Posts Tagged ‘Dürre’

Horn von Afrika: Millionen droht Hungertod – Westen schaut weg

Dienstag, Mai 24th, 2011

“HORN OF AFRICA: Food insecurity grips region

The number of people requiring humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa could increase sharply in coming months due to below-average rainfall and high food and fuel prices, say aid workers.

Moreover, funding shortfalls, drought and conflict could further increase the number of people needing humanitarian aid in the region from an estimated 8.75 million people.

Peter Smerdon, spokesman for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Kenya, told IRIN on 18 May: “The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the Horn is 8.75 million; some of them get food aid from governments and other aid organizations. At least six million people need food assistance from WFP but this number could increase if the current rains are poor or below average.”

According to Smerdon, by early May, about halfway through the rainy season, rainfall was well below average in most of the Horn, ranging from 5 to 50 percent of normal rates, and well below forecasts.

Funding shortfalls

Of particular concern, he said, were areas of southern and southeastern Ethiopia.

“Amid growing concern about the impact of drought in the southern and southeastern pastoralist areas, many of WFP’s food assistance activities in Ethiopia face significant funding shortfalls,” Smerdon said.

The agency said it was assisting 4.3 million people in Ethiopia.

In Somalia, WFP faces a 70 percent shortfall from May through October and urgently needs contributions of US$53 million to feed one million people in accessible areas for the next six months.

In Kenya, Smerdon said, WFP has a 50 percent funding shortfall of $47 million needed to provide food aid for the next six months to 1.7 million people.

In an April food security report Kenya’s Agriculture Ministry said the national stock of maize – the country’s staple – is expected to be about 5.9 million 90kg bags by the end of July, adequately covering only 1.7 months beginning in August.

The April–September 2011 Food Security Outlook by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) forecast that most households in the hard-hit pastoral areas would become extremely food insecure and many more livestock would die.

According to WFP, the Horn of Africa drought, which began with the failure of the short rains in December 2010, is the first since a two-year regional drought in 2007-2009 that saw the number of people needing humanitarian assistance in the region rise to more than 20 million.

Conflict could further increase the number of people requiring help. In early May, dozens of people were killed and others displaced when violence broke out on the Ethiopia-Kenya border between two communities over rising food prices.

The fighting between the Turkana community of Kenya and the Merille of Ethiopia, local media reported, reflected a broader pattern of inter-ethnic conflict resulting from food scarcity and persistent drought.

On 15 May, international NGO CARE called for more attention to severe food insecurity in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, saying almost eight million people in these countries needed emergency aid.

“Chronic vulnerability, poverty, social injustice and climate change are all responsible for recurring food insecurity in the Horn of Africa,” Mohamed Khaled, CARE’s regional emergency coordinator for East Africa, said in a statement. “On top of that, a significant increase in food and fuel prices has worsened the current situation.

“In Kenya, for example, the price of maize, a staple food, has increased over 27 percent during the last three months. Sufficient attention is needed now to prevent further loss of lives and livelihoods. At the same time, the underlying reasons need to be tackled to break the recurring cycles that have persisted in recent years.”

Djibouti and Somalia have declared the drought situation a national disaster while the Ethiopian government revised its humanitarian requirements document in April 2011 to reflect the growing needs and mobilize a scale-up of humanitarian response.

Khaled said: “While governments of the affected countries have already started interventions, short- and long-term international assistance is needed to help address critical needs but also underlying structural causes and chronic vulnerabilities. What is needed is a set of interventions which strengthens people’s own resilience capacity and coping mechanisms to survive such severe conditions while at the same time responding to their current humanitarian needs and protecting their livelihoods. It is crucial that people can feed themselves through their own means instead of being dependent on food distributions.”

Somalia

Somalia’s situation is dire as conflict continues. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security, Nutrition and Analysis Unit (FSNAU), some 2.4 million Somalis are in food crisis, representing 32 percent of the population.

The effects of the ongoing drought, deteriorating purchasing power, rampant conflict and limited humanitarian space continue to aggravate the situation in most parts of the country, FSNAU said in an April update.

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(Quelle: IRIN Africa.)

Global: Klimawandel in der Südsee – schon heute eine Frage von Leben und Tod

Montag, Juli 19th, 2010

“CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE PACIFIC – A MATTER OF SURVIVAL

By Sonia Smallacombe


Kiribati (Photo taken by Roisterer/Wikipedia).

