Oliver Griffith, is a former US Diplomat and World Bank Group (Image: Oliver Griffith)
Deforestation and forest degradation are the second leading causes of global warming, responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The recent COP-26 recognized this with a pledge to stop deforestation by 2030. But how will we get there?
Can we in the North tell developing countries not to cut down their forests because we need them as carbon sinks to slow down climate change? Not without some form of compensation. They’re desperate for economic growth and have a right to use their resources.
European countries cut down their trees centuries ago for the same reasons. And the US now emits over 15 metric tons of CO2 per capita, almost eight times as much as the average sub-Saharan country. The same people who lecture developing countries are the ones who drive SUVs. And consume the soy-fed beef and palm oil that contribute to deforestation. We need a reality check.
Why not just buy all those rainforests and turn them into national parks to preserve them as the world’s lungs? Not a bad idea, and it’s worked in some places, but what if there are people living in the forests and contributing to their demise? Population pressure, subsistence farming, and fuel wood and charcoal making account for about half of tropical forest loss, while commercial agriculture, logging, and more recently climate disasters, account for the rest. So, the obvious solution is to lessen these activities.
Since at least half of deforestation is linked to rich world consumption patterns, an important step is to change these. There are encouraging signs, but the growing middle classes in developing countries want to live well too. And how can we tell a family just escaping poverty that they shouldn’t have modern conveniences or eat beef? Changing habits and the economic models that sustain them won’t be easy.
Tackling deforestation on the ground is an indispensable adjunct. It should involve giving indigenous inhabitants title to the lands they have sustainably used for centuries. Creating family planning programs to ease demographic pressure, and finding sustainable livelihoods for forest dwellers. And governments must cut subsidies for unsustainable forest activities and improve environmental laws and forest management.
Since the primary drivers of deforestation are economic, we must find economic solutions, making the trees more valuable standing than cutting down. Among the most effective and far reaching is the United Nations’ REDD+ program. It Reduces Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation by selling carbon credits based on verified emission reductions in forests. The proceeds are used to help the forest communities find more sustainable livelihoods and improve their standards of living. By harnessing market-based economic mechanisms for an economic problem. It may have the greatest chance of success among the many initiatives with the same goals.
A crucial component is gaining influence in the decision-making process for land use, which is challenging in the countries where most tropical forests are located. It requires international encouragement, such as through COP-26, and local policy reforms. At the same time we need quick action on the ground where deforestation is happening.
The results so far are encouraging. Studies of REDD+ projects worldwide have found that they reduce deforestation while improving the lives of forest dwellers. Moreover, REDD+ has increased the awareness and commitment of governments and the private sector on the importance of forest preservation. Pinpointed commercial agriculture as a driver of deforestation, and provided a platform to secure land rights. It’s not a magic bullet and must be combined with activism against polluting companies in the global North, but it’s a good start.
Oliver Griffith recently visited two REDD+ projects run by Wildlife Works, a private conservation company. The Kasigau Corridor Project in Kenya, which was the first REDD+ project to be verified by the two main REDD+ standards (VCS, CCBA) in 2011, and the ERA-Congo Project in Mai Ndombe province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). What impressed me was not just the slowing down of deforestation. But the positive socio-economic effects of the substantial funds flowing into these poor regions from the sale of carbon credits.
In the Kasigau Corridor area, wherever you turn there are community projects, from schools and clinics to handicrafts cooperatives, water tanks, pumps, and farming cooperatives. In fact, Wildlife Works facilities are far more visible than those of the local or national governments.
In Mai Ndombe the impact is even more dramatic. The 180,000 residents in the isolated forest communities in the 300,000-hectare project area lack just about everything – health care, education, electricity, running water, and adequate nutrition. Once again, the community-based Wildlife Works projects are popping up everywhere, and are already reaching over 50,000 people, taking the place of underfunded state services. That this is happening in the DRC, and with relatively efficient support from the government, is even more remarkable.
