Friday, March 22, 2013

Water resources are our lifeline for survival Ghana Youth

Today, we join millions of people across the globe to mark World Water Day. This day should be a day of reflection on millions of people who do not have access to clean drinking water, The fulfillment of all fundamental human needs is largely dependent on water and access thereof

We live in a world where clean, fresh drinking water is becoming increasingly scarce It can take about 10 to 15 times more water to produce a kilo of meat than a kilo of wheat. By 2030 we will need at least 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water.

Today, over 780 million people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water and 2.5 billion people are without improved sanitation.

Water withdrawals should increase by 50 percent in developing countries and by 18 percent in developed countries. Water for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest pressures on freshwater resources

Climate Change and Population growth associated with changing consumption patterns, especially in cities, is driving an increase in water demand. Our lifestyles are more water hungry

Water and sanitation should contribute significantly to the realization United Nations Millennium Development Goals, including reducing poverty, promoting gender equality, reducing child and maternal mortality and providing universal primary education.

Government must take a step to make Ghana a less wasteful place when it comes to the use of a key natural resource and provide safe and clean water to all Ghanaian  Water resources are our lifeline for survival, and for sustainable development in the twenty-first century.”

As we mark the world water day remember that A4 paper = 1 liter of water. Using less water to flush the toilet or take a shower rather than a bath

We, at Abibimman Foundation, AYICC –Ghana, GCAP-Ghana and IDAY-Ghana believe it is indeed possible to achieve the millennium development Goal by the year 2015.

 Kenneth Nana Amoateng 
Chief Executive Officer 
Abibiman Foundation - Tel +233-303-213918, Mob:+233244023651

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MDG7: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability

MDG 1: Eradicate extreme Poverty and Hunger
Continuous Degradation of natural resources such as food, medicinal plants, fuel wood etc. and land degradation might lead to poverty
MDG2: Achieve Universal Basic Education
Availability of water and energy sources particularly girls spend more hours gather
Ring water and fell water before going to school and firewood Burden of environmental health threats
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Poor women exposed to indoor air pollution, burden of collecting fuel wood and water, and unequal access to land and natural resources
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Environmentally related diseases- indoor and local air pollution, unsafe water, poor sanitation
MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
Physical stresses associated with the gathering of environmental resources such as firewood, good drinking water.
Food availability, water quality, poor sanitation etc caused by environmental degradation tend to affect maternal health.
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
Environmental degradation might lead to poor local economic Mishaps, rural-urban migration and overcrowding. These may lead to HIV/AIDS etc.
Increase in temp associated with climate change, poor sanitation conducive for vector multiplication
MDG 8: Global Partnership
For Growth and Dev't
Kenneth Nana Amoateng
Abibimman Foundation

Post-2015 development agenda and the framing of the sustainable development goals,

Post-2015 development agenda and the framing of the sustainable development goals, what are the key issues that needed to be addressed in terms of environmental sustainability from the African Youth perspective

As Africa is endowed with great natural resources like forest and minerals, sustainable management of these resources should be strengthened to ensure that the revenue from these resources are channeled into addressing social problems and also to access good health.

This can be done by reaffirming commitment to bilateral and multilateral agreement that protect, regulate and prevents the over exploitation of our natural resources. Example is the VPA agreement to prevent illegal timber onto the EU market. Beyond this, I believe the capacity of Africans should be built to introduce Forest certification in the management of their forest. This will not only help in the long term protection of our forest but will also secure the overall interest of the indigenous/local people.

Still there remain far too many people without sufficient food or even access to food of the
necessary nutritional value. Most estimates suggest that a 70 per cent increase in food production will be required in order to feed what is expected to be a global population of nine billion people by 2050. 

This is a significant challenge: limited opportunities exist for expanding the area of land under cultivation without compromising other land uses, and agriculture is currently too dependent on external inputs and over-reliant on fossil fuels. 

But most importantly, water availability is now regarded as the key constraint to further gains in agricultural output. 

While we require only about two to four litres of water a day to drink, it takes between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water to produce one person’s daily food

There must be intense education and awareness creation for the youth on the post-2015 development agenda

Youth working in the area of environmental sustainability should be tasked with some responsibilities or roles in achieving goals or objectives set.
The views or opinions of young people should be included in all the decision making processes

By Kenneth Nana Amoateng,
Chief Executive Officer
Abibimman Foundation

African youth involved in the Rio+20

African and Ghana youth voices were taken into account in the Rio+20 

Climate change is all about intergenerational equity and therefore the youth play a very important role in the national, regional and international negotiations and decision making. Rio+20 was a ground breaking conference which brought thousands of people together on the same platform to reaffirm and renew their political commitment to ensuring sustainable development. Therefore, like many of such conferences the participation of youth was highly anticipated. Unfortunately, only few countries in Africa (Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and Djibouti) had Youth as part of their official delegation. Even though there were quite a number of youth who participated as observers but their participation did not have so much influence on the outcome document since they were not part of the negotiations.  