Indigenous peoples in the Pacific region are among the first to face the direct adverse consequences of climate change, due to their dependence upon and close relationship with the environment and its resources. While they are amongst the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases, they are also amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to their small size, coastal populations, high dependence on natural resources and the low-lying nature of their lands. As a result, indigenous peoples in many Pacific Island countries feel particularly helpless. Further, they realize that there are climate change threats that cannot be reduced, mitigated or eliminated and they are therefore forced to accept that adaptation is the only responsive option available to them.

Impacts of climate change

On average, more than 90% of the population of the Pacific region are indigenous. This includes Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, Rapa Nuie (Easter Island), Papua New Guinea etc. Most of the Pacific region comprises small island states and indigenous peoples are heavily impacted by climate-induced warming: their islands are inundated by rising sea levels, increasing erosion occurs from intense storms, and saltwater intrudes into freshwater supplies. These changes are affecting livelihood activities such as hunting and fishing, and impacting on island infrastructure, access to water resources, food and housing availability, and even the very health of indigenous peoples. There is also concern that climate change will result in revenue loss across important economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, tourism, energy and other industry-related sectors.

Rising sea levels

Many Pacific Islands have low land masses and, as a result of the rise in sea levels, are experiencing damage to buildings and infrastructure. Crops and causeways linking villages are being flooded, forcing cars, buses and trucks to drive through seawater. This has been particularly noticeable in Kiribati and a number of other small Pacific Island nations, which could completely disappear beneath the waves at some point this century. The small island of Tebua in Tarawa used to be a landmark for fishermen but today it is knee-deep under water. Kiribati suffers the effects of king tides that wash through the islands from one side to the other with great ease. It is now a common factor in Kiribati to have king tides with waves 2.8 metres in height.[1]
High tides and stormy seas have also recently caused problems in the Marshall Islands, Cook Island, Tuvalu and low-lying islands of Papua New Guinea. In Tuvalu, fresh groundwater mixes with salty seawater, forcing some farmers to grow their root crops in tin containers. These damaging effects of climate change are likely to intensify if sea levels rise as predicted.

Damage to Pacific ecosystems

In the Pacific region, environmental changes are prominent on islands where volcanoes build and erode; coral atolls submerge and reappear and the islands’ biodiversity is in flux. The region has suffered extensively from human-made disasters and hazards resulting from nuclear testing, pollution including shipping-related pollution, hazardous chemicals and hazardous wastes (Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs), and solid waste management and disposals. These issues, as well as the threats of climate change, have severely affected the ability of island ecosystems to maintain a healthy and pristine environment for the economic, social and cultural viability of indigenous communities.[2]
   Warmer temperatures have led to the bleaching of the Pacific Islands’ main source of survival – the coral reefs. Bleaching occurs when reef-building corals, reacting to stress such as warmer waters, loosen the algae that help feed them. Because the algae give them colour, the starved corals look pale, hence the term “bleaching”. Continued bleaching ultimately kills corals. Reef-building corals provide most of the primary productivity of coral reefs and are also an important shelter for a diversity of marine organisms. Reduced abundance and diversity of reef-building corals is thus very likely to have a major influence on the surrounding biodiversity. Coral reefs are home to much of the seafood that is enjoyed by indigenous peoples in the region.[3]

Food and water security

Agriculture in the Pacific region, especially in small island states, is becoming increasingly vulnerable due to heat stress on plants and salt water incursions. Crops with low tolerance to climate hazards such as bananas, one of the main staple crops, are severely threatened. Soil erosion from destructive wave activity, frequent storm surges and landslides causes land loss to many indigenous communities. Plantations and livestock are the major sources of subsistence farming, and are now faced with serious threats from new diseases and pests linked to flooding, drought and other climatic variations. Threats to food security are thus of great concern to the region.
   A significant impact of climate change and climate variability on indigenous peoples in the Pacific region is unreliable water availability. In many places, there is often a lack of water storage systems such as water tanks. If improvements were made to water supplies and accessibility systems, indigenous peoples would not have to rely on unpredictable and untreated river sources. Hence, sustainable water sources, maintaining and improving water quality and minimizing the spread of water-borne diseases is an important issue for indigenous peoples in the Pacific.

