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  • 03 Aug 2018
    As part of the activity of the summer school on renewable energy systems organized by the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT) a delegation of students and professors from Mali’s University of Bamako recently visited UNU-EHS. You can read the news on the UNU-EHS website, ITT website, and check the pictures of the event here.      
    257 Posted by Fausto Saltetti
  • As part of the activity of the summer school on renewable energy systems organized by the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT) a delegation of students and professors from Mali’s University of Bamako recently visited UNU-EHS. You can read the news on the UNU-EHS website, ITT website, and check the pictures of the event here.      
    Aug 03, 2018 257
  • 13 Feb 2017
    Every week we go to the market to buy groceries and this past week was no different. We mostly almost know what we are buying because frankly the choices are quite limited. One of my favourite things to do is picking cauliflower because of its colour and the contrast it gives in the sea of green and red vegetables. However, I could not make up my mind this week. The cauliflowers looked unhealthy and they had started yellowing and none appealed to me. I remember standing there and not wanting to make a choice and Diana insisting that her hands were full (how this related to making a choice is beyond me but I digress) and I needed to make up my mind. I did finally make a choice of 2 but I was not pleased with what we took home. I am almost sure other customers experienced my dilemma because according to a research done by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) food at the retail level is mostly bought because it looks good. That which does not appeal to the customers is left to rot or pulled off the shelves. It is no wonder then that a third of the food produced in the world goes to waste post harvest translating to 1.3 billion tons of food every year (FAO, 2011). A quarter of this wasted food could be used to feed approximately 900 million of the world hungry. This wastefulness does not begin at the retail or consumer level but starts with the farmer sorting, storing and transporting their produce. Research shows that farmers in developing countries lose as much as 15% of their income to post-harvest loss. The impact extends to water resources with around 25% of global fresh water and a fifth of farm land being used to grow crops that are never eaten.  These figures are staggering considering most of these wastage can be easily corrected through attitude and behavior change. Another solution lies in governments providing a suitable environment for innovations on ways to conserve food for longer periods and regulating market standards. Every time I have been to the market I have always noticed vegetables going bad and by now Diana considers my voiced concern as a rhetorical question. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that is unique to Algeria but something I have witnessed in the different countries I have visited as I am sure most of you would attest. It always baffles me that so much food goes to waste and is pulled down the shelves for disposal while we have so many people starving in our societies. France however is working towards changing this status quo through the introduction of legislation that requires retailers to donate unsold food or face a fine of 4,230 dollars. Other European countries like Germany, Britain and Denmark have also made strides in the reduction of food wastage. In Cologne for instance a “waste supermarket” was opened at the beginning of the month where only salvaged food is sold and consumers determine the price of the products. The owner of the store in an interview with DW confessed her aim was not so much as her selling food that would otherwise be considered waste but to stimulate a conversation on how much food the Germans waste and promote behavior change. On the other side of the globe the Kenyan president declared drought as a national disaster with the Kenya Red Cross estimating that 2.7 million people are facing starvation. It saddens me that we continue to lose lives and livestock because we cannot feed our population. The  more I think about it the more I become disgusted at our society that is so profit driven that you would rather have produce rot at the shelves or farms than donate it to the needy and at our government for failing to act in a timely manner. If we are to achieve the sustainable development goal 2 on Zero hunger by 2030 we not only need to promote sustainable agricultural practices but consumption habits as well. The governments need to come up with penalties to discourage retail wastage and drive awareness campaigns to change the way consumers view food and the consequences of food wastage for the rest of the population and the ecosystem.   Useful Links http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e.pdf http://www.dw.com/en/france-battles-food-waste-by-law/a-19148931 http://www.dw.com/en/first-german-supermarket-sells-waste-food-only/a-37426777
    1049 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Every week we go to the market to buy groceries and this past week was no different. We mostly almost know what we are buying because frankly the choices are quite limited. One of my favourite things to do is picking cauliflower because of its colour and the contrast it gives in the sea of green and red vegetables. However, I could not make up my mind this week. The cauliflowers looked unhealthy and they had started yellowing and none appealed to me. I remember standing there and not wanting to make a choice and Diana insisting that her hands were full (how this related to making a choice is beyond me but I digress) and I needed to make up my mind. I did finally make a choice of 2 but I was not pleased with what we took home. I am almost sure other customers experienced my dilemma because according to a research done by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) food at the retail level is mostly bought because it looks good. That which does not appeal to the customers is left to rot or pulled off the shelves. It is no wonder then that a third of the food produced in the world goes to waste post harvest translating to 1.3 billion tons of food every year (FAO, 2011). A quarter of this wasted food could be used to feed approximately 900 million of the world hungry. This wastefulness does not begin at the retail or consumer level but starts with the farmer sorting, storing and transporting their produce. Research shows that farmers in developing countries lose as much as 15% of their income to post-harvest loss. The impact extends to water resources with around 25% of global fresh water and a fifth of farm land being used to grow crops that are never eaten.  These figures are staggering considering most of these wastage can be easily corrected through attitude and behavior change. Another solution lies in governments providing a suitable environment for innovations on ways to conserve food for longer periods and regulating market standards. Every time I have been to the market I have always noticed vegetables going bad and by now Diana considers my voiced concern as a rhetorical question. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that is unique to Algeria but something I have witnessed in the different countries I have visited as I am sure most of you would attest. It always baffles me that so much food goes to waste and is pulled down the shelves for disposal while we have so many people starving in our societies. France however is working towards changing this status quo through the introduction of legislation that requires retailers to donate unsold food or face a fine of 4,230 dollars. Other European countries like Germany, Britain and Denmark have also made strides in the reduction of food wastage. In Cologne for instance a “waste supermarket” was opened at the beginning of the month where only salvaged food is sold and consumers determine the price of the products. The owner of the store in an interview with DW confessed her aim was not so much as her selling food that would otherwise be considered waste but to stimulate a conversation on how much food the Germans waste and promote behavior change. On the other side of the globe the Kenyan president declared drought as a national disaster with the Kenya Red Cross estimating that 2.7 million people are facing starvation. It saddens me that we continue to lose lives and livestock because we cannot feed our population. The  more I think about it the more I become disgusted at our society that is so profit driven that you would rather have produce rot at the shelves or farms than donate it to the needy and at our government for failing to act in a timely manner. If we are to achieve the sustainable development goal 2 on Zero hunger by 2030 we not only need to promote sustainable agricultural practices but consumption habits as well. The governments need to come up with penalties to discourage retail wastage and drive awareness campaigns to change the way consumers view food and the consequences of food wastage for the rest of the population and the ecosystem.   Useful Links http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e.pdf http://www.dw.com/en/france-battles-food-waste-by-law/a-19148931 http://www.dw.com/en/first-german-supermarket-sells-waste-food-only/a-37426777
