links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter


 
Tanzania:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 20th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press, The Investigative Journalist at the UN, reports that The Staff Union has complained that the selection of the new UN Ombudsman announced late last week, Johnston Barkat, from the US, was based on a “beefed up” resume. They say he claimed to have been ombudsman for 2000 staffers at Pace University in New York, and that school only has some 300 staffers. All of the rest are “part-time or adjuncts,” so they say the use of the number is misleading.

Then amazing the Spokesperson on Wednesday said the letter of protest from the UN Staff Union was not received by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Matthew has on his website a copy of the letter and it was sent to the Deputy UN Secretary General, Ms. Migiro, from Tanzania, who was appointed by the UNSG to deal with the appointment of the new UN Ombudsman.

We posted on www.SustainabiliTank.info on that appointment on March 15, 2008:  www.sustainabilitank.info/2008/03…

Because of the importance of the issues – I will actually copy above posting right here:

Johnston Barkat of the United States becomes the new Ombudsman at the UN.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 15th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at SustainabiliTank.com)

Johnston Barkat of the United States becomes the new UN Ombudsman at the level of Assistant Secretary-General, with responsibility for the UN Secretariat as well as its many funds and programmes. In that post, he functions independently of any UN organ or official and has direct access to the Secretary-General as needed.

Barkat was an ombudsman at Pace University and an instructor of conflict resolution and mediation at Columbia University’s International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution.

Will he be given indeed more powers then the previous appointees for the UN ombudsman job?

They say he will serve the Secretariat and the agencies – will he be approachable by someone who is not a UN employee?

Is it really of value that the post has now a higher standing – will this post also yield results?

—————–

Now let me say that I was amazed – in the last few days there were some 50 direct hits of readers to that particular article – and we wondered why?

————————–

There are several serious issues here:

(1) as Matthew asks – “DSG Migiro and SG Ban, do letters pass from one to the other?”

(2) is UN Spokesperson Michele Montas not responsible for the DSG as she is responsible for what is said by the UNSG?

(3) and this is our most important question. Here we have some doubts about the UN Staff Union and not just about the UN High Management.

The issue is, and we say this from our own experience, the Office of an Ombudsman that safeguards only the interests of paid members of the UN staff is nice to have – but that is really only half of the story – in effect this is the lesser half when one thinks about the function of an Ombudsman in a democracy. Though, following the Heritage Foundation Panel of Monday March 17, 2008 – we clearly think that this is nevertheless a very important part of the ethics of an organization like the UN – perhaps the only way to safeguard the future of “whistleblowers” – the people that bring a modicum of verity to an organization that is plagued by its claim to Sovereignty that can cover up literally cases of murder, robbery and plain honey-from-the-pot servings.

 www.sustainabilitank.info/2008/03…

You see, in a place like Pace University, the Ombudsman does not just deal with tenure issues that a disgruntled Professor brings up against the School Management. His business comes from the business of the undergraduates who are not on the University payroll at all, and from those the UN Staff Union letter defined as “part-time or adjuncts” who are not yet gilded owners of a University Union Card. The role of an Ombudsman in a democracy is to have his door open to those folks – the real “downtrodden” in the normal functioning of the institution.

Think for a moment. At the UN, a journalist is mistreated by a mid-level UN employee, under the previous anemic ombuds-lady – she simply said: “THIS OFFICE IS FOR UN EMPLOYEES – NOT FOR JOURNALIST,” and that was it.
That UN staffer could do absolutely anything he wanted to the outsider – the journalist – with complete impunity from any court of justice – inside the UN or outside the UN.

That is why I wrote in the previous article: “Will he be given indeed more powers then the previous appointees for the UN ombudsman job? They say he will serve the Secretariat and the agencies – will he be approachable by someone who is not a UN employee? Is it really of value that the post has now a higher standing – will this post also yield results?”