Drought

Some 2,000 miles to the west of the Pacific is Australia, which is experiencing the worst drought in 100 years, even with the flooding that occurred in late 2007 and early 2008. Scientists are not certain that climate change is to blame but it is the most popular theory. One concern is that when there is rain in the northeast coastal regions, soil washes into the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef. This process is damaging the coral, and warmer waters are also killing parts of the reef.

Carbon emissions trading

In the Pacific, like in most other regions, indigenous peoples are not only affected by climate change but also by the initiatives developed to address it. Carbon emissions trading is an area of concern for many indigenous peoples. At the same time, however, some indigenous peoples see the potential economic benefits of taking part in carbon trading projects, especially when indigenous communities have already developed, over thousands of years, sustainable, neutral and carbon negative livelihoods. A unique agreement, which claims to be the first of its kind in the world, was recently negotiated in Australia. In June 2007,
when a giant new natural gas refinery was constructed in Darwin, ConocoPhillips agreed to pay the Aboriginal people of the Western Arnhem Land region of Australia AUD 1 million (USD 850,000) per year, for 17 years, to offset 100,000 tons of the refinery’s own greenhouse emissions (The Western Arnhem Fire Management Agreement). The Aboriginal people concerned will use traditional fire management practices, which have been scientifically shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as compared to naturally occurring wildfires.[4]
   Carbon trading continues to be a hugely contentious issue, however, mainly due to its inherent problems. The main concern is that, while companies do not have to actually reduce their emissions, they can pay other companies and groups, mostly from nonindustrialized countries, to reduce emissions or to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and thus account for these as their own reductions. The big benefit to companies is that, when paying others, they pay only a fraction of what they would need to invest at home to achieve the same goal.[5]

Adapting to climate change through migration

As people begin to feel the heavy impact of climate change on the quality of life in the Pacific, migration will become a major issue, particularly as a result of flooding from the rising sea level. Forced adaptation is already underway, with some communities being displaced from their traditional lands and territories due to coastal and land erosion caused by large stormdriven waves. Dislocation is already a reality in Samoa and Vanuatu, where flooding from extreme weather and rising sea levels have become the norm and thus have serious implications for people residing in the region. People living in Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville atoll island of Cartaret have asked to be moved to higher ground on the mainland. The people of Sikaiana Atoll in the Solomon Islands have also been migrating away from their atoll, primarily to Honiara, the capital. Similarly, there has been internal migration from the outer islands of Tuvalu to the capital, Funafuti. In the case of Tuvalu, this migration has brought almost half of the national population to Funafuti atoll, with the inherent negative environmental consequences, including an intensified demand for local resources.[6] New Zealand has agreed to take 75 Tuvaluans per year, in a slow evacuation process of the island.
   Migration as a solution is, however, highly problematic. It is a violation of the right of countries to exist as peoples, a threat to cultures and tradition, causes loss of lives, loss of biodiversity, loss of spiritual connectivity and loss of settlement.[7] It is therefore crucial that the issue of “environmental refugees” is seriously discussed and that indigenous peoples become genuinely involved in designing and implementing responses to climate change.

Adapting by applying traditional knowledge

Traditional knowledge and practices are important to sustaining and managing the environment. In a coastal village on Vanua Levu, Fiji, the philosophy of vanua (which refers to the connection of people with the land through their ancestors and guardian spirits) has served as a guiding principle for the management and sustainable use of the rainforest, mangrove forest, coral reefs and village gardens.
   In other parts of the Pacific, indigenous peoples have supported mangrove conservation along the coastline to protect against natural disasters such as cyclones and tsunamis. It is seen as a cheaper undertaking than seawalls, which are funded from external sources. Mangrove conservation involves the community in the management process as well as the inclusion of women in the replanting activities. Other activities include the provision of a water drainage system as well as banning tree clearing. However, it is recognized in the Pacific that enhancing adaptive capacity involves more than local options, which will only be successful if they are integrated with other strategies such as disaster preparation, land-use planning, environmental conservation and national plans for sustainable development.[8]
   Grants from United Nations agencies, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), promote the development and dissemination of appropriate crops and technologies in the Pacific region. The merging of indigenous and atoll technologies through action research and documentation is designed to support agriculture and fisheries. A similar activity, managed by the Solomon Island Development Trust, is due to take place through a small grant from IFAD’s Indigenous Peoples’ Assistance Facility (IPAF). Indigenous populations will be assisted to improve post-crisis resilience by merging traditional with scientific knowledge.
   Institutional barriers that prevent adaptation exist in the Pacific region. For example, adaptive capacity and resilience in the Pacific is hampered by limited resources and lack of access to technology. On the other hand, the application of traditional knowledge and past experiences has been strengthened in various ways, such as the implementation of traditional marine social institutions, as exemplified in the Ra’ui in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. This is an effective conservation management tool aimed at improving coral reef health. Indigenous peoples’ ecological knowledge and customary sea tenure is also integrated with marine and social science to conserve some of the wildlife, such as the bumphead parrotfish in Roviana Lagoon, Solomon Islands. Changes in sea tenure, back to more traditional roles, have also taken place in Kiribati.[9]

