Sub-Saharan Africa needs next-generation weather and climate services

09 Nov 2016 by Bonizella Biagini, Manager, Programme on Climate Information for Resilient Development in Africa, UNDP

Sub-Saharan Africa needs next-generation weather and climate servicesA data collector in Uganda uses an instrument to measure sunlight hours. Every dollar invested in hydro-meteorological services generates a five-fold or greater return in economic development. Photo: UNDP Uganda
In Tanzania, a lightning strike killed a teacher and six students in 2015 – another sad example of the thousands of deaths that could be avoided with the effective deployment of modern weather and climate services, including early warnings for extreme weather events like lightning, flooding and drought. Providing these services not only saves lives but also is central to building resilience to climate change, empowering nations and strengthening livelihoods across Africa’s most vulnerable communities. As we take the mandates established in Paris and move on to the Marrakech Climate Change Conference, it becomes very clear that providing accurate, timely and reliable weather, water and climate information will be key in supporting the efforts of leaders across sub-Saharan Africa to build resilience to climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. When used to improve decision making, hydro-meteorological, or hydromet, information can empower nations, save thousands of lives every year, and strengthen livelihoods across a region that has contributed the least to human-induced climate change but is among the most vulnerable to its effects. … Read more

Paris Agreement Ratification and Entry into Force: Practical Considerations for Africa

31 Oct 2016 by Daisy Mukarakate, Climate Change Policy Advisor

178792-486Photo credit: UN Photo/Tim Mckulka
The historic Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force on Friday 4 November 2016, a month after the threshold was met of at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of the total global emissions depositing their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the international treaty. 14 African countries contributing 1.29 percent of total global emissions, and top emitters such as the United States of America, China and India were among the 75 states that helped secure the deal’s entry into force by covering 58.2 percent of total emissions. As of 25 October 2016, 16 African countries have ratified the Agreement, committing to take bold national actions to address climate change and its effects. What does ratification mean for Parties? In the run up to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, countries communicated to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). These are voluntary climate targets that each country intends to meet from 2020 onwards to contribute towards reducing global emissions and adapting to climate change to reduce poverty and vulnerability. Once a country ratifies the Paris Agreement these intentions become legally binding commitments, and the state is expected … Read more

El Nino happens every 3-7 years. How can Africa be better prepared?

22 Aug 2016 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist in the Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Cluster, UNDP Africa

A farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAOA farmer in The Gambia shows a dry tuft of rice in a drought period. Photo: FAO
Some 60 million people’s lives have been affected by the 2015/16 El Niño phenomenon in the Horn and Southern Africa, the strongest since 1950. Severe drought conditions have led to crop production failure and food insecurity, massive livestock and wildlife deaths, and loss of livelihoods. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have all declared drought emergencies. In South Africa, only one province –the seat of government Gauteng- has been spared the emergency. A total of 40 million people or 22 percent of Southern Africa’s rural population became food insecure with 23 million of these requiring immediate humanitarian assistance at a cost of US$2.7 billion. … Read more

In Madagascar, support to Parliament will strengthen the democratic transition and rule of law

18 Jul 2016 by Alessandro Bozzini, Governance Advisor, UNDP Madagascar

undp-rba-madagascar-elections-july 2016Despite the presidential and parliamentary elections held in late 2013, the Senate was established only in February 2016. Photo: UNDP Madagascar
Appuyer le Parlement ne sert pas seulement à renforcer une institution mais peut contribuer à fixer des objectifs ambitieux qui bénéficient à l’ensemble du pays. C'est pourquoi nous avons mené, en partenariat avec l’Ambassade de France et l’Institut Electoral pour une Démocratie Durable en Afrique, deux ateliers sur le rôle, l'organisation et le fonctionnement du Sénat. Des sessions spécifiques ont été dédiées au rôle des sénateurs et des assistants parlementaires dans la promotion de la décentralisation et des questions liées au genre. Un aide-mémoire et une évaluation des besoins plus spécifiques de l’institution ont également été élaborés. … Read more

Made out of Africa

18 Jul 2016 by Degol Hailu and Chinpihoi Kipgen

"There is a “Made in Africa” movement in the continent. One example is the recent book with the same title by a prominent political figure in Ethiopia. The movement espouses growth in the manufacturing sector as the major driver of development. How is this movement doing so far?" We examined fifteen countries that experienced annual real GDP growth rates averaging 7% or higher over the past decade. For sure, the high growth was not limited to natural resource extraction and export. For instance, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Rwanda, all without significant natural resource sectors, were among the highest growing economies.  The sectors that experienced the highest growth are wholesale and retail trade; transport and communications; and construction. Each of them grew at an average annual rate of 11% or higher. In 2010, these by and large service-oriented sectors contributed 1.4%, 2.1% and 0.5% to the growth in real GDP, respectively.   The manufacturing sector grew at an average annual rate of 9%, but its importance is not impressive, representing less than 9% of GDP over the past decade. In fact, of the fifteen high growth economies, eight experienced a contraction in their manufacturing sectors. The manufacturing sector contributed about 0.4% to GDP growth … Read more

Central African Republic: Boosting the potential of artisanal diamond mining

18 Jul 2016 by George Lwanda, Extractives Policy Advisor, UNDP Africa Regional Service Centre

To reap the potential benefits of Central Africa’s diamond mining sector, the government needs to implement a range of reforms. Photo: UNDP.
Central African Republic (CAR) is on a path of possible peace and development. The rich natural resource wealth including forestry, diamonds and gold provides the basis for kick starting development. However, the state has found itself unable to fully regulate access to and exploitation of its natural resources. This has significantly eroded its revenue base resulting in a grossly underfunded fiscal position, struggling to pay its civil servants and unable to deliver basic services. The diamond sector remains the country’s principal source of revenue. CAR diamonds are renowned for generally being of high quality with 80% of them estimated to be of gem quality. The sector accounts for up to 60% of the state’s export earnings and up to 11% of the government’s fiscal revenues. The challenge is that the diamond industry is almost solely artisanal; characterised by high informality. Only as much as 2% of the artisanal miners in the country are registered and an estimated third of the diamond production illicitly leaves the country.   Despite the informality, the sector remains a source of livelihoods. Estimated data suggests that, in 2011, as much as 2.8 million people (70% of the population) were either directly or indirectly dependent on the … Read more