Now it seems the UN Staff Union brought up an argument that may show they would not want to see him expand his domain. We believe that a person with his background will actually try to expand that domain by listening also to these outsiders. I hope that Matthew Russell Lee can also look into this angle of the Staff Union Claims:

(a) it is in his personal interest in seeing the UN opens up by becoming more hospitable to non-salaried insider folks;

(b) in the name of a better handle of what goes on at the UN – a more open internal justice system could also help decrease corruption in the UN system;

(c) the introduction of a new modicum of democracy to an institution that has a great part of its staff originates from-states that have barely heard of the democracy concept.

==============================================================================================

14 March 2008

unlogo_blue_sml_en.jpg

Secretary-General
SG/A/1126
BIO/3971

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Biographical Note

SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS JOHNSTON BARKAT OF UNITED STATES

AS UNITED NATIONS OMBUDSMAN

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Johnston Barkat of the United States as the new United Nations Ombudsman, at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.   As Ombudsman, he will function independently of any United Nations organ or official, with direct access to the Secretary-General as needed.

A strengthened Ombudsman’s Office is one of the key elements of the new system of administration of justice at the United Nations, which was approved by the General Assembly last year.

Mr. Barkat will head a single, integrated and decentralized Ombudsman’s Office that will serve both the Secretariat and funds and programmes.   It will include regional branches in several other United Nations duty stations and a new Mediation Division.   As Ombudsman, Mr. Barkat and his team will facilitate informal resolution of conflict and mediation for issues involving United Nations staff around the world.   In addition to those responsibilities, the new Ombudsman will help to identify systemic problems and propose recommendations to improve policies and procedures to help the United Nations meet its goals more efficiently and effectively.

In selecting the new Ombudsman, the Secretary-General decided to draw upon the process that had been recommended by the Redesign Panel on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations.   As a result, the selection committee included a representative of the staff and two external experts, one chosen by the staff.   This procedure was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly in December 2007.

An expert in conflict resolution, Mr. Barkat has served as an Ombudsman at Pace University and as an instructor of conflict resolution and mediation at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University.   He has worked as a mediator using alternative dispute resolution in New York State courts and has served on the board of the Westchester Mediation Center.   He has served as chair of the Ombudsman committees for both the American Bar Association and the Association for Conflict Resolution.

He is past president of the International Ombudsman Association and subsequently has served as chair of its International Committee.   Mr. Barkat was also an instructor of business management for Nyack College and the Lubin Graduate School of Business.   He is a senior fellow with the Institute for Collaborative Engagement, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.   Mr. Barkat has also worked with the United Nations as a negotiations instructor, as a consultant on ombudsman programmes, and adviser on reforms to the Administration of Justice.

He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University, where his research explored strategies to create negotiation ripeness in seemingly intractable conflicts, an Master of Public Administration in government from Pace University, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from The King’s College.

* *** *

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 19th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Message from Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Environment
Programme (UNEP) Executive Director on the Occasion of World Water Day 2008.

March 19, 2008.

At a prison on the east coast of Africa, inmates are pioneering a
sanitation project that is working with nature to neutralize human wastes.

The initiative, involving the development of a wetland to purify sewage, is
expected to cost a fraction of the price of high-tech treatments, while
also triggering scores of environmental, economic and social benefits.

Apart from wastewater management, the project is to assess using the
wetland-filtered water for irrigation and fish farming, giving prisoners a
new source of protein or selling to local markets and developing
alternative livelihoods.

Part of the so-called “black wastewater” with high concentrations of human
waste will also be used for the production of biogas.

The biogas can be used as a fuel for cooking, heating and lighting, thereby
cutting electricity bills, saving the prison service money and cutting
emissions from the 4,000-strong jail, including staff and inmates, to the
atmosphere.

News of the project, financed by the Government of Norway and the Global
Environment Facility (GEF), with support from a wide range of partners
including Kenya’s Coast Development Authority and National Environment
Management Authority supported by the University of Dar es Salaam in
Tanzania and the University of Wageningen, the Free University of Amsterdam
and the NGO “Aqua-4-All” in the Netherlands, comes as the globe marks World
Water Day 2008 in the UN International Year of Sanitation.