Time will tell if such projects are sustainable in the long term. It would be better if developing governments took on these tasks themselves, and rich countries finally fulfilled their promises to drastically cut emissions. However, this is wishful thinking so, given the urgency of deforestation, we need viable alternatives such as REDD+.
Article By: Oliver Griffith, a former US Diplomat and World Bank Group (IFC) official with 35 years in foreign affairs. Much of it devoted to Africa and economic affairs.
LEAP Africa and DOW Partner to Activate Youth Action for Sustainable Development Across Africa
LEAP Africa, one of Africa’s leading non-profit organization focused on youth leadership development and Dow, a global leader in materials science, are pleased to announce the fourth edition of its Pan-African ‘Youth Day of Service (YDoS)’ campaign, a youth-led social impact campaign with the theme – Youthful and Useful.
Scheduled to be held till August 31, 2023, Youth Day of Service is a month-long campaign that seeks to foster the spirit of service to community and volunteerism among the youth population in Africa with focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This campaign which is in commemoration of the International Youth Day seeks to rally young people, corporate organisations, Governments, the Private and Social sectors across Africa to advocate and renew the spirit of active youth citizenship and collective responsibility.
Speaking at the Pan-African Press Conference and Stakeholders Engagement, Kehinde Ayeni, Executive Director LEAP Africa said: “One of our strategic pillars at LEAP Africa is to raise talents for the actualization of the SDGs. This campaign is a demonstration that LEAP Africa remains committed to youth-led actions for Sustainable Development across Africa. We believe in the power, voices, numbers and agency of young people and that an urgent commitment to creatively engaging with youth, creating platforms such as this and retooling youth with the skills and support to shape SDGs implementation across the continent, is the greatest need. We cannot do this alone, therefore we are fostering partnerships to bring the achievement of the goals closer.”
In her remarks, Mumbi Keega, Public Affairs Lead-Africa, Dow, said, “Dow is committed to fostering positive change and building resilient and sustainable communities in Africa. We believe that this can only be achieved by working together with the African youth, who are vital to promoting social welfare. Through our partnership with LEAP Africa, we are supporting the Youth Day of Service (YDoS) initiative, which empowers young people to use their skills and talents to make a difference in their communities. We are proud to be a part of YDoS and to support the next generation of African leaders who are working to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”
Chege Ngugi, Africa Regional Director of ChildFund International in his remarks called for increased investment by governments and other stakeholders in youth development programs. “While many laudable initiatives, such as national youth funds exist, there is still a dire need to do more to ensure all youth, given the huge number, are adequately resourced to achieve their best potential, no matter where they are from. We must move beyond giving the youth a seat at the table to investing in them to use that seat for good. The youth must be enabled to act as equal partners of positive social change.”
Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa one of the implementing partners for the Youth Day of Service, represented by Caren Wakoli the Founder and Executive Director lauded LEAP Africa for investing in this initiative for the second year in Kenya. Caren noted that ELF-Africa had lined up week-long community activities across nine counties, addressing five different SDGs. She further re-affirmed ELF-Africa’s commitment to championing transformational youth action in Kenya and Africa for a sustainable future. Caren concluded by calling on young people and grassroot organisations across Kenya to join the different Youth Day of Service activities in counties near them, especially the nine counties where ELF-Africa will be working, these are Migori, Bungoma, Narok, Kericho, Uasin Gishu, Murang’a, Makueni, and Kilifi.
This year, LEAP Africa will be leveraging the support of strategic partners like ChildFund International, Emerging Leaders Foundation, BellaNaija, Forgotten Bottom Millions, Legit, Zikoko Citizen, W4 Immerse, Dotts Media, African Climate Reality Project, Strategic Youth Network for Development Ghana, Youth Development Organisation Zambia and Global Shapers Community, among others, in delivering the Youth Day of Service.