    Feb 13, 2017 1049
  • 06 Feb 2017
    Last year we all took a module in African history and it was very enlightening and bore very lively discussions ranging from pre and post colonial Africa. Our professor was German which made most of us wonder if there was no African professor available to tell the African story. However, those hang ups were quickly forgotten and I can honestly say it was one of my best classes by far. Among the class assignments was group discussions and my colleagues and I were to discuss the politics of autochthony. Now, do not get lost in the jargon that is the word autochthony. It simply means the right to belong. According to Geschiere, 2009 autochthony seeks to establish an irrefutable primordial right to belong and is a tactic used by mostly politicians to exclude outsiders. The term was introduced to Africa by the French in the 1900’s in an effort to gain control over different groups and communities. They were therefore able to use it as a divide and rule tactic between the communities that confronted them in the territories they conquered. In recent past the politics of belonging have been used by authoritarian regimes to divide the opposition and neutralize the effects of multi-parties in the continent. Its manifestation is demonstrated through high levels of intolerance and hostility towards “strangers” who are seen as a threat or competition in access to limited resources. The xenophobia cases in South Africa are a perfect example where the fear is manifested among the lower level workers and the wealthy groups. Cases in xenophobic violence escalated rapidly after the end of the apartheid regime despite the anti-discrimination passages in the post apartheid regime which tried to introduce the idea of multi culturalism and nationalism. Sadly, the xenophobic flare ups continue to happen so often in South Africa leading to loss of lives and property for those who are considered as outsiders. After Henri Konan took office in Cote d’ivoire in 1993 he began to question the citizenship of individuals from the North. During this period citizens became “foreigners” if they did not have one parent who was born in Cote d’ivoire. By 1998 the law prohibited the “foreigners” from owning land, voting or running for public office. His predecessor General Robert Guei continued the xenophobic policies that targeted the northern Muslim minority. They were subjected to large scale human rights violation, rape, killings and discriminated against based on the way they dressed. Sadly, South Africa and Cote d’ivoire are not unique cases and the politics of belonging have been demonstrated across the continent for instance with the Nubians in Kenya and Bamileke in Cameroon to mention just a few. Curiously, the Greek meaning for autochthony means “springing from the land” which would explain why it’s politics is tied to land and the soil in the African context. The final ritual in the politics of autochthony is the burial where the dead have to be buried in their ancestral home. We may however feel far removed from these cases and yet we continue to drive the trend unknowingly. In my country, there is a popular phrase that politicians like to use whenever they are held accountable for  abuse of office. “My people are being attacked” is used to evade accountability for abuse of office and misuse of public funds. Yet this tactic continues to work in favour of the politicians by dividing the country in regions and along tribal lines. In conclusion, the politics of autochthony continue to divide the continent along tribal lines. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated and we continue to isolate people based on religion, tribe, clans and their country of origin. Yet what value does it add to us? We miss the opportunity to learn from other cultures and find a middle ground to work together for social and economic development and well being. The vacuum left is what the politicians have filled with the politics of belonging and we continue to buy into the ideology.      References Legum, C. & Mmari G.R.V. (1995). Mwalimu: the influence of Nyerere Geschiere, P. (2009). The perils of belonging: Autochthony, citizenship, and exclusion in Africa and Europe. University of Chicago Press Jennings, M., & Mercer, C. (2011). Rehabilitating nationalisms: conviviality and national consciousness in postcolonial Tanzania. Politique Africaine, 121, 87-106. Saha, Santosh C. The politics of ethnicity and national identity. Peter Lang, 2007.
    533 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Last year we all took a module in African history and it was very enlightening and bore very lively discussions ranging from pre and post colonial Africa. Our professor was German which made most of us wonder if there was no African professor available to tell the African story. However, those hang ups were quickly forgotten and I can honestly say it was one of my best classes by far. Among the class assignments was group discussions and my colleagues and I were to discuss the politics of autochthony. Now, do not get lost in the jargon that is the word autochthony. It simply means the right to belong. According to Geschiere, 2009 autochthony seeks to establish an irrefutable primordial right to belong and is a tactic used by mostly politicians to exclude outsiders. The term was introduced to Africa by the French in the 1900’s in an effort to gain control over different groups and communities. They were therefore able to use it as a divide and rule tactic between the communities that confronted them in the territories they conquered. In recent past the politics of belonging have been used by authoritarian regimes to divide the opposition and neutralize the effects of multi-parties in the continent. Its manifestation is demonstrated through high levels of intolerance and hostility towards “strangers” who are seen as a threat or competition in access to limited resources. The xenophobia cases in South Africa are a perfect example where the fear is manifested among the lower level workers and the wealthy groups. Cases in xenophobic violence escalated rapidly after the end of the apartheid regime despite the anti-discrimination passages in the post apartheid regime which tried to introduce the idea of multi culturalism and nationalism. Sadly, the xenophobic flare ups continue to happen so often in South Africa leading to loss of lives and property for those who are considered as outsiders. After Henri Konan took office in Cote d’ivoire in 1993 he began to question the citizenship of individuals from the North. During this period citizens became “foreigners” if they did not have one parent who was born in Cote d’ivoire. By 1998 the law prohibited the “foreigners” from owning land, voting or running for public office. His predecessor General Robert Guei continued the xenophobic policies that targeted the northern Muslim minority. They were subjected to large scale human rights violation, rape, killings and discriminated against based on the way they dressed. Sadly, South Africa and Cote d’ivoire are not unique cases and the politics of belonging have been demonstrated across the continent for instance with the Nubians in Kenya and Bamileke in Cameroon to mention just a few. Curiously, the Greek meaning for autochthony means “springing from the land” which would explain why it’s politics is tied to land and the soil in the African context. The final ritual in the politics of autochthony is the burial where the dead have to be buried in their ancestral home. We may however feel far removed from these cases and yet we continue to drive the trend unknowingly. In my country, there is a popular phrase that politicians like to use whenever they are held accountable for  abuse of office. “My people are being attacked” is used to evade accountability for abuse of office and misuse of public funds. Yet this tactic continues to work in favour of the politicians by dividing the country in regions and along tribal lines. In conclusion, the politics of autochthony continue to divide the continent along tribal lines. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated and we continue to isolate people based on religion, tribe, clans and their country of origin. Yet what value does it add to us? We miss the opportunity to learn from other cultures and find a middle ground to work together for social and economic development and well being. The vacuum left is what the politicians have filled with the politics of belonging and we continue to buy into the ideology.      References Legum, C. & Mmari G.R.V. (1995). Mwalimu: the influence of Nyerere Geschiere, P. (2009). The perils of belonging: Autochthony, citizenship, and exclusion in Africa and Europe. University of Chicago Press Jennings, M., & Mercer, C. (2011). Rehabilitating nationalisms: conviviality and national consciousness in postcolonial Tanzania. Politique Africaine, 121, 87-106. Saha, Santosh C. The politics of ethnicity and national identity. Peter Lang, 2007.
