Building up Momentum for Change

first_img7 December 2011Ten innovative projects which will help thousands of people across the world deal with climate change have been launched at COP 17 in Durban as the first platform of the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change initiative.President Jacob Zuma, International Relations Minister COP 17 president Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres launched the projects at an informal event on Tuesday.Zuma showed his lighter side by making a joke about people in KwaZulu-Natal thinking COP 17 was about police officers before delving into the importance of such projects.Focus on public-private partnershipsThere are two South African projects on the list: the Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Project, where rural communities collect seed, grow trees and plant these in a degraded forest area; and the eMalahleni Reclamation Plant, which treats underground water for everyday usage.The first platform of the Momentum for Change initiative is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on public-private partnerships, especially those that benefit the urban poor in developing countries.One project that stands out involves “solar bottle bulbs”, where a 1 litre soda bottle is filled with a solution of purified water and bleach. The bottle is inserted halfway through a hole drilled in the metal roof and its sides are sealed. The bottle then looks like a bulb through a sunroof and provides a good amount of light by deflecting sunlight into gloomy interiors.These are now used in Manila, providing light to almost 10 000 people.Enabling people to contribute in practical waysThe projects, Zuma said, made it possible for individuals and communities to contribute in a very practical way to the process of reducing emissions, adapting to climate change and improving their quality of life.“These are projects that give people access to energy while at the same time, saving water,” Zuma said. “These are the projects that protect our ecosystems and … improve our food and water security. These are the projects that can be scaled up, replicated, enhanced and further innovated.”Nkoana-Mashabane used her address to highlight the role of women in Africa when dealing with adaptation and mitigation for climate change.Implementation? Ask a woman!She asked for projects to bring change and impact on the lives of women. She said women should no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water or wood, which in turns causes harm to forests.She added, half jokingly, that when you wanted projects to be implemented, you should ask women to do them for you.Ban, a self-confessed champion of gender equality, challenged African men to do more on the continent to help cope with climate change.He said if sustainable development was to become a reality, issues around global health, water scarcity, food prices, poverty and gender inequality had to be addressed.He once again said leaders needed to look beyond their borders, because climate change impacts did not respect borders and affected both the rich and poor.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Kushwaha slams Nitish; rift in Bihar NDA widens

first_imgCracks in the NDA in Bihar are out in open, with Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) leader Upendra Kushwaha accusing Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of targeting him, following reports of the JD(U) wooing two of his legislators.Mr. Kushwaha’s comments came minutes after his meeting with the opposition leader and former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav. Mr. Yadav had walked out of the party last year after Mr. Kumar joined hands again with the BJP. Since then he has been rallying opposition parties to form an anti-BJP front.“Nitish Kumar has a habit of breaking parties. I do not know why he has come down to destroy me and my party. But no matter what he does, he cannot harm me,” Mr. Kushwaha told reporters with Mr. Yadav standing by him.His meeting with Mr. Yadav has given rise to speculations that he may finally be switching sides. Calling Mr. Yadav, his marg darshak or guide, he said the meeting was merely to discuss issues related to social justice. Apart from his differences with Mr. Kumar, Mr. Kushwaha has been unhappy with seat sharing formula evolved by the BJP. In 2014, RLSP contested and won three seats. But in 2019, he may get only two seats.He had earlier met with Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav.The latest outburst against JD(U) chief is because of reports that RLSP MLA Sudhanshu Shekhar met newly appointed JD(U) vice-president Prashant Kishor. He along with another legislator Lalan Paswan are rumoured to switch loyalities to the JD(U).Mr. Kushwaha said the BJP must intercede in the ongoing tussle between him and Bihar Chief Minister. “We are both in NDA and we are supposed to work together. I do not think Nitishji should do all of this,” he said. He has also sought a meeting with BJP President Amit Shah to raise the issue of his “humiliations”. He has alleged that Mr Kumar referred to him as neech (low born) in one of his interactions with reporters.The BJP however, is in no mood to back him against the JD(U). In a direct snub, Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi tweeted, “Nitish Kumar never used the word NEECH in his interaction with media .I was present in the programme . Still some leaders trying to become martyr but will not succeed.”last_img read more