What needs to be done

While there is scientific consensus, notably through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with regard to the threats that climate change poses, governments have been slow to respond. The vulnerability of the whole Pacific region to disasters poses a real threat to achieving economic stability, social development, environment conservation and cultural diversity. In September 2007, Mr. Elisara-La’ulu, Director of Ole Siosimaga Society (OLSSI) in Samoa, said that bystanders who knew that the world was in crisis but did nothing were just as bad as the architects of the crisis. He urged government leaders to ask indigenous peoples about the effects of climate change before taking any decisions, and that indigenous peoples should not act when under pressure from global processes driven by big governments.[10] During a meeting in April 2008, Mr. Elisara noted that:

For us Pacific peoples, the discussion on climate change is not just a theoretical issue that we talk about when we come to these global meetings! It is there and we see the effects in our daily lives. For us it is a matter of life and death! In many cases we have to decide whether to stay on our islands or leave our homes. As sovereign countries, our rights as countries are protected under the Charter of the United Nations. We plead accountability against those causing these violations of our rights to exist as peoples, as countries, and as sovereign nations. Someone must bear responsibility for our demise when we lose our cultures, when our traditional ways of lives are trashed, and we are denied our freedom to exist as peoples. This is an issue of climate justice that we are calling for here and will continue to do so in every opportunity that comes our way![11]

There are two important issues that some of the small island states, such as Samoa, are highlighting. The first issue is the importance of allowing communities themselves to prioritize and pursue their adaptation needs. Community representatives need to work with policymakers to identify solutions that take account of cultural values in order to protect the livelihood and well-being of indigenous peoples. The second issue is the urgent need to put early warning systems in place to ensure that indigenous communities have the information they need to respond to each hazard and potential threat. This in turn will go some considerable way towards implementing sustainable community activities to adapt to, and minimize, the adverse impacts of climate change.
   At the Pacific Regional Civil Society Organization Forum held in Tonga in October 2007, the following recommendations were made:

• That regional contingency plans be developed to accommodate environmental refugees in a manner that maintains their national identity and indigenous cultural integrity;
• Engage indigenous peoples’ organizations in the development of programmes that involve measures to deal with the effects of climate change;
• Promote forest conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy; and
• Involve indigenous peoples in programs that support community-level mitigation and aptation measures and, at the same time, recognize the value of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, which has enabled them to maintain and interact with their environment in a sustainable way.[12]

 

Notes

[1] Fiu Mataese Elisara. Effects of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples. A Pacific presentation during the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, Darwin, Australia April 2-4, 2008.
[2] Ema G. Tagicakibau. Pollution in Paradise: The Impact of Nuclear Testing and Radio-Active Pollution on Indigenous Peoples in the Pacific and Strategies for Resolution. Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, August 2007.
[3] Robert W. Buddemeier, Joan A. Kleypas, Richard B. Aronson. Coral Reefs and Global Climate Change: Potential Contributions of Climate Change to Stresses on Coral Reef Ecosystems. Pew Centre, January 2004, page 25.
[4] Victo Mugarura. Aborigines burn the way to climate control. BBC, September 18, 2007 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6726059.stm
[5] D. Wysham. A Carbon Rush at the World Bank. Foreign Policy in Focus, February 2005. See www.fpif.org
[6] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 2: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, 2007, page 708.
[7] Fiu Mataese Elisara. Effects of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples. A Pacific presentation during the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, Darwin, Australia April 2-4, 2008.
[8] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group 2: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, 2007, page 709.
[9] Ibid, page 708.
[10] Meetings Coverage, DPI/NGO Annual Conference, NGO/626, PI/1794, Department of Public Information, UN, New York, 6 September 2007.
[11] Fiu Mataese Elisara. Effects of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples. A Pacific presentation during the International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, Darwin, Australia April 2-4, 2008.
[12] Communiqué of the Pacific Regional Civil Society Organization Forum held in Tonga in October 2007, pages 4-5.