    Feb 06, 2017 533
  • 30 Jan 2017
    I am currently taking a unit on flood and drought management and it is interesting to say the least but that is a story for another day. However, this module hits home for me because Kenya is currently going through a very dry season. The water reservoirs and hydro-dams are running below half capacity and those that live in the arid and semi-arid lands are in dire need of food relief. Their livestock which is their sole source of livelihood has not been spared either and the owners have to walk for long distances in search of water and pasture. What shocks me even more is that the country is hoping that the expected long rains in April will solve this crisis. I am always left wondering why we have a meteorological department when occurrences like drought and flood seem to catch us unprepared every single year. Kenya is prone to frequent drought occurrences especially in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that cover 80% of its territory. The ASALs are home to an estimated 11 million people and 70% of the national livestock herd. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Strategic plan 2013-2017, livestock keeping accounts for approximately 90% of the employment opportunities and nearly 95% of family incomes in the ASALs. In these areas the annual rainfall is in the range of 200 to 500mm and experience frequent droughts and heat waves (Kandji, 2006). Livestock exposure to heat waves increases their vulnerability to diseases directly affecting their reproductive health and meat and milk production which the ASALs communities heavily rely on for food and income (FAO, 2016).The further vulnerability of Kenya to climate change and temperature projections suggesting a rise of 2.5°C between 2000 to 2050 present these communities with the challenge of ensuring food security, access to water and dealing with livestock diseases. The above challenges call for the development of effective adaptation strategies to minimize the effect of climate change and variability on the livelihoods of the people living in ASALs (Bobadoye A.O, 2016). The current approaches and strategies need to be changed in order to build resilience and adaptation capacity among the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Nicholas Ozor, 2011). These communities will be required to embrace new skills and attitudes through knowledge transfer and capacity building a role that can be effectively filled by extension agents (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Extension agents have influence towards the decisions made by farmers and pastoralists and they therefore play a very important role in the interpretation of climate change and variability research and providing information on adaptation measures necessary to the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Emily Susko, 2013). Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and variability is crucial in protecting the livelihoods and in ensuring food security among the pastoralist communities (Dagmawi M. Abegaz, 2014). There is some acknowledgement by the government on the important role of extension agencies in the agricultural sector. However the livestock subsector only has 20% of the required staff quota making service delivery difficult. All these factors have created a gap in knowledge transfer and capacity development leading to dire consequences. It has not only posed a threat to food security but also presented a new set of challenges in accessing animal feed, water, exposing the livestock to diseases and heat stress and to the general economy with livestock estimated to contribute 5.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). According to the (ILRI, 2015) Corporate Report 2014-2015, Kenya lost USD 3.3 billon in the livestock sector due to drought between 2008 and 2011. As a result pastoralists continue to be pushed deep in poverty due to livestock losses which are their main source of livelihood. In conclusion the changes in climate call for the adoption of new attitudes and practices to increase the level of preparedness among pastoralists to extreme conditions like drought. The extension agencies should fulfill their mandate to carry out public education and provide information to pastoralists and promote resilience and collaboration between different stakeholders in addressing different challenges among them, climate change (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Failure to which the ASALS will forever be condemned to receiving hand outs for decades to come.      References  Bobadoye A.O, P. O. ( 2016). Pastoralist Perception on Climate Change and Variability in Kajiado in Relation to Meteorology Evidence. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol 5 No 1 . Dagmawi M. Abegaz, P. W. (2014). Extension Agents' Awareness of Climate Change in Ethiopia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.946936. Emily Susko, M. S. (2013). Role of Extension in climate Adaptation in the United States. Silver Spring, Maryland. FAO. (2016). THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE; CLIMATE CHANGE,AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY. Rome. ILRI. (2015). Corporate Report 2014-2015. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute. Kandji, S. T. (2006). Drought in Kenya: climatic, economic and socio-political factors. New Standpoints , 17-19. Ministry of Agriculture, L. a. (2015). Strategic Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Government of Kenya.
