited (HRU).  We can use all the help you can share for our very young group. An also equally important update is that I am now married, with an 18 month old son, who makes me even more inspired to help secure a healthier environment.


Giselle Weybrecht (Canada, ELP 2004):

I got married in September in Italy which is my big news. We then spent a month in Argentina, Chile and Ecuador and I am now jealous of all alumni who live and work in those countries. So beautiful.  I'm still based in Cambridge in the UK although I am traveling constantly and will probably be moving later this year. I continue to work with Universities, NGOs and businesses to ensure the next and current generations of managers understand and can apply sustainable business principles and promoting my book The Sustainable MBA: The Manager's Guide to Green Business. I'm writing this update from San Luis Potosi in Mexico where I am a visiting faculty for two weeks teaching business and engineering students about sustainable business.  Also, we had a London ELP alumni reunion a few months back and plan to have another one soon.


Shamsul Momen Palash (Bangladesh, ELP 2004):

As part of my varied activities with different strata/major groups of the society, I am now working as a volunteer (self assigned) for the United Nations in strengthening the campaign "International Year of Forests, 2011". We have already planted 50,000 trees with 50,000 children in 30 locations within country and hope to finish the rest of the Million Child Forest Campaign (M-CFC) this year. Our target is to educate 1 million children in the country and help them develop disaster leadership to create the badly needed climate resilience to their own localities.

Another important work I am now involved with is the screening of the already documentary "Climate Refugees" by Mr. Michael Nash. It grabbed more than 10 international awards for its advanced thinking for the planet. Think Tank wants me to screen it in Bangladesh, where the coming influx of climate refugees could be disastrous. Already also do my best to disseminate the booming climate refugees crises to the world through the social network Facebook in hopes this will raise a different level of awareness and preparedness among the people.


Ross Hagan (USA, ELP 2004):

In August 2010 he moved and changed jobs.  He now works as the Deputy Director of the USAID Office of Infrastructure and Engineering in Islamabad, Pakistan.  His job activities include working with provincial governments to build roads, schools, medical facilities, and water systems in Assad Jammu Kashmir, Baluchistan, Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.  He is also involved with the Trilateral (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and United States) water committee.


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AU2006Kristen Patterson (USA, ELP 2006):

On the personal front, in 2010 I continued my pattern of giving birth to baby boys in World Cup tournament years. My husband and I welcomed Ezra King Patterson last August. He joins big brother Owen, who is now 4.5 (ELP '06ers will remember my large belly during our course!).  Professionally, a paper on research conducted on farmer-herder conflict in Niger was finally published in the Journal of Development Studies. For those who may be interested, the citation is: Turner, M. D., A. A. Ayantunde, K. P. Patterson, and E. D. Patterson. 2011. Livelihood transitions and the changing nature of farmer-herder conflict in Sahelian West Africa. Journal of Development Studies 47 (2):183-206.I am still with The Nature Conservancy's Africa program and am now focusing more on policy and external affairs.


Jamie Comiche (Mozambique, ELP 2006)

After being in Berkeley my wife Esperança decided to provide me with another baby in order to keep the single one busy, thus we have Otto (11) and Brunno (4) and became busier than ever at home!  Since early 2009, I'm the Head of UNIDO Operations for Mozambique, and from this position I am trying to promote environmental issues which include: rational and productive use of energy, introduction of renewable energy in off-grid and rural communities,  and implementing cleaner production across the industry.


Norma Chan-Pongan  (Phillipines, ELP 2006):
Norma Chan-PonganThis is a photo recently taken during the launch of the School Mushroom House, a component of a project I am managing in the Philippines (Making Food Go Further: Ensuring Future Resilience & Stronger Households in the Philippines). The mushroom house is maintained by teachers and pupils to support the supplemental feeding in the school. The pupils who are engaged in the care and maintenance could develop themselves towards becoming urban gardeners by growing their own food which, in the future, can be a source of extra income.


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AU2008Monique Mikhail (USA, ELP 2008):

I have moved from the US to London and will soon be starting a position as Sustainable Agriculture Policy Advisor with Oxfam GB. I have connected up with some of the other ELP alumna in the city. I am looking forward to my new position, and am enjoying living in such a vibrant place.