The Day and the Year are aimed at raising awareness and galvanizing action
to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. These include
halving the proportion of people with no access to sanitation from the
current 40 per cent of the global population or an estimated 2.6 billion
people.

Sewage pollution, a great deal of which ends up in coastal waters, is
estimated to cause four million lost “man-years” annually in terms of human
ill-health—equal to an economic loss of $16 billion a year.

In many developed countries, part of the answer over the past half century
has been found in ever more sophisticated, multi-million dollar water
treatment works.

But as the new project at the Shimo la Tewa jail in the Kenyan coastal city
of Mombasa highlights, there are other, less costly ways of addressing the
same problem with important spin-offs.

The sewerage collection and wetland purification system, plus labour and
construction costs and including upgrading of sanitary facilities inside
the prison, amount to some $110,000 or $25 per person served—something of a
bargain.

These do not include benefits likely to accrue as a result of diminished
economic costs to the wider environment—reductions of solids that can
choke coral reefs and nutrients that can increase risk of de-oxygenated
“dead zones”, alongside cuts in bacterial pollution that can contaminate
shellfish and ruin someone’s holiday in a locale where tourism income is
important to the local economy.

Meanwhile, the project is likely to have benefits for wildlife including
birds and marine organisms.

Thus, in its own modest way, it can play a part in assisting to achieve the
global target of reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010.

The scheme is among a raft of projects being undertaken under the
“Addressing Land-Based activities in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO-LaB)”
initiative which forms part of the UNEP-brokered Nairobi Convention —a
regional seas agreement.

It is hoped the lessons learnt can be applied to other parts of the world
so that the multiple challenges of sanitation and pollution can, in part,
be viewed through a nature-based lens.

The project is, among others, also working with the coastal Ndlame
communities in Port Alfred, South Africa, using ponds of natural algae to
treat wastewaters including sewage.

The algae, a freshwater or marine organism, assist in de-toxifying the
pollutants and is then harvested as a commercial fertilizer and
protein-rich animal feed.

The total project cost here is around $188,000 with economic benefits from
utilizing treated wastewater and fertilizer production offsetting the price
by $50,000 a year.

Similar creative and nature-based projects are being pioneered on Pemba
Island, Tanzania and in Dar es Salaam.

The sustainability challenges of the 21st century, including those that
relate to water and sanitation, demand more intelligent and creative
solutions than perhaps have been deployed in the past.

Working with nature rather than against it is part of that intelligent
decision-making that may prove a faster, more cost effective and more
economically attractive way of achieving local and international health and
poverty goals.

***********************************
Jim Sniffen
Information Officer
UN Environment Programme, New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210
 info at nyo.unep.org
 www.nyo.unep.org
*********************************

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 10th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

And we were told that the Africa trip was about African AIDS and US AID. Now THE WEEK tells us how really others thought about that trip. It was about African Oil and US Military Strategy to take possession of that oil.

Had the US wanted to do something for a sustainable development of Africa – African Jobs could have been created by helping them become independent of oil in their National development programs. After all, drilling for, and producing oil for export, has the side effect that it destroys the fabric of African Society and the environment that has allowed for communities in such places as the Niger delta. The effect of oil production was the enriching of a few, and the destruction seen by the great majority of those that live in the producing regions. China’s road building, by its military engineers, to facilitate access to the oil, and in order to open the way for exports of cheap Chinese goods, is something that will be going on, and the US simply cannot induce the African Governments to do without it. Neither will AFRICOM be able to fight this economic intrusion managed by the Chinese military.

africa-oil003.gif

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 6th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Monday, Jan. 7, 2008

Hope and betrayal in Kenya.

By GWYNNE DYER as picked up on The Japan Times.