    537 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am currently taking a unit on flood and drought management and it is interesting to say the least but that is a story for another day. However, this module hits home for me because Kenya is currently going through a very dry season. The water reservoirs and hydro-dams are running below half capacity and those that live in the arid and semi-arid lands are in dire need of food relief. Their livestock which is their sole source of livelihood has not been spared either and the owners have to walk for long distances in search of water and pasture. What shocks me even more is that the country is hoping that the expected long rains in April will solve this crisis. I am always left wondering why we have a meteorological department when occurrences like drought and flood seem to catch us unprepared every single year. Kenya is prone to frequent drought occurrences especially in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that cover 80% of its territory. The ASALs are home to an estimated 11 million people and 70% of the national livestock herd. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Strategic plan 2013-2017, livestock keeping accounts for approximately 90% of the employment opportunities and nearly 95% of family incomes in the ASALs. In these areas the annual rainfall is in the range of 200 to 500mm and experience frequent droughts and heat waves (Kandji, 2006). Livestock exposure to heat waves increases their vulnerability to diseases directly affecting their reproductive health and meat and milk production which the ASALs communities heavily rely on for food and income (FAO, 2016).The further vulnerability of Kenya to climate change and temperature projections suggesting a rise of 2.5°C between 2000 to 2050 present these communities with the challenge of ensuring food security, access to water and dealing with livestock diseases. The above challenges call for the development of effective adaptation strategies to minimize the effect of climate change and variability on the livelihoods of the people living in ASALs (Bobadoye A.O, 2016). The current approaches and strategies need to be changed in order to build resilience and adaptation capacity among the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Nicholas Ozor, 2011). These communities will be required to embrace new skills and attitudes through knowledge transfer and capacity building a role that can be effectively filled by extension agents (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Extension agents have influence towards the decisions made by farmers and pastoralists and they therefore play a very important role in the interpretation of climate change and variability research and providing information on adaptation measures necessary to the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Emily Susko, 2013). Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and variability is crucial in protecting the livelihoods and in ensuring food security among the pastoralist communities (Dagmawi M. Abegaz, 2014). There is some acknowledgement by the government on the important role of extension agencies in the agricultural sector. However the livestock subsector only has 20% of the required staff quota making service delivery difficult. All these factors have created a gap in knowledge transfer and capacity development leading to dire consequences. It has not only posed a threat to food security but also presented a new set of challenges in accessing animal feed, water, exposing the livestock to diseases and heat stress and to the general economy with livestock estimated to contribute 5.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). According to the (ILRI, 2015) Corporate Report 2014-2015, Kenya lost USD 3.3 billon in the livestock sector due to drought between 2008 and 2011. As a result pastoralists continue to be pushed deep in poverty due to livestock losses which are their main source of livelihood. In conclusion the changes in climate call for the adoption of new attitudes and practices to increase the level of preparedness among pastoralists to extreme conditions like drought. The extension agencies should fulfill their mandate to carry out public education and provide information to pastoralists and promote resilience and collaboration between different stakeholders in addressing different challenges among them, climate change (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Failure to which the ASALS will forever be condemned to receiving hand outs for decades to come.      References  Bobadoye A.O, P. O. ( 2016). Pastoralist Perception on Climate Change and Variability in Kajiado in Relation to Meteorology Evidence. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol 5 No 1 . Dagmawi M. Abegaz, P. W. (2014). Extension Agents' Awareness of Climate Change in Ethiopia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.946936. Emily Susko, M. S. (2013). Role of Extension in climate Adaptation in the United States. Silver Spring, Maryland. FAO. (2016). THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE; CLIMATE CHANGE,AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY. Rome. ILRI. (2015). Corporate Report 2014-2015. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute. Kandji, S. T. (2006). Drought in Kenya: climatic, economic and socio-political factors. New Standpoints , 17-19. Ministry of Agriculture, L. a. (2015). Strategic Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Government of Kenya.
    Jan 30, 2017 537
  • 23 Jan 2017
    Happy New Year! I hope it is not too late for the New Year wishes and good tidings. I am hoping that we all had a great winter break and we are looking forward to the coming days with great enthusiasm. My holiday from the blog is over so you can expect the weekly updates and links on your whatsApp groups to resume. Today’s entry is really special to me because it is a reflection of what it has meant to be one of the community leaders for the Community of Practice now that the time to handover that responsibility is here. When the call came for the positions it was almost natural for me to apply mostly because I have and continue to be involved in a similar platform albeit with a more broader outreach. We were required to submit an application detailing how we would better the platform and foster more activity online and offline. Looking back I think I underestimated that challenge and the jury is still out on what we achieved and what we slacked on but what cannot be denied is that we have all worked to beat this challenge. This position has provided me with an avenue for personal growth, bettering my communication and leadership skills. My networking abilities have also been honed and I can confidently say that I am a better rounded individual than when it all started. I can bet you that this is also true for other leaders as well. I want to acknowledge the endless support from the PAUWES administration and from the UNU-EHS who envisioned this platform and put all the resources and experts to making sure its operation continues to be top notch. However, the glue that holds this platform together is the group leaders and their members. I have watched their creativity come to play every time something has been required of them and they have always delivered above expectations. I have seen them each shine and grow into their responsibilities be it in event organization, coverage or interaction with their group members, partners and other stakeholders. So to each of them I say thank you and I hope they look back with nostalgia even on those heated moments we may have had. I have always believed that CoP presents a great opportunity for all students to develop their hard and soft skills. That belief continues for me even today because it is a platform run by students for the students. This platform presents an opportunity to network, share ideas and express our creativity. If you are interested in video filming you can sit down with the multimedia team and come up with creative ways to share ideas and as a result better your skills. For those who feel they want to blog, talk to the editorial team and explore ways on which your ideas can be shared with the rest of us and the world. You can stimulate debate on and off the platform by contributing to the work of your respective groups and being part of a greater vision. In short, each of the 7 groups have something for everyone and my challenge to each of you is to challenge how things are done, propose innovative ways to making the platform more active and keep growing as an individual and within groups. In conclusion, I am calling upon all the individuals who feel that they are up for the challenge to make CoP better and themselves as group leaders and community leaders to express their interest. The call for the new student leaders will go out this week and I believe so will that of group leaders and deputy leaders. If you have any questions get in touch with Martin, Mohammed or me and better yet talk to your respective group leaders. The leadership positions are not only fun and out of your comfort zone but they also offer endless networking opportunities. I am excited at what the future holds and you can be sure I will be part of this community for a very long time to come!
    603 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Happy New Year! I hope it is not too late for the New Year wishes and good tidings. I am hoping that we all had a great winter break and we are looking forward to the coming days with great enthusiasm. My holiday from the blog is over so you can expect the weekly updates and links on your whatsApp groups to resume. Today’s entry is really special to me because it is a reflection of what it has meant to be one of the community leaders for the Community of Practice now that the time to handover that responsibility is here. When the call came for the positions it was almost natural for me to apply mostly because I have and continue to be involved in a similar platform albeit with a more broader outreach. We were required to submit an application detailing how we would better the platform and foster more activity online and offline. Looking back I think I underestimated that challenge and the jury is still out on what we achieved and what we slacked on but what cannot be denied is that we have all worked to beat this challenge. This position has provided me with an avenue for personal growth, bettering my communication and leadership skills. My networking abilities have also been honed and I can confidently say that I am a better rounded individual than when it all started. I can bet you that this is also true for other leaders as well. I want to acknowledge the endless support from the PAUWES administration and from the UNU-EHS who envisioned this platform and put all the resources and experts to making sure its operation continues to be top notch. However, the glue that holds this platform together is the group leaders and their members. I have watched their creativity come to play every time something has been required of them and they have always delivered above expectations. I have seen them each shine and grow into their responsibilities be it in event organization, coverage or interaction with their group members, partners and other stakeholders. So to each of them I say thank you and I hope they look back with nostalgia even on those heated moments we may have had. I have always believed that CoP presents a great opportunity for all students to develop their hard and soft skills. That belief continues for me even today because it is a platform run by students for the students. This platform presents an opportunity to network, share ideas and express our creativity. If you are interested in video filming you can sit down with the multimedia team and come up with creative ways to share ideas and as a result better your skills. For those who feel they want to blog, talk to the editorial team and explore ways on which your ideas can be shared with the rest of us and the world. You can stimulate debate on and off the platform by contributing to the work of your respective groups and being part of a greater vision. In short, each of the 7 groups have something for everyone and my challenge to each of you is to challenge how things are done, propose innovative ways to making the platform more active and keep growing as an individual and within groups. In conclusion, I am calling upon all the individuals who feel that they are up for the challenge to make CoP better and themselves as group leaders and community leaders to express their interest. The call for the new student leaders will go out this week and I believe so will that of group leaders and deputy leaders. If you have any questions get in touch with Martin, Mohammed or me and better yet talk to your respective group leaders. The leadership positions are not only fun and out of your comfort zone but they also offer endless networking opportunities. I am excited at what the future holds and you can be sure I will be part of this community for a very long time to come!