Lilia Smelkova (Belarus, ELP 2008):
I have moved from London to Washington DC, to direct the American National Food Day on October 24th. Food Day will bring together the food movement in the country, from environmental to sustainable agriculture, anti-hunger groups, organic farmers and health and nutrition departments. www.foodday.org


Prigi Arisandi (Indonesia, ELP 2008):

Towards the end of 2010 I worked to establish partnerships for waterspring conservation at three upstream villages. My activities included: meeting and sharing experiences with key village members, skill development for students to do water monitoring, speaking with the EPA (environmental protection agency) and Jombang local government, and an exhibition at the city park.Prigi For 2011 Ecoton will campaign to raise awareness that the River should not be used as a public toilet.  Every month we will census and collect the garbage (Diapers, plastic) that flows in the Surabaya River.  And, every month we will protest to warn the Government and Surabaya people to take more care with the river.  Every month we will invite community to join us collect the trash.  The Brantas river is very important for us because more than 5 million people get drinking water from the river, and it is home to at least 45 species of freshwater fish, 400 species of herbal plan at riverbank, and195 family of macroinvertebrate.


Robert Wandera Odonya (Kenya, ELP 2008): 

Last month, I was able to mobilize youth within my community to take part in a 170 km fund raising walk.  I also managed to finish the walk, which was aimed towards sustainable income generating projects for youth and Eco-Homes that can be constructed using environmentally friendly interlocking hydra form blocks.  We are collaborating with Don Hodge's (ELP 2008) daughter Merieke, a student at UC Berkeley, to implement these projects.  I am working to come up with cheap and affordable Eco-Homes for locals to discourage the deforestation caused by fuel use to burn bricks.

My fellow alums, we should try to come up with regional ELP centers worldwide.  In fact my organization is willing to host one within east Africa if granted permission.


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AU2009Jamartin Sihite (Indonesia, ELP 2009):

Jamartin SahitiI was formerly in the USAID Program, OCSP - orangutan conservation services program.  In Sept 30, 2010, OCSP closed, and I joined RHOI - restoration habitat orangutan Indonesia, as President Director.  RHOI is undertaking sustainable forest management through Ecosystem Restoration Concession (ERC).  Our goals are to secure 86,450 hectares of forest from deforestation; to preserve the area as orangutan habitat; to encourage biodiversity conservation; and to empower and involve local communities for next 60 years and beyond. Our commitment is not only to provide a safe and sustainable haven for Asia's only great apes and the icon of Indonesia, but also to support efforts to combat climate change threats.


Shira Kronich (Israel, ELP 2009) writes of her SGI project on Greywater Treatment Systems: 

We are currently in the midst of running the SGI project, implementing the monitoring protocols and further assessing the greywater treatment systems.  I am very happy to say that the project has become part of a broader study which includes: installing complete wastewater treatment solutions (greywater and black water) in remote West Bank areas, developing sustainable agriculture in greenhouses using treated effluent, educational workshops for local residents, technical stakeholders and decision maker. Capacity building and training additionally focuses on border communities (along the green line) in a hope to promote cross boundary cooperation. we are also currently seeking funds to developed a pilot wastewater master plan for Al Oja village.  

Stay tuned to the next Newsletter for a complete update! 



AU2010Ana and MiguelAna Neves (Brazil, ELP 2010)

Ana Neves reports a great rendez-vous with fellow ELP alum Miguel Aparicio (Brazil, ELP 2010).  She writes: "I went to the National Botany Congress in Manaus and met Miguel Aparicio. We enjoyed the city and the Amazon forest, and took this picture with a sumaúma tree."



Severino Pinto (Brazil, ELP 2010):  

At the end of last year my organization approved a project in the amount of $ 150,000.00 to develop a model of Payments for Environmental Services of Public Protected Areas that have catchment water in their area. Added to this, we are organizing a series of seminars among landlords about business opportunities related to the environmental suitability using highly diverse forest restoration as a strategy for adaptation. I would like to report that I am using the knowledge and experience acquired in Berkeley in all activities of my organization. Also, due to network formed during the course I am in touch with Alicia Calle (Columbia, ELP 2010) to develop a course with the ELTI (Environmental Leadership Initiative) in the Atlantic Forest region which is the most endangered ecosystem in Brazil.


Rebecca Sullivan (UK, ELP 2010):

Rebecca SullivanI am now a part-time Director of Willow Tree Imapct investment. Www.willowimpact.com.  WillowTree operates as an impact investment firm that manages social impact funds. WillowTree Funds invest in for-profit companies that are committed to generating positive, sustainable and measurable social impact while complying with a commercial imperative.  We are looking for projects to invest in now...and investors too.


Minna Epps (Sweden, ELP 2010) recently joined the Marine Stewardship Council as programme Manager for the Baltic Sea Region. Minna EppsShe now heads up the MSC Office in Stockholm and is responsible for managing the growth and success of the MSC's sustainable fisheries certification and marketing program in the Baltic Region; building partnerships and relationships with a wide array of stakeholders; and oversight of all MSC operations. Prior to joining the MSC, Minna worked for IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature on a regional integrated coastal management (ICM) programme to promote investment in coastal and marine ecosystems in the Indian Ocean.


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