LONDON — More than two years ago, when Kenya’s current opposition leader, Raila Odinga, quit President Mwai Kibaki’s government, I (that is Gwynne Dwyer) wrote the following: “The trick will be to get Kibaki out without triggering a wave of violence that would do the country grave and permanent damage. . . . Bad times are coming to Kenya.”

The bad times have arrived, but the violence that has swept Kenya since the stolen election Dec. 27 is not just African “tribalism.” Kikuyus have been the main target of popular wrath and non-Kikuyu protesters have been the principal victims of the security forces, but this confrontation is about trust betrayed, hopes dashed, and patience strained to the breaking point.

Nobody wants a civil war in Kenya, but it’s easy to see why Raila Odinga rejects calls from abroad to accept the figures for the national vote that were announced last Dec. 30. If Odinga enters a “government of national unity” under Kibaki, as the African Union and the United States want, then he’s back in the untenable situation that he was in until 2005, and Kibaki will run Kenya for another five years.

If Odinga leaves it to Kenya’s courts to settle, the result will be the same: There have been no verdicts yet on disputed results that went to the courts after the 2002 election. So when the opposition leader was asked by the BBC if he would urge his supporters to calm down, he replied: “I refuse to be asked to give the Kenyan people an anesthetic so that they can be raped.”

Despite the ugly scenes of recent days, Kenya is not an ethnic tinderbox where people automatically back their own tribe and hate everyone else. For example, it is clear that more than half the people who voted Mwai Kibaki into the presidency in the 2002 election were not of his own Kikuyu tribe, because the Kikuyu, although they are the biggest tribe, only account for 22 percent of the population.

Kibaki’s appeal was the promise of honest government after 24 years of oppressive rule, rigged elections and massive corruption under the former president, Daniel arap Moi. If he had been just another thug in a suit, most Kenyans would have put up with Kibaki’s subsequent behavior in the same old cynical way, but his victory was seen as the dawn of a new Kenya where the bad old ways no longer reigned. It is his abuse of their high hopes that makes the current situation so emotional.

By 2005, Kibaki’s dependence on an inner circle of fellow Kikuyu politicians was almost total and the corruption was almost as bad as it had been under Moi.

British ambassador Sir Edward Clay accused Kibaki’s ministers of arrogance and greed that led them to “eat like gluttons” and “vomit on the shoes” of foreign donors and the Kenyan people. The biggest foreign donors, the U.S., Britain and Germany, suspended their aid to the country in protest against the corruption.

Most of the leading reformers quit Kibaki’s government in 2005, and in the weeks before last month’s election their main political vehicle, the Orange Democratic Movement, had a clear lead in the polls. That lead was confirmed in the parliamentary vote Dec. 27, which saw half of Kibaki’s Cabinet ministers lose their seats and give the opposition a clear majority in Parliament.

The presidential vote was another matter. Raila Odinga won an easy majority in six of Kenya’s eight provinces, but in Central, the Kikuyu heartland, the results were withheld until long after the vote had been announced for more remote regions. Observers were banned from the counting stations in Central and the central tallying room in Nairobi, and on Dec. 30 Samuel Kivuitu, the chairman of the electoral commission, declared that Kibaki had won the national vote by just 232,000 votes in a nation of 34 million.

It stank to high heaven. Ridiculously high turnouts were claimed for polling stations in Central — larger than the total of eligible voters, in some cases — and 97.3 percent of the votes there allegedly went to Kibaki. It was an operation designed to return Kibaki to office while preserving a facade of democratic credibility, but no foreign government except the U.S. congratulated Kibaki on his “victory” — not even African ones — and local people were not fooled.

Within two days Samuel Kivuitu retracted his declaration of a Kibaki victory, saying the electoral commission had come under unbearable pressure from the government: “I do not know who won the election. . . . We are culprits as a commission. We have to leave it to an independent group to investigate what actually went wrong.”

But Kibaki is digging in, and innocent Kikuyus — many of whom did NOT vote for Kibaki, despite the announced results — are being attacked by furious people from other tribes.