    Jan 23, 2017 603
  • 27 Dec 2016
    When going into the real estate business, or even constructing your own house in Africa, it would be recommendable to go off-grid. This is because there is an alternative source of energy that is not only friendly to the environment but also pocket-friendly. Solar is becoming cheaper by the day and it is particularly cheaper in Africa as the continent is among the sunniest in the world. This has been driven by the reducing cost of solar PV modules as shown above. Looking at the brief analysis below, you can see how cheap solar is getting. The illustration above shows that the price of solar is below 6 dollar cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) anywhere in Africa as the continent is within the solar belt. Remember too that the pricing is unsubsidized. That cost is even lower than what most people currently pay for electricity in countries all over Africa. To put this into perspective, a report released by African Development Bank indicated that the average cost of electricity in Africa was US $0.14 per kWh against a production cost of US $0.18 per kWh in 2010. The situation hasn’t changed much for my country Kenya as the average cost of electricity for the low consumers is currently about US $0.14 per kWh with most average to high consumers paying about US $0.19 per kWh. That cost is expensive compared to solar and doesn’t take into consideration externalities such as environmental impacts from the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity. Energy Storage.. There is no concern with regards to ensuring a 24-hour supply of electricity as a result of declining cost and continuous improvement of energy storage technologies. Companies such as Tesla hope to produce batteries of $100 per kWh by 2020. There are also other companies undertaking numerous research and development on energy storage aiming to lower the price even further. For this reason, it is practical to establish a real estate business or even construct/convert a home to be purely based on solar energy in Africa. The savings will be enormous from a clean and reliable source of energy. Prospects for savings… Let’s assume you are in Kenya and its 2020 already, the cost of solar averages US $0.045 per kWh while the electricity from the grid remains at US $0.19 per kWh for most middle-class consumers. Let’s also assume a consumption of about 300 kWh every month.  The savings from using solar will be about US $522 in a year. The savings for a about 5 years will be able to purchase a solar energy system, including energy storage, that will provide free electricity for at least 25 years more. I hope we see the sense and embrace solar as a dependable energy source. In fact, there is no need to wait until 2020, make 2017 a year for savings on electricity as well as the environment by adopting solar energy.
    680 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • When going into the real estate business, or even constructing your own house in Africa, it would be recommendable to go off-grid. This is because there is an alternative source of energy that is not only friendly to the environment but also pocket-friendly. Solar is becoming cheaper by the day and it is particularly cheaper in Africa as the continent is among the sunniest in the world. This has been driven by the reducing cost of solar PV modules as shown above. Looking at the brief analysis below, you can see how cheap solar is getting. The illustration above shows that the price of solar is below 6 dollar cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) anywhere in Africa as the continent is within the solar belt. Remember too that the pricing is unsubsidized. That cost is even lower than what most people currently pay for electricity in countries all over Africa. To put this into perspective, a report released by African Development Bank indicated that the average cost of electricity in Africa was US $0.14 per kWh against a production cost of US $0.18 per kWh in 2010. The situation hasn’t changed much for my country Kenya as the average cost of electricity for the low consumers is currently about US $0.14 per kWh with most average to high consumers paying about US $0.19 per kWh. That cost is expensive compared to solar and doesn’t take into consideration externalities such as environmental impacts from the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity. Energy Storage.. There is no concern with regards to ensuring a 24-hour supply of electricity as a result of declining cost and continuous improvement of energy storage technologies. Companies such as Tesla hope to produce batteries of $100 per kWh by 2020. There are also other companies undertaking numerous research and development on energy storage aiming to lower the price even further. For this reason, it is practical to establish a real estate business or even construct/convert a home to be purely based on solar energy in Africa. The savings will be enormous from a clean and reliable source of energy. Prospects for savings… Let’s assume you are in Kenya and its 2020 already, the cost of solar averages US $0.045 per kWh while the electricity from the grid remains at US $0.19 per kWh for most middle-class consumers. Let’s also assume a consumption of about 300 kWh every month.  The savings from using solar will be about US $522 in a year. The savings for a about 5 years will be able to purchase a solar energy system, including energy storage, that will provide free electricity for at least 25 years more. I hope we see the sense and embrace solar as a dependable energy source. In fact, there is no need to wait until 2020, make 2017 a year for savings on electricity as well as the environment by adopting solar energy.
