News EALA urges fair climate deal at Paris conference

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has called on climate negotiators to produce a fair deal for developing nations at the Conference of Parties (CoP21) on climate change in Paris, France, that starts today

Concerned URL http://www.newtimes.co.rw
Source The New Times of 30 November, 2015
Release date 22/12/2015
Contributor Lewis Mary Ndayisaba
Geographical coverage Regional,
Keywords climate, EALA, Forest,

EALA Speaker Daniel Kidega made the call on Saturday in Gatsibo District during Umuganda community work.

“On Monday [today], governments are meeting in Paris to discuss a possible global agreement on climate change aimed at keeping global warming under 2° Celsius. As East African parliament members, we are calling upon our technical negotiators to push for a fair deal,” he said.

“Africa is not a major pollutant like developed countries that emit a lot of gases. Yet Africa is most vulnerable to climate change effects. The main polluters should pay more and be the main players in reducing global warming.”

Scientists have warned that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, global warming will become irreversible as current emissions trajectories predict a rise of about 5° Celsius, according to 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

The biggest emitters such as the European countries, US and China that are responsible for 90 per cent of global emissions have pledged to reduce emissions through climate action plans.

However, EALA argues that poor countries need more financial aid to reduce their vulnerability to climate change effects as well as allowing them to invest in clean technology.

Part of EALA’s two-week sitting in Kigali includes a debate on environment Bill.

EALA Speaker Kidega addresses residents of Gatsibo after members of the regional Assembly had taken part in tree planting during Umuganda. 

What makes a fair climate deal?

Persistent drought that is believed to be caused by global warming is already affecting parts of Rwanda, most especially in Eastern Province where crops and livestock have died, according to Governor Odette Uwamariya.

“Gatsibo has undergone intensive deforestation in the last few decades, which has led to erosion and a scarcity of wood fuel,” said Adrie Mukashema, the deputy director-general of forests and nature conservation at the Ministry of Natural Resources.

According to Kidega, these challenges are what spurred the Assembly to request a fair agreement on climate change that supports developing countries in adapting and mitigating effects.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has launched a Rwf1.4 billion ‘Sustainable Agro-forestry and Biomass Energy Project’ in Kiziguro Sector, Gatsibo with funding from the National Environment and Climate Fund (FONERWA).

“The project will rehabilitate 500 hectares of degraded forests, create 3,000 hectares of woodlots on public and private land and 15,000 hectartes of agro-forestry trees for soil fertility. Over 19,317 poor households will receive stoves and get green jobs to ease pressure on forest resources,” said Mukashema.

“Up to 98.5 per cent of Rwandan households use fuel wood and charcoal. That percentage needs to decrease to 50 per cent by 2020 if we adopt biogas, liquefied petroleum gas, improved cooking stoves and other clean energy sources,” said Natural Resources minister Vincent Biruta.

During the Umuganda, Gatsibo residents planted more than 160,000 seedlings on 100 hectares of land. Some 3,800,000 seedlings are to be planted in Gatsibo, while across the country, 30 million seedlings will be planted this year on 66,000 hectares of land.

Forest protection

A three-year project dubbed, “Non-timber forest products for food security,” financed by Food Agriculture Organisation, was launched to eradicate poverty in partnership with 70 local cooperatives in Gatsibo and Nyaruguru districts.

Some $150,000 (about Rwf110 million) will be spent every year until the end of 2016.

“This is motivation for forest management. Without cutting trees, it will create enterprises and employment, contribute to food and nutrition by growing mushroom, herbal medicine, passion fruit, honey and bamboo production,” according to Soter Serubibi, the project coordinator.

“Only two kilogrammes of honey can be harvested in a traditional beehive but with modern ones, 40 kilogrammes per hive can be harvested. We have been given modern materials,” Wenceslas Hakuzimana, a member of bee keeping cooperative, said.

A similar FAO project is operating in other Congo Basin countries of Burundi, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea and Chad.

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