Meanwhile, the police and army obey Kibaki’s orders and attack non-Kikuyu protesters. It is not Odinga who needs to accept the “result” in order to save Kenya from calamity; it is Kibaki who needs to step down.

He probably won’t, in which case violence may claim yet another African country. But don’t blame it on mere “tribalism.” Kenyans are not fools, and they know they have been betrayed.

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based journalist.

———————

The Way The UN Reported on the Kenya Event in Its Official Daily News:

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
4 January, 2008 =========================================================================

250,000 KENYANS DISPLACED BY POST-ELECTORAL VIOLENCE, UN ESTIMATES.

Some 250,000 Kenyans are now estimated to have been displaced by post-electoral violence, United Nations humanitarian officials reported today, as the world body’s independent human rights experts voiced deep concern at the ethnic dimension of the conflict.

Overall, between 400,000 and 500,000 people have been affected by the conflict.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone today with both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, and called on them to resolve their issues through dialogue. The violence, which has reportedly claimed more than 300 lives, erupted after Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner of last week’s poll. Mr. Ban also spoke with Ghanaian President John Kufuor, current chairman of the African Union.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that virtually all movement of food for both western Kenya and the entire region, including Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was frozen for days due to the insecurity.

The 14 human rights experts, covering issues ranging from racism to sexual violence to freedom of belief, deplored the growing inter-ethnic conflict, citing the deaths of dozens of civilians, including children and women, after a mob set fire to a church where they had taken sanctuary.

“We are profoundly alarmed by the reports of incitement to racial hatred and the growing frictions between the different ethnic groups,” they said in a statement calling on the authorities, political, ethnic and religious leaders to put an end “to what may become the dynamics of inter-ethnic killings… in the light of historical precedents in the region.”

Rwanda, to the west of Kenya, was the scene of genocide in 1994, when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis has also killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past four decades in Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbour.

In a litany of “great concern,” the experts said the massive displacement, especially in the Rift Valley, threatened the right to food, health, housing and education. They also cited reports of gang rapes and the attendant likelihood of HIV infection and reported curbs on free expression, in particular a ban on live coverage of events.

“While we recognize the prerogative and duty of the Kenyan authorities to maintain public order, we are, however, alarmed by reported instances of use of excessive force by Kenyan security forces against demonstrators and other civilians,” they added.

“We urge the incumbent Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps and measures to bring an end to the present situation, including by addressing appropriately questions raised with regard to the latest election results. We also call upon the leaders of political parties to show restraint and control over their followers and supporters.”

WFP will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for 100,000 people displaced in the Northern Rift Valley, but it said: “The biggest problem is the difficulty for trucks carrying WFP food to reach areas in western Kenya.”

Some 200 trucks were loaded with WFP food in the Kenyan port of Mombasa from a ship that arrived over Christmas carrying 30,000 metric tons – enough to feed 1.5 million people for a month – for Uganda, southern Sudan, Somalia and the eastern DRC. The food for Somalia will be sent by sea, but the rest has to go by land, WFP said.

Some trucks left Mombasa but then were stranded due to insecurity on main roads and checkpoints set up by vigilantes in western Kenya. Fifteen trucks are stranded in or near Nairobi, 60 in Mombasa and others in Eldoret, near the site of the church massacre. Each truck carries 34 tons of food. “WFP is holding urgent talks to resolve this issue and get food to those who need it in Kenya and elsewhere,” the agency said.

Kenyan security forces recently escorted 20 WFP trucks carrying food for north-western Kenya, southern Sudan, Uganda and the DRC, but the insecurity and roadblocks are still hampering humanitarian access.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is trying to establish so-called “safe spaces” for displaced mothers and children, provide water and sanitation to over 100,000 people, and distribute family kits to supply up to 100,000 people with blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, soap and jerry cans.

_______________

The Dwyer article just validates our previous posting on the Kenya and of the UN problems.