    Dec 27, 2016 680
  • 07 Dec 2016
    During my undergraduate we had to take a module on Environmental Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The aim of the module was to show the existence of traditional knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources among the different communities in Kenya and by extension Africa. Our forefathers had dependable knowledge on weather patterns, migration of animals, soil conservation and medicine and the management of resources in general. I have had the privilege of working with communities and it has always been clear that each holds unique knowledge and skills to ensure their survival and continuity. However, we live in a world where most of those who have been through school look down on the cultural and traditional knowledge and the younger generation are not keen to learn from the older generation. Hence this knowledge system is slowly dying from our society.   I am particularly more interested in the area of climate change and adaptation mostly because it affects the very core of our communities by threatening food security and livelihoods. If you speak to anyone in the rural areas whether a farmer or pastoralist they will tell you that they have noticed considerable changes in the weather patterns only they do not know what to attribute it to. The rainy seasons are unpredictable, shorter or more intense to cause flooding and the dry spells are more frequent and last longer. On top of this, their yields have decreased and new crop and livestock diseases have emerged pushing some to the blink of starvation. So the biggest question is why the research and information in print on how to build resilience and adapt to climate change is not reaching these communities and if it is, why is it not as effective?   Governments and international research institute are spending millions of dollars towards research and rightly so considering there is so much we still do not comprehend about climate change and its impacts. There are conferences and agreements being signed right left and center as we seek to minimize these impacts and build resilience of our people and the world. However, what good is it if this science is not being translated into action? The local farmers or pastoralists may not understand the scientific jargons but they can surely contribute into the localizations of solutions that fit their particular challenges. They possess knowledge on crop rotation and pest control, water resource management and soil conservation and on crops that are drought resistant and yet their contribution is undervalued. The creation of awareness should therefore come from a place of collaboration and not dictation if any sustainable solutions are to be found. We have so many projects on the continent that have not seen a day after the donors have left. They collapse because they ignore the contributions of the local people and the knowledge they possess and hence the lack of ownership and continuity.   Science and research plays an important role in our world today and will continue to do so in the future. However, we must not ignore the existing knowledge among our communities because to know the future we must understand our past. The answers we seek lie in integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge and finding what works for each community. Researchers and scientists cannot continue to take the role where they dictate the changes that need to be made in our society and assume that communities are without any knowledge. What we need is for all stakeholders to come together and have a platform where they can share knowledge and information. This will not only create ownership of projects but create sustainability where projects last beyond their funding phases and maybe development goals like the SDG’s will be attainable.
    552 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • During my undergraduate we had to take a module on Environmental Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The aim of the module was to show the existence of traditional knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources among the different communities in Kenya and by extension Africa. Our forefathers had dependable knowledge on weather patterns, migration of animals, soil conservation and medicine and the management of resources in general. I have had the privilege of working with communities and it has always been clear that each holds unique knowledge and skills to ensure their survival and continuity. However, we live in a world where most of those who have been through school look down on the cultural and traditional knowledge and the younger generation are not keen to learn from the older generation. Hence this knowledge system is slowly dying from our society.   I am particularly more interested in the area of climate change and adaptation mostly because it affects the very core of our communities by threatening food security and livelihoods. If you speak to anyone in the rural areas whether a farmer or pastoralist they will tell you that they have noticed considerable changes in the weather patterns only they do not know what to attribute it to. The rainy seasons are unpredictable, shorter or more intense to cause flooding and the dry spells are more frequent and last longer. On top of this, their yields have decreased and new crop and livestock diseases have emerged pushing some to the blink of starvation. So the biggest question is why the research and information in print on how to build resilience and adapt to climate change is not reaching these communities and if it is, why is it not as effective?   Governments and international research institute are spending millions of dollars towards research and rightly so considering there is so much we still do not comprehend about climate change and its impacts. There are conferences and agreements being signed right left and center as we seek to minimize these impacts and build resilience of our people and the world. However, what good is it if this science is not being translated into action? The local farmers or pastoralists may not understand the scientific jargons but they can surely contribute into the localizations of solutions that fit their particular challenges. They possess knowledge on crop rotation and pest control, water resource management and soil conservation and on crops that are drought resistant and yet their contribution is undervalued. The creation of awareness should therefore come from a place of collaboration and not dictation if any sustainable solutions are to be found. We have so many projects on the continent that have not seen a day after the donors have left. They collapse because they ignore the contributions of the local people and the knowledge they possess and hence the lack of ownership and continuity.   Science and research plays an important role in our world today and will continue to do so in the future. However, we must not ignore the existing knowledge among our communities because to know the future we must understand our past. The answers we seek lie in integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge and finding what works for each community. Researchers and scientists cannot continue to take the role where they dictate the changes that need to be made in our society and assume that communities are without any knowledge. What we need is for all stakeholders to come together and have a platform where they can share knowledge and information. This will not only create ownership of projects but create sustainability where projects last beyond their funding phases and maybe development goals like the SDG’s will be attainable.
    Dec 07, 2016 552
  • 29 Nov 2016
    I find myself drawing from my last class in water economics and one of the reasons could be because our professor had us do mini projects after every topic. However, this is a follow up for the post I did last week on the Nile River and the conflict that surrounds it. One of our recommendations to the long standing conflict between the riparian States on the utilization and allocation of the Nile River was the establishment of a water market. Our conclusion, based on the research we carried out was that the population increase in the 10 riparian countries and the pressure caused by climate change in the region among other factors would only make the Nile politics more volatile and hence the need for a lasting solution or a compromise between all States. Water market is a mechanism used to acquire and redistribute water and allows for water to be allocated according to the highest valued use. It involves the initial allocation of water rights specified in unit of measurement which based on the set regulations can be transferred to other user on a permanent or temporary basis. Water rights are based on the existing laws and could be land based or use based. Land based water rights are based on land ownership whereas use based rights are based on whether the user has legal access to the water source. Countries like the USA, Australia, and South Africa already have water markets set in place to help deal with water scarcity. Australia’s water market is estimated at 26 billion dollars and is considered to be the largest in the world. Here every user must operate within the set government limit on how much available water can be used. The large scale users of water also have to watch the water prices carefully like the stock market because each sector is competing with the other for a scarce resource. So can the same concept be employed to work between riparian States like in the case of the Nile? Of course there are challenges that will need to be overcome before a water market can be established for the Nile River especially because it would involve the establishment of water laws that all States agree to. Currently, the Nile Basin Initiative has limited capacity in legal, expertise and financial abilities. Moving forward, therefore there is need for an establishment of a legal institution that has the power to settle conflicts between the States and an open forum for sharing of available data and knowledge something the Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010 sought to do. The establishment of an institutional framework will help determine the feasibility of water market transactions and the guidelines. This will in turn reduce uncertainty and suspicion between States by providing a structure for securing water rights, enforcing them and ensuring an operational market. A good example on the continent is in South Africa where the water markets were introduced in 1997-1998. This has been applied in the Lower Orange River where a water market has allowed for a transfer of water use from low value crops to high value crops and use of better irrigation technology. Water marketing can be seen as a way of allocating scarce water resources efficiently and offers empowerment to the users through property rights. In the case of the Nile, the water market would allow countries to decentralize decision making and involve other stakeholders who live along the river and rely on it greatly. This would also allow countries depending on the water rights allocated to know how much water they will use and what crops to grow. In the long run countries will have an opportunity to produce crops whose water need does not exceed the allocated amount and meet other water demands. This will not only promote water use efficiency in the basin but it will also promote agricultural and industrial trade between them and create better relations. Another possible scenario is that countries would have a chance to trade their water rights, for instance; Ethiopia could potentially trade some of its water rights to Egypt on a temporary or permanent basis based on the fact that they have other water resources available. Water is the most undervalued natural resource in my opinion even though we equate it to life and considering it an economic good could go a long way in improving how we allocate, use and manage it. However, this concept has its own challenges and critics but it could be a catalyst for better cooperation among the Nile riparian States.  
