This post shares thoughts and experiences from the Climate Change Conference currently going on in Durban South Africa. It is the 17th Conference of Parties – simply put, COP 17.
The first week of the COP is dominated by discussions by technical people. They plough through volumes of documents; chapter by chapter and word for word, all in an attempt to build consensus. One of the key issues at this COP is whether to extend Kyoto Protocol or come up with a new agreement to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide countries may pump into the atmosphere. By the start of this second week they were still discussing and a deal did not seem close.
The second week is the ‘High Level Segment.’ And you can be sure it is because the COP set up changes with government ministers, and sooner, Heads of State, taking over. At this point, you can touch the tension in the air with those who want a deal praying for a miracle before the end the week. Security arrangements are tighter with entrance to the negotiation halls being more tightly controlled. When you listen to COP participants, they keep saying “we have now left it to the politicians”
The big men also get involved in their side events involving the COP delegates. On Thursday, I received an invitation which made me blink. Among the listed panellists were six Heads of State, and here I was being casually invited. The gentleman who handed out the invite to me quipped: “If all the big men would bring their security details, they would form enough quorum for the side event.” That aside, if you can get a Head of State to attend your event, you can be sure the press people will quickly pick it up.
The BirdLife Africa Secretariat in conjunction with BirdLife Poland recently adapted and launched an African teacher’s manuals for Grades 1-3 and 4-6. The teacher’s manuals cover topics such as bird identification, bird behavior, the concept of migration and the challenges birds face along the routes. The manuals also provide interactive and interesting games for the children. These resources are meant to deepen the engagement of children with birds, inspire their young minds and cultivate interests about the natural world around them. These manuals can also be used by local community groups as well as wildlife/nature clubs.
Thanks to the efforts of the Association of Biologists Sãotomense (ABS) in partnership with BirdLife International, a team of researchers led by Hugulay Maia has been able to describe some important aspects of the reproductivce behaviour of the Dwarft Ibis in São Tomé.
In Europe, millions of migratory birds are stirring. They are busy feeding to build up their fat reserves (gaining up to 50% more body weight) to fuel the enormous flights to Africa they will face in the next few weeks.
As we approach one of the villages in rural Malawi, a few kilometres from the Nchitsi Forest Reserve boundary, we are met by a group of villagers in song and dance. They quickly lead us to the kitchen and one of them and proudly show us a changu mbaula - Chichewa for ‘fast stove’, also known as ‘rocket’ stove for its quick cooking abilities.
The Bechi Kebele is home to 10,171 people, most of which are dependent on the slowly dwindling Sheka forest. God for People Relief and Development Organisation (GPRDO) has been working in this region since 2005 to promote community based forest management systems. In 2013 GPRDO was able to expand their work in this region after receiving a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) to implement GPRDO’s project.
Empowering major stakeholders for sustainable utilization and conservation of Lake Tana fish resources project is being implemented by Bahir Dar University to rebuild the declining fish stock of Lake Tana and to conserve this KBA. The project also aims to raise awareness and increase knowledge in the wider community of Lake Tana’s fish resources and the human impacts on these resources.
The CEPF Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot programme announces two new calls for Letters of Inquiry (LOIs). The 7th Call for Proposals is for small grants (up to USD 10,000) for urgent action at highly threatened KBAs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The 8th Call for Proposals is for large grants (of more than USD 20,000) and small grants (of USD 20,000 or less) in Ethiopia, Rwanda, DRC, Tanzania and Zambia.