Kenya will not be helped from the outside as long as the UN does not recognize the fact that the Head of State they deal with – Kenya’s President is the culprit. People will get killed because of this UN lack of honesty. Saying that this is like Rwanda, as we already wrote, is simply dodging the reality that Kibaki must be told he has to go – like Musharraf must be told he has to go. The UN was never able to take such positions and to make such statements – so it will be unfair to claim that it is because of the Libyan Presidency of the Security Council. Will Mr. Ban Ki-moon take steps in private that can be helpful, or his private contacts are no different from those stated words.

Time will tell – but according to other news we picked up in the media, the Western town of Kisumu, a town of 500,000, third largest in Kenya, is being ravaged. This is a town where the main Street is called after Mr Odinga’s father – Oginga Odinga – and people here got furious when they realized that the election was stolen by the President.

In effect the platform of Raila   Odinga’s “Orange Democratic Movement” is nothing else then a revival of the party that won the 2002 elections for Mr. Kibaki – only to see that once elected he forgot its multi-tribal composition that was intended to create a Kenyan National image, and for all practical purpose turned the country over to his Kikuyu tribe.

Odinga, and others, left the government in 2005 and prepared for the new elections in 2007. They thought they won on the basis of returns from all regions except the Central region where the Kikuyus live. Kibaki delayed the release of the votes from that region, and furtively swore himself in for another 5 years. Hell broke lose, and most probably now, besides having to get Mr. Kibaki to let in foreign observers to supervise new elections, it will also be needed to write a new Constitution that gives more power to the tribes and the regions – this in order to answer some of the needs created by the last 5 years of Kibaki’s rule in Kenya. Kenya attempted to become a real State that was going to be above tribalism, but the Kikuyus destroyed this by the attempt to rule alone – think of the Sunnis in Iraq! This sort of behavior does not succeed when you are an absolute minority, and now there will have to be made an attempt to go back to some sort of Federal System that can take away the thorns that Kibaki will leave behind.

And the UN? As long as the UN presence continues in Nairobi, there will be the need for the UN to voice suggestions for a   positive approach to move the country from the present rot. Actually, December 2006 people at the UN in Nairobi saw things coming – so why was no attempt made to Show Kibaki that he is mounting a hill of problems by giving all to just those that belong to his tribe, the main tribe that resides in the area of the Capital. The UN could have informed him that similar situations caused disaster in other post-colonial States in Africa. The US sent to Kenya Ms. Jendayi E. Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, that will have to bring the two contenders for leadership into the same room and have them negotiate a settlement. To shuttle between them will just prolong the killings. It is important to realize that the problem is still political, and yet not really a full blown ethnic conflict and it better be tackled before it gets worse.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Looking at the following cut-out we see that the Kikuyu, who are only about 22% of Kenya’s population, live mainly in Nairobi, and in a rather small part of Kenya located in the Central area west of Nairobi.
The remaining parts of the Central area   are occupied by a mix of tribes with the further out West part occupied by the main opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Luo. In between we see the large region of the Rift Valley with a Kalenjin majority – and that is the tribe of Kenya’s previous strongman – President   Daniel arap Moi, whose dislogement after years of corruption, is major part of Kenya’s independence history. All that part of rural and small town Kenya, including the town of Kisumu, up to the corner of borders with Uganda and Tanzania at Lake Victoria are now basically Odinga territory. This is the area that was once occupied by Indian tea plantations that were expropriated at independence, and taken over by the Kenya Government. The area marked with the number 7 (mixed) on the map, close to the Tanzanian border, is occupied mainly by the Massai, their cattle herds, and game parks. This is usually a quiet area, but they were Freedom fighters against the British.