    504 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I find myself drawing from my last class in water economics and one of the reasons could be because our professor had us do mini projects after every topic. However, this is a follow up for the post I did last week on the Nile River and the conflict that surrounds it. One of our recommendations to the long standing conflict between the riparian States on the utilization and allocation of the Nile River was the establishment of a water market. Our conclusion, based on the research we carried out was that the population increase in the 10 riparian countries and the pressure caused by climate change in the region among other factors would only make the Nile politics more volatile and hence the need for a lasting solution or a compromise between all States. Water market is a mechanism used to acquire and redistribute water and allows for water to be allocated according to the highest valued use. It involves the initial allocation of water rights specified in unit of measurement which based on the set regulations can be transferred to other user on a permanent or temporary basis. Water rights are based on the existing laws and could be land based or use based. Land based water rights are based on land ownership whereas use based rights are based on whether the user has legal access to the water source. Countries like the USA, Australia, and South Africa already have water markets set in place to help deal with water scarcity. Australia’s water market is estimated at 26 billion dollars and is considered to be the largest in the world. Here every user must operate within the set government limit on how much available water can be used. The large scale users of water also have to watch the water prices carefully like the stock market because each sector is competing with the other for a scarce resource. So can the same concept be employed to work between riparian States like in the case of the Nile? Of course there are challenges that will need to be overcome before a water market can be established for the Nile River especially because it would involve the establishment of water laws that all States agree to. Currently, the Nile Basin Initiative has limited capacity in legal, expertise and financial abilities. Moving forward, therefore there is need for an establishment of a legal institution that has the power to settle conflicts between the States and an open forum for sharing of available data and knowledge something the Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010 sought to do. The establishment of an institutional framework will help determine the feasibility of water market transactions and the guidelines. This will in turn reduce uncertainty and suspicion between States by providing a structure for securing water rights, enforcing them and ensuring an operational market. A good example on the continent is in South Africa where the water markets were introduced in 1997-1998. This has been applied in the Lower Orange River where a water market has allowed for a transfer of water use from low value crops to high value crops and use of better irrigation technology. Water marketing can be seen as a way of allocating scarce water resources efficiently and offers empowerment to the users through property rights. In the case of the Nile, the water market would allow countries to decentralize decision making and involve other stakeholders who live along the river and rely on it greatly. This would also allow countries depending on the water rights allocated to know how much water they will use and what crops to grow. In the long run countries will have an opportunity to produce crops whose water need does not exceed the allocated amount and meet other water demands. This will not only promote water use efficiency in the basin but it will also promote agricultural and industrial trade between them and create better relations. Another possible scenario is that countries would have a chance to trade their water rights, for instance; Ethiopia could potentially trade some of its water rights to Egypt on a temporary or permanent basis based on the fact that they have other water resources available. Water is the most undervalued natural resource in my opinion even though we equate it to life and considering it an economic good could go a long way in improving how we allocate, use and manage it. However, this concept has its own challenges and critics but it could be a catalyst for better cooperation among the Nile riparian States.  
    Nov 29, 2016 504
  • 22 Nov 2016
    My class has just concluded a module in Water Economics and as part of the course requirement we had to choose a project that would account for almost half of the final grade. My group and I decided to work on the Nile under the title “Challenges and Opportunities in the Nile Basin Conflict: Proposed Interventions for Conflict Resolution”. To be honest, I had never really taken time to understand the intricate politics that surround the Nile Basin and what I found not only captured my imagination and interest but also made for one of the best research topics I have done in a long time out of what I would call my areas of interest. The Nile is the longest River in the world covering 6,600Km originating from the White Nile and Blue Nile and has 10 countries laying claim to it (Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Republic Democratic of Congo). The estimated average annual flow of the river at the Aswan Dam in Egypt is 84 billion cubic meters with an estimated loss of 10 billion cubic meters to evaporation. The sharing of the water in the Nile River has mostly always been under contention with threats of war traded between the main contributor Ethiopia and the main user Egypt. The conflict on the utilization and allocation of the Nile can be partly attributed to the colonial treaties made by the British on behalf of its colonies. The treaties of 1902, 1929 and 1959 gave Egypt the veto powers over the Nile allocating it 55.5 billion cubic meters while Sudan took a share of 18.5 billion cubic meters. Through these treaties downstream countries were not to carry any development along the Nile or participate in any activities that would affect the water flow on the Nile. After gaining independence the countries wanted these treaties rendered absolute and a new sharing mechanism established. However, to date this dream is yet to be realized. The Nile has always been an important resource for Egypt and more so because of its geographic location and climatic conditions. It is estimated that about 99% of Egypt’s population live along the Nile River and depend on it for household and agricultural supply. This therefore, may explain the reason why Egypt is not enthusiastic about embracing new water sharing mechanism and agreement. However, with economic development and population increase in the Riparian States the status quo will have to change. Countries like Ethiopia are flexing their muscle with the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam along the Blue Nile which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters and an estimated power generation capacity of 6000 MW and other countries have stated their intention on future developments. Holding on to the colonial agreements therefore, is absolutely naïve for Egypt and yet the other Riparian countries have not been able to present a united front in challenging this position. One may ask what efforts have been made towards the resolution of the Nile conflict and rightly so. There have been many initiatives but the most notable one is the Nile Basin Initiative through which the Riparian States were able to develop the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) of 2010. The CFA outlines the principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources. This treaty seeks to promote and establish a framework to “promote integrated management, sustainable development, and harmonious utilization of the water resources of the Basin, as well as their conservation and protection for the benefit of the present and future generations”. It creates a forum where permanent institutional mechanisms can be established to facilitate cooperation among the Basin’s States in the sustainable management and development of the River Nile and in the resolution of conflict. However, the agreement was met with mixed reactions and Egypt and Sudan declined to sign which backtracked the efforts put by the Nile Basin Initiative towards finding a lasting solution in the allocation, use and conflict resolution in the basin. So why will Sudan and Egypt not sign? Even though all riparian States agreed to the contents of the agreement Egypt and Sudan were not in agreement with Article 14 which introduced the aspect of water security and therefore failed to sign the agreement. Article 14 (b) reads “not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.” However, Egypt and Sudan proposed an amendment to Article 14(b) to “not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin State” which was rejected by other States who viewed it as a bid by Egypt and Sudan to reinforce the colonial treaties therefore going against the vision of the Nile Basin Initiative. Egypt and Sudan saw Article 14 as one that threatened their rights and access to the water in River Nile and challenged the veto powers guaranteed by the 1929 and 1959 treaties. Furthermore Egypt wanted the definition of the Nile River System changed to include both environmental protection and water allocation which would mean that the Nile River would not only include the 84km3 but also 1600km3 rainwater that Egypt claims falls over the basin. The position of Egypt and Sudan was vehemently opposed by the other Riparian States and to date only six countries have signed the CFA (Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi) and only three States (Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda) have ratified it. It is surprising that Uganda which hosts the offices for the Nile Basin Initiative has not ratified the agreement highlighting the cracks that exist in the cooperation efforts. Another great challenge faced by the countries is the lack of data and an information sharing platform. The suspicion that exists between states has hampered any chance of working together and many continue to hold on to their hard lines. We submitted our findings and developed our own sharing mechanism that we felt could work for the Nile Riparian States. We made several assumptions and considered different variables in developing a mechanism for the Nile. You can expect that emotions ran high during the presentation with the majority of the class coming from the Nile Riparian States. Our conclusion as a group was that the Nile conflict is complex but all the States need to look at the Nile afresh and with a clear mind. Countries need to compromise in their demands and expectations bearing in mind that a successful agreement provides room for cooperation and water trading rights and development of a water market to the benefit all States.
