Uganda recently withdrew from a two-year extension of the International Coffee Organisation’s (ISO's) 2007 International Coffee Agreement (ICA). The ICA, with both importing and exporting countries as members, aims to facilitate international coffee trade and focuses on sustainability (ICO). It also works to ensure benefits for all parties, especially profits for small-scale producers.
As borders closed this past month in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, Africa’s $39 billion tourism industry and the conservation projects that rely on its revenues have come to a sudden halt.
Locust swarms across Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Tanzania, and Uganda have now entered South Sudan, threatening crops and livelihoods of 25 million people. The locust outbreak in Kenya is the worst the country has faced in 70 years, while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their worst swarms in 25 years.
Scientists are using information gleaned from both illegal ivory art and elephant dung to provide clues that could help save their lives. The process consists of cutting up seized artifacts and subjecting them to carbon dating to determine when the elephants were killed. DNA from the ivory art is then compared to a DNA database derived from elephant dung to pinpoint where they lived. Previous work by the researchers has provided valuable information to focus poaching law enforcement in Africa and prosecute ivory traffickers elsewhere.
Last week at the COP22 meeting in Marrakesh, members of the African Development Bank announced their plans to combat and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Bank sees pushing forward on energy development—including investment in renewable energy—as a way to boost the economy of African countries and combat climate change. The Bank’s plan, the New Deal on Energy for Africa, plans to invest $12 billion in the continent’s energy sector, including in developing up to 300GW of renewable energy power by 2030 as part of their African Renewable Energy Initiative.
At a meeting in Marrakesh, seven African countries signed the TFA 2020 Marrakesh Declaration for the Sustainable Development of the Oil Palm Sector in Africa, thereby committing themselves, with support from the palm oil industry, to prioritize sustainable palm oil development.
Sub-Saharan Africa is seeing a surge of interest in irrigation among small-scale farmers as climate change brings more erratic weather and as rising populations in countries from Nigeria to Kenya mean growing demand for a reliable harvest, agriculture and water experts say. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) estimates that more than a million hectares of small farms are now irrigated in the region. In Tanzania, the area of small farms with access to irrigation has risen from just 33,500 hectares in 2010 to about 150,000 today, institute figures show.
Four Zambian villages have sued Vedanta Resources, a mining company based in London, for contaminating their water sources and land since 2004 through its mining operations. The villagers, who have fallen sick and have suffered huge crop losses, are asking Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary for compensation. Although the subsidiary is responsible for the alleged violations, the villagers have petitioned the high court in London to hear the case because they claim Vedanta Resources exercises control over its subsidiary’s activities.
A growing number of pollinator species worldwide are being driven toward extinction by diverse pressures, many of them human-made, threatening millions of livelihoods and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of food supplies, according to the first global assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released February 26. Bees and other pollinators face increasing risks to their survival, threatening foods such as apples, blueberries and coffee worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
The government of Botswana quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in nearly half of the Kgalagadi Park. Prospecting licenses were granted to a UK-listed company called Nodding Donkey in September 2014, although the sale was not reported. The company recently changed its name to Karoo Energy. The park is located along the border of South Africa and spans more than 36,000 sq. km. It is one of Africa’s largest conservation areas and is home to pygmy falcons, the gemsbok desert antelope, and black-maned Kalahari lions.