The North-West corner of Kenya, west in the Rift Valley, borders with South Sudan and Ethiopia, and is occupied by the same people as South Sudan, mainly Christian and animists – so there was always a chance of spillover of problems from those regions. But if one looks at the map, it is easy to see that all of the above takes only less then half of the Kenya territory. The larger part is actually Muslim – with better to do people on the coast, and basically Somali Muslims in the areas marked on the map two times with the number 4, or the Eastern and North-Eastern regions towards Somalia and the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, that is also inhabited basically by Somalis. It is just inconceivable that all of the Horn of Africa region is in turmoil, and that this North-Eastern corner of Kenya, and its rich South-Eastern Coastal Area, are spared and will not become part of the same game. In effect, when I was in Nairobi for COP 12 of the UNFCCC, December 2006, at a time of strong rains and murderous floods in the Somali part of Kenya, I was told by people from UNEP that the region there was dangerous because of the closeness to Somalia. There is no tourism in that part of Kenya. Also the Government of President Mwai Kibaki was not highly appreciated in those circles, troubles were already foreseen.

For a while Kenya was a prospering set-aside with its status of a UN Center, but once things start unraveling, it might be pulled in as next area, after Ethiopia, as a place of confrontation that may get on the fault line between Arabized Africa and Christian, more-or-less secular Africa. As a sign of the times, Israel’s El Al Airlines were not flying the last two years to Nairobi, and the only available connection in Sub-Sahara Africa was via Addis Ababa. This becomes specially interesting with Israel joining now the UN UNEP and Habitat Headquarters on the outskirts of Nairobi.

kenya001.gif

And the UN   Does What It Usually Does: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon communicates with the Member State Government and asks the President Kibaki, in diplomatic language, to be less violent to his own people. Then the whole UN affiliates’ mechanism start talking of aid to the refugees. But the reality is also that we heard from the Libyan Presidency of the Security Council that nothing more then the above will be discussed at his Council – the only UN body designed to show a tooth-rich stand.

In the meantime we learn from the new UN News Service that the situation looks like it did in Rwanda – “Rwanda, to the west of Kenya, was the scene of genocide in 1994, when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis has also killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past four decades in Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbour.”
In Kenya there are no Hutu and Tutsi’s, but – yes – it could evolve to a similar   high level of human disaster ending in plain genocide. Good comment, but why did the writer say “Rwanda, to the west of Kenya?” Actually Rwanda does not border with Kenya and though there are similar inter tribal problems that date before the British or the Belgians run those places, but were exacerbated by the colonial powers – then used by the new African governments to buttress their own positions – “favor some and exploit the rest.” Rwanda is on the other shore of Lake Victoria, but has no access to the Lake. That is because the British wanted to have the whole lake under their East Asia Colonial structure – s o now it is only Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania that share lake Victoria. Rwanda is not to the West of Kenya, but actually rather to the Southwest, after crossing via Tanzania. This is just a small comment to help the UN folks with their Geography.

Further, we have been to Lake Victoria, and without enlarging on what we said in the introduction, we will just say that the British and the Belgians had different goals for their colonies. That area of the Lake Victoria region was rather intended for the production of tea and the British brought in people from India to establish the plantations. There were here also British settlers and we could find some similarities here rather with Zimbabwe (to what the UN News Service could also have referred as “West of Kenya” – all right – Southwest).
Rwanda was run by the Belgians like Congo – that is for mining purpose. This was a much harsher destructive destiny and it showed in the results.

UN DAILY NEWS from the
UNITED NATIONS NEWS SERVICE
4 January, 2008 =========================================================================

250,000 KENYANS DISPLACED BY POST-ELECTORAL VIOLENCE, UN ESTIMATES

Some 250,000 Kenyans are now estimated to have been displaced by post-electoral violence, United Nations humanitarian officials reported today, as the world body’s independent human rights experts voiced deep concern at the ethnic dimension of the conflict.

Overall, between 400,000 and 500,000 people have been affected by the conflict.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone today with both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, and called on them to resolve their issues through dialogue. The violence, which has reportedly claimed more than 300 lives, erupted after Mr. Kibaki was declared the winner of last week’s poll. Mr. Ban also spoke with Ghanaian President John Kufuor, current chairman of the African Union.