I think so. Personally, I don’t think the voices of youth were taken into account during the conference. Just accepting or admitting a position paper from youth is not enough. Countries who participate in such conferences should be tasked with ensuring that the concerns raised by the youth are tackled at the national level down to the local level. This will help the youth to appreciate issues at stake and make informed contributions to the processes.

By Kenneth Nana Amoateng,
Chief Executive Officer
Abibimman Foundation

Climate change in Ghana has become a threat to livelihoods

Climate change in Ghana has become a threat to livelihoods. Drought and over flooding in parts of the Northern Region of Ghana has become a yearly worry to the people and government. People along the banks of the Volta river are constantly displaced, homeless and landless. In the South particularly aquatic life is affected as a result of human activities and sea level rise that pollutes water bodies and the main economic activity which is fishing drops and this has affected the income levels of the people.

The climate change impacts in Northern part of Ghana results in severe draughts in the dry season, severe floods, high temperatures, influx of pest and diseases taking away human life and property, currently most parts of Northern Ghana is flooded and has rendered people homeless, lost of agricultural products and property. The heavy lost of farm crops is predicted to bring famine if measures are not put in place. The government of Ghana has contracted engineers to come out with ways to solve the problem. The government is also in consultation with Burkina Faso to solve the flooding problems collectively.

From a very personal view, I think the political will and commitment to respond fast to climate change has not been evident. African Leaders prefer to sign political agreements and agenda instead of designing these themselves. The fact African leaders never set the pace and lead in these agenda setting therefore limits their say in major issues of international concern.

Also there is no common clearly laid down strategies' by the African continent on how effectively they can handle this issue as a continent. Technologically, Africa has not been very innovative in curbing the effects, for instance green technology and the use of electric cars is gaining grounds in Denmark and Europe as a whole as ways of reducing climate change negative impacts.

 The question is what is gaining grounds in Africa? Nothing am aware of, or perhaps it's still in the making, but are we waiting for the worst to happen before we find the solutions? The individual African whose entire livelihood is dependent on our natural resources has no options than to face the severe damages from climate effects in the form of severe draughts, floods, high temperatures, influx of pest and disease among others. The voice of global actors (eg Danish Minister for Climate) for speedy actions must be seen as a wake up call of all Africans politicians especially the youth to look critically into this issue and get motivated to change this course.
By Kenneth Nana Amoateng,
Chief Executive Officer
Abibimman Foundation

Climate Change and its impact on food security

In terms of climate change and its impact on food security, what are some of the issues that youth are drawing attention to?

a.    The need for capacity building into alternative mechanisms to ensuring food security
b.    Availability of incentives to motivate more youth into good agricultural practices.
c.    The fear of famine or scarcity of food      

Agriculture in Africa is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change as food production is highly dependent on rainfall. There have been a number of crop failures due to extreme droughts and untimely rainfall. In many instances flooding from prolonged rainfalls has resulted in the washing away of farmlands. In the northern part of Africa, Extreme temperatures have negatively affected animal and crop production leading to extreme faming and poverty.

By Kenneth Nana Amoateng,
Chief Executive Officer
Abibimman Foundation

Ghana and African youth impacted by climate change

How are African and Ghana youth impacted by climate change? Does climate change exacerbate gender inequalities? 

African Youth are impacted by climate change in diverse ways and this has indirectly resulted in increased illegal migration among the youth and increasing school dropout especially among the girls. Farming is known to employ over 60% of the African population with the youth forming an appreciable portion of this percentage. Increasing temperatures has impacted negatively on both crop and animal production. The youth in arid and semi arid areas in Africa have to walk long distance with the cattle in search of grass and water. Unpredictable rainfalls in recent days have caused many youth to give up farming as a source their livelihood. Many youth who engaged in farming as a viable carrier option in the northern part of Africa have now migrated to the south in search of inexistence greener pastures.  Unlike the male, the traditional role of the African woman which includes walking long distance to fetch water for domestic use and staying at home to take care of the old age and younger siblings make them more venerable to the impact of Climate change. In many traditional homes in Africa, the little resources             available would be spent in the education of the male child as it is believed that the male is more intelligent and is expected to take care of the family in the future. This in a way exacerbates the gender inequality.