 

Sonia Smallacombe is a member of the Maramanindji people in the Daly River region of the Northern Territory in Australia. She is currently working in the United Nations Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and is the focal person on climate change.
   The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations or the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.”

 

(Quelle: Indigenious Affairs.)

 

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Syrien: Wird das Land bald eine Wüste?

Mittwoch, Juni 16th, 2010

“SYRIA: Act now to stop desertification, says FAO

Photo: Stephen Starr/IRIN

Desertification threatens Syria

DAMASCUS, 15 June 2010 (IRIN) – An irreversible degeneration of some of Syria’s landmass could occur because of three consecutive years of drought, warns the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

‘If desertification is not controlled, it threatens the land and our heritage,’ Abdulla Tahir Bin Yehia, head of FAO in Syria, said. ‘The situation is terrible in Syria and has been worsened by the past years of low rainfall.’

According to the UN, 80 percent of Syria is susceptible to desertification, defined by FAO as ‘the sum of the geological, climatic, biological and human factors which lead to the degradation of the physical, chemical and biological potential of lands in arid and semi-arid zones, and endanger biodiversity and the survival of human communities’.

Three years of drought have destroyed crops and livestock, ruining the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and displacing some 300,000 rural families to cities.

Drought response faces funding shortfall This year, however, there has been enough rainfall for the FAO to stop describing the situation as a drought, but uneven rainfall distribution has caused continued, widespread crop failure, putting the more than one million people already bordering on the poverty line into further jeopardy.

The World Food Programme (WFP) on 13 June said it had begun distributing food rations to 190,000 people in the eastern provinces of Hasakah, Deir al-Zor and Raqqa, but that another 110,000 people also required emergency food aid. WFP said a lack of funds was preventing it from distributing rice, oil, flour, chickpeas and salt rations.

Causes

Syria’s drought over the past three years and its increasing desertification is due to a combination of man-made and natural factors, experts say.

‘There are natural causes beyond anyone’s control, as well as man-made causes,’ said Douglas Johnson, a desertification expert at Clark University in the US. ‘In the Middle East the cause is almost entirely human activity. But that’s a simplistic statement because there is almost always an interaction with the natural environment. It is normal for the environment to fluctuate; some areas of desert may have no rain for four years, for example,’ he said.

This has been the case in Syria, but has been compounded by poor water planning and management, wasteful irrigation systems, over-grazing, water-intensive wheat and cotton farming and a rapidly growing population.

Agriculture accounts for almost 90 percent of the country’s water consumption, according to the government and private sector, so the policies governing it are critical to the preservation of the land and efficient use of water.

‘Traditionally, communities had methods to avoid desertification, such as rotation or leaving an area unused. This allowed the vegetation to grow back,’ said Bin Yehia. ‘But modernization and centralization takes the decision out of their hands.’

Photo: IFRC
Syria’s drought-affected provinces as of 3 August 2009

Syria’s drought-affected provinces as of 3 August 2009 He said rising demand for meat from a growing and increasingly affluent population was also contributing to land degradation.

‘Syria’s estimated livestock stands at 14-16 million. But it is only that low because many died during the drought. Prior to this the national herd stood at around 21 million. We need to study how much livestock the land can take,’ said Bin Yehia.

Desertification can be irreversible, such as when an aquifer dries out and the land sinks in on itself, destroying the structure. Flora and fauna species that lose their natural habitat can become extinct.

Bin Yehia is optimistic that much of Syria’s desertification can be reversed – but only if action is taken now.

‘It is possible to reclaim pasture and on a large scale. But it is a long-term project that would take five to 10 years,’ he said, adding that it needed more funding, studies and awareness-raising.