    543 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • My class has just concluded a module in Water Economics and as part of the course requirement we had to choose a project that would account for almost half of the final grade. My group and I decided to work on the Nile under the title “Challenges and Opportunities in the Nile Basin Conflict: Proposed Interventions for Conflict Resolution”. To be honest, I had never really taken time to understand the intricate politics that surround the Nile Basin and what I found not only captured my imagination and interest but also made for one of the best research topics I have done in a long time out of what I would call my areas of interest. The Nile is the longest River in the world covering 6,600Km originating from the White Nile and Blue Nile and has 10 countries laying claim to it (Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Republic Democratic of Congo). The estimated average annual flow of the river at the Aswan Dam in Egypt is 84 billion cubic meters with an estimated loss of 10 billion cubic meters to evaporation. The sharing of the water in the Nile River has mostly always been under contention with threats of war traded between the main contributor Ethiopia and the main user Egypt. The conflict on the utilization and allocation of the Nile can be partly attributed to the colonial treaties made by the British on behalf of its colonies. The treaties of 1902, 1929 and 1959 gave Egypt the veto powers over the Nile allocating it 55.5 billion cubic meters while Sudan took a share of 18.5 billion cubic meters. Through these treaties downstream countries were not to carry any development along the Nile or participate in any activities that would affect the water flow on the Nile. After gaining independence the countries wanted these treaties rendered absolute and a new sharing mechanism established. However, to date this dream is yet to be realized. The Nile has always been an important resource for Egypt and more so because of its geographic location and climatic conditions. It is estimated that about 99% of Egypt’s population live along the Nile River and depend on it for household and agricultural supply. This therefore, may explain the reason why Egypt is not enthusiastic about embracing new water sharing mechanism and agreement. However, with economic development and population increase in the Riparian States the status quo will have to change. Countries like Ethiopia are flexing their muscle with the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam along the Blue Nile which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters and an estimated power generation capacity of 6000 MW and other countries have stated their intention on future developments. Holding on to the colonial agreements therefore, is absolutely naïve for Egypt and yet the other Riparian countries have not been able to present a united front in challenging this position. One may ask what efforts have been made towards the resolution of the Nile conflict and rightly so. There have been many initiatives but the most notable one is the Nile Basin Initiative through which the Riparian States were able to develop the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) of 2010. The CFA outlines the principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources. This treaty seeks to promote and establish a framework to “promote integrated management, sustainable development, and harmonious utilization of the water resources of the Basin, as well as their conservation and protection for the benefit of the present and future generations”. It creates a forum where permanent institutional mechanisms can be established to facilitate cooperation among the Basin’s States in the sustainable management and development of the River Nile and in the resolution of conflict. However, the agreement was met with mixed reactions and Egypt and Sudan declined to sign which backtracked the efforts put by the Nile Basin Initiative towards finding a lasting solution in the allocation, use and conflict resolution in the basin. So why will Sudan and Egypt not sign? Even though all riparian States agreed to the contents of the agreement Egypt and Sudan were not in agreement with Article 14 which introduced the aspect of water security and therefore failed to sign the agreement. Article 14 (b) reads “not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.” However, Egypt and Sudan proposed an amendment to Article 14(b) to “not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin State” which was rejected by other States who viewed it as a bid by Egypt and Sudan to reinforce the colonial treaties therefore going against the vision of the Nile Basin Initiative. Egypt and Sudan saw Article 14 as one that threatened their rights and access to the water in River Nile and challenged the veto powers guaranteed by the 1929 and 1959 treaties. Furthermore Egypt wanted the definition of the Nile River System changed to include both environmental protection and water allocation which would mean that the Nile River would not only include the 84km3 but also 1600km3 rainwater that Egypt claims falls over the basin. The position of Egypt and Sudan was vehemently opposed by the other Riparian States and to date only six countries have signed the CFA (Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi) and only three States (Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda) have ratified it. It is surprising that Uganda which hosts the offices for the Nile Basin Initiative has not ratified the agreement highlighting the cracks that exist in the cooperation efforts. Another great challenge faced by the countries is the lack of data and an information sharing platform. The suspicion that exists between states has hampered any chance of working together and many continue to hold on to their hard lines. We submitted our findings and developed our own sharing mechanism that we felt could work for the Nile Riparian States. We made several assumptions and considered different variables in developing a mechanism for the Nile. You can expect that emotions ran high during the presentation with the majority of the class coming from the Nile Riparian States. Our conclusion as a group was that the Nile conflict is complex but all the States need to look at the Nile afresh and with a clear mind. Countries need to compromise in their demands and expectations bearing in mind that a successful agreement provides room for cooperation and water trading rights and development of a water market to the benefit all States.
    Nov 22, 2016 543