Miss Career Africa: Empowering Young Female Entrepreneurs in Africa
Miss Career Africa Women (Image: Supplied)
Recognizing the need to empower aspiring young female entrepreneurs in Africa, the Miss Career Africa Organization (MCA) was established. The MCA program aims to uplift young women professionals, entrepreneurs, and students by offering university scholarships, career guidance, entrepreneurship incubation, leadership training, and networking opportunities.
The Miss Career Africa competition is a transformative experience for aspiring young women entrepreneurs from across the continent. With a vision to create a movement of 450,000 young women entrepreneurs and professionals across Africa, MCA aims to empower these trailblazers to become influential leaders in their respective countries.
Each year, 20 exceptional candidates aged between 18 and 24 years are selected from hundreds of applicants based on their projects or businesses and specific criteria. These talented young women then compete for the title of “Miss Career Africa.” The journey to the crown begins with a pre-selection and online voting process. The finalists undergo a rigorous 5-day boot camp, where a team of experts helps them refine their ideas into viable and scalable business models.
The Grand Finale features a distinguished panel of judges from different countries and disciplines who will crown winners in various categories, including Miss STEM, Miss Arts and Talent, Miss Hospitality, Miss Agriculture, Miss Conservation, and Miss Speaker, as well as regional winners representing the Southern, Northern, Central, Eastern, and Western regions. Prizes for the winners include seed capital, a six-month incubation training period, and continuous guidance and follow-up support to help them turn their dreams into reality.
Meet the Visionaries
Hail from Rwanda, Sandrine Munezero is a true innovator. As an entrepreneur, innovator, and business modeling coach, she has dedicated her life to helping the next generation create their own opportunities by harnessing their talents and gifts. Sandrine’s unwavering passion drives the growth of Miss Career Africa across the continent. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from St. Joseph’s College in India and a Bachelor’s degree from Bishop Heber College in Trichy, India.
Passionate about empowering girls and young women, Portia Addae Annin is a force to be reckoned with. Her exceptional motivation and commitment to excellence have led her to serve in various prestigious positions. With a Master’s Degree in Economics from Bangalore University in India and a background in Economics and Business Management from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, Portia brings a wealth of expertise to the organization.
OSNON Academy Announces Scholarship Opportunity for the 2023/2024 Academic Year
OSNON Academy is delighted to announce its exclusive scholarship opportunity for the upcoming 2023/2024 academic year, dedicated to students from low-income families, and marginalized communities. This prestigious scholarship aims to provide the selected exceptional students with a world-class education that has the power to shape their future.
Under the “Innovation and Excellence” banner, OSNON Academy is passionately committed to nurturing young minds and unlocking their full potential. As the premier free boarding school in Anambra state, OSNON Academy is devoted to transforming talented young individuals into the leaders of tomorrow.
This scholarship opportunity is specifically tailored for parents, guardians, and school students who aspire to receive an outstanding education that paves their path to success. By applying for this scholarship, students will have the remarkable chance to benefit from OSNON Academy’s innovative and well-rounded learning experiences.
“We firmly believe in providing students from low-income families, marginalized communities, and vulnerable backgrounds with a transformative education that not only equips them with academic knowledge but also instills core values and unlocks their potential,” said Onyinye Anyaegbu, Chief Executive Officer, Chude and Ego Foundation. “Our ultimate goal is to create thought-provoking and valuable members of society who will positively contribute to their communities.”
Interested parents and guardians are encouraged to pick up the application forms for their ward(s) today at one of our designated locations to seize this incredible opportunity. These forms will be the crucial first step towards a life-changing educational journey. The dedicated team at OSNON Academy is readily available to assist with any questions and provide comprehensive guidance throughout the application process, ensuring a smooth and supportive experience.
Take advantage of the chance to join OSNON Academy and join a community fostering excellence, innovation, and personal growth for a successful future!
For Scholarship enquiries, please contact:
OSNON Academy Team: +2348063876581 or email: email@example.com