Steps taken

As well as reclaiming pasture, experts suggest local communities should be more involved in making land use and herd size decisions. An experimental drip irrigation project in the central district of Salamieh has spread to 52 villages as farmers realized they could use 30 percent less water to produce 60 percent more output.

Syria, a signatory to the 1994 UN Convention to Combat Climate Change, has drawn up a National Programme to Combat Desertification with the support of the UN Development Programme.

The country designates its land according to five zones, where zone five is the driest. Since the early 1990s, cultivation of land in zone five has been banned.

With the support of FAO, protected areas have been created around the eastern settlement of Palmyra, but the pilot project has not been rolled out on a large scale. A future plan, for which FAO is seeking funding, aims to claim back pasture in Homs governorate. ”

(Quelle: IRIN News.)

Somalia: VerliererInnen des Klimawandels

Donnerstag, Juni 10th, 2010

“Charcoal Production Wreaks Environmental Havoc in Somalia

By Amanda Wheat

For centuries Somali culture has been shaped by the weather. Forecasters, called “Xidaars,” are the most respected members of communities. Using an ancient combination of Persian and African astronomy to herald the rain and warn of oncoming drought, they define the crop and livestock cycles for pastorally based Somali communities. Although Somalis are no strangers to devastating droughts, uncertainty about weather patterns are rising with the temperature.

As the climate changes and crops dwindle, not only is the validity of these ancient practices questioned, many Somalis are forced to find alternate means of income. The result is an increase in charcoal production, which further compounds the degradation of Somalia’s forests and livelihoods.
“Drought cycles in Somalia are becoming more frequent and rain is just erratic. It’s getting warmer and warmer and [agricultural] production has fallen because crops can’t produce with these unpredictable seasons,” said Ahmed Awale, Executive Director of Candle Light for Health, Education and Environment.

Created in 1995 by a group of dedicated social workers; Candle Light is one of the most active non-profit organizations promoting sustainable practices in Somalia. With projects in forest revitalization and soil erosion, Candle Light serves as a key actor in Somalia’s efforts to cope with climate change.

But coping is not enough. As crops fade under the scorching sun and sheep surrender to thirst and heat, Somalis have been forced to seek out other means of generating income. The main result is an increase in charcoal production.

Charcoal is created by burning wood at high temperatures. The Bioenergy for Development report released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) stated that charcoal contains twice as much energy per ton as wood. It is easy to package, which makes it faster and cheaper to export. Taken together, these factors add up to the mass depletion of forests and woodlands.

Meanwhile, the harmful trade is perpetuated by foreign investors. A case study by the Information Center for the Environment (ICE) estimated that Somalia is producing over 150,000 metric tones of charcoal per year. Less than 20 percent of this charcoal is used domestically; over 80 percent is exported to Persian Gulf states. These foreign actors provide the monetary incentive for Somalis to continue burning their forests.

The decentralized government of Somalia makes it possible for this exploitation to continue. “The government is non-existent which just pushes this continuous vicious cycle of poverty,” said Mr. Awale. “Climate change makes the cycle worse and so many people are weak, they just don’t make it.”

Mr. Awale added, “We know the charcoal is bad. It affects bio-diversity and wild life. But without crops and livestock we have no alternatives. The insecurities of the country are too great for us to focus on alternatives. Alternatives take time and money, we have neither of these.”

Candle Light has partnered with numerous other aid organizations including the United Nations Development Fund, Care International, and the Food and Agriculture Association to gain support for the implementation of various environmental programs that will ease the effects of climate change and charcoal production.

Their efforts in reforestation are underway via seed dispersal initiatives and tree nurseries. To combat drought, Candle Light has built rock damns to reduce water runoff. They’ve also created numerous school environmental clubs and published a public newsletter, Deegankeena (Our Environment), to spread awareness and foster environmental education.

But without a more secure government and outside help, even the most active participants feel defeated in the eye of an uncontrollable change. “The future here is bleak,” said Mr. Awale. “People are destroying the environment because of insecurities, but at the same time these insecurities are affected by the actions of the rest of the world. The developed countries have much larger carbon footprints than we do, and we are the ones suffering. The world must know what is happening to the poor people of the [Global] South.”‛

(Quelle: MediaGlobal.)