Africa has been identified as one of the continents or regions to be affected adversely by climate change and if youth represent the future generation, then they are more prone to the consequences of the climate change effect. Most African youth especially in the sub-Sahara region are engaged in agriculture practices as a source of livelihood. With climate change affect food production due to adverse or severe weather conditions, youth in agriculture are sooner than later likely to be victimized and may end up been unemployed.

One of the key effects of climate change is the occurrence acute drought. Women are noted for providing for water and food at home. There are situations where women have to travel long distances in search of safe drinking water. As drought increases, it will placed women at a 
more disadvantaged position thus exacerbating the already existing inequalities. 
By Kenneth Nana Amoateng,
Chief Executive Officer
Abibimman Foundation

Post 2015 Local Consultations Hearings in Ghana

1.      Introduction
At the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000 in New York, 189 world leaders gathered to adopt what has now become the millennium declaration. The declaration which was among other things to spare no effort to free fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected to. They also committed themselves to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want. The declaration which was endorsed by the various heads-of-states was then translated into a roadmap setting out goals and targets to be reached by 2015

It’s already 2012 and the 2015 deadline for the achievements of the 8-bound Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is fast approaching. Most countries, including Ghana have made some appreciable progress on some of the goals while others are unlikely to be achieved.

In an effort to achieve the MDGs, government developed the Medium Term Development Framework I and II to provide the blue print for accelerating economic growth and meeting the MDGs. This framework was subsequently backed with the quest for good governance, sustainable peace, accountability and transparency to fast-track progress on the MDGs. Policies such as the Free Maternal Health Care, Capitation Grant, 

National Youth Employment Programme and School Feeding Programme were also initiated to scale up efforts at achieving the goals. These efforts by government have contributed largely to Ghana’s appreciable progress on goals 1, 2 and 6. 

Despite these strides, it’s obvious that Ghana cannot achieve most of the goals before the 2015 deadline, hence the need to develop a post 2015 framework that is participatory, holistic and reflects the needs and aspirations of citizens, especially the physically challenged, children, youth, women and the poor.

2.      Goal
To facilitate the development of an All Inclusive Post 2015 Agenda by citizens, especially those at the local level for Ghana to reflect the needs and aspirations of citizens to drive socio-economic development across the country.
3.      Specific Objectives
a)      To create a platform for the poor and vulnerable in the local communities to determine the post 2015 Agenda
b)      To develop a post 2015 documentary that reflects citizens’ needs and aspirations.
c)      To engage key stakeholders [UNDP, government and civil society] for further discussions to aid the development of a Ghana Post 2015 Agenda.

4.      Activities
10 Consultations will be held in local communities across the country and a field study (case studies and audio-visual documentation (photos, video recordings)) will be undertaken. There will be 3 in the Central Region, 3 in the Greater Accra Region, 2 in Ashanti Region and 2 in the Upper East Region. In addition to that, there will be a documentary of citizen’s views of what the post 2015 Agenda should be. Other relevant institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and some selected Civil Society Organisations will also be spoken to in developing the documentary. However, the concentration will be on the poor and vulnerable in society.

Celebration Of International Women's Day On The Theme “Women And Men United To End Violence Against Women And Girls”

Today, we join millions of people across the globe to mark the International Women's Day. This is because women play a very important role in our society and country. In fact, they are the bedrock of socio-economic development. In view of that, we must always strive to promote their livelihoods. Therefore, we want use today to remind our leaders that women and girls still face so many obstacles: violence, discrimination, traditions and a host of others that undermines their livelihoods. Poverty is the worst form of violence that confronts women. Poverty leads to disempowerment, which makes women more vulnerable to violence and less able to respond. Poverty is day-to-day violence, no less destructive than war. Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking than violence against women and girls.” The loss of biodiversity and climate change for example, causes communities to lose the ability to access their food, medicinal plants, their culture resources and recreational activities, thereby affecting their health and housing. This loss is felt disproportionately by women and girls, forcing them into the harshness of poverty. On this day, we remind our leaders to take concrete efforts to stop discrimination against women and empower them in decision making processes by giving them very important roles to play in the area of governance. We also wish to remind our leaders to ensure that no woman dies during child birth. We must take the necessary measures to secure the health of everyone to ensure that we completely eradicate maternal mortality. We also entreat the men to make a pledge not to discriminate or take any action of violence against any woman, but support them in fulfilling their life purpose. We, at Abibimman Foundation, AYICC –Ghana, GCAP-Ghana and IDAY-Ghana believe in women and their valuable role to our national development, hence, we will continue to work with them in advancing their livelihoods. We wish all women a happy International Women's Day. Kenneth Nana Amoateng Chief Executive Officer Abibiman Foundation - Tel +233-303-213918, Mob:+233244023651