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported that virtually all movement of food for both western Kenya and the entire region, including Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), was frozen for days due to the insecurity.

The 14 human rights experts, covering issues ranging from racism to sexual violence to freedom of belief, deplored the growing inter-ethnic conflict, citing the deaths of dozens of civilians, including children and women, after a mob set fire to a church where they had taken sanctuary.

“We are profoundly alarmed by the reports of incitement to racial hatred and the growing frictions between the different ethnic groups,” they said in a statement calling on the authorities, political, ethnic and religious leaders to put an end “to what may become the dynamics of inter-ethnic killings… in the light of historical precedents in the region.”

Rwanda, to the west of Kenya, was the scene of genocide in 1994, when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis has also killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past four decades in Burundi, Rwanda’s southern neighbour.

In a litany of “great concern,” the experts said the massive displacement, especially in the Rift Valley, threatened the right to food, health, housing and education. They also cited reports of gang rapes and the attendant likelihood of HIV infection and reported curbs on free expression, in particular a ban on live coverage of events.

“While we recognize the prerogative and duty of the Kenyan authorities to maintain public order, we are, however, alarmed by reported instances of use of excessive force by Kenyan security forces against demonstrators and other civilians,” they added.

“We urge the incumbent Kenyan authorities to take all necessary steps and measures to bring an end to the present situation, including by addressing appropriately questions raised with regard to the latest election results. We also call upon the leaders of political parties to show restraint and control over their followers and supporters.”

WFP will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for 100,000 people displaced in the Northern Rift Valley, but it said: “The biggest problem is the difficulty for trucks carrying WFP food to reach areas in western Kenya.”

Some 200 trucks were loaded with WFP food in the Kenyan port of Mombasa from a ship that arrived over Christmas carrying 30,000 metric tons – enough to feed 1.5 million people for a month – for Uganda, southern Sudan, Somalia and the eastern DRC. The food for Somalia will be sent by sea, but the rest has to go by land, WFP said.

Some trucks left Mombasa but then were stranded due to insecurity on main roads and checkpoints set up by vigilantes in western Kenya. Fifteen trucks are stranded in or near Nairobi, 60 in Mombasa and others in Eldoret, near the site of the church massacre. Each truck carries 34 tons of food. “WFP is holding urgent talks to resolve this issue and get food to those who need it in Kenya and elsewhere,” the agency said.

Kenyan security forces recently escorted 20 WFP trucks carrying food for north-western Kenya, southern Sudan, Uganda and the DRC, but the insecurity and roadblocks are still hampering humanitarian access.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is trying to establish so-called “safe spaces” for displaced mothers and children, provide water and sanitation to over 100,000 people, and distribute family kits to supply up to 100,000 people with blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, soap and jerry cans.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Commission on Sustainable Development Is It A Moribund UN Body Or Will It Be Revived Because It Is Needed After The Re-Engagement Hoopla That Happens Now At Bali?

Our Website was established in order to help create the awareness that there is no other development possible – not in the developing countries and not in the developed countries – that is not SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

We had experience starting from before the Brundtland Commission of 1987, we were engaged at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and we wrote the “Promptbook on Sustainable Development for The World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002. In short we are strong believers that if the UN CSD were not created in 1994, we would have had to create it now.

Why that? Simply, because as it is crystal clear now that the development of tomorrow cannot go on by rules of the development of yesterday – and this was given, right today, full global recognition in Oslo, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the scientists of the IPCC, and to Al Gore – whatever will come out from the Bali-Poznan-Copenhagen process will be clearly a final global landing on the runway that was built in Rio for Agenda 21. And as we keep saying – this will be a joint Sustainable Development for North and South, East and West. It will be a world were those that have the needed technologies will share them with those that are only trying out for their own National development. This will not be done because of altruism – it will be rather because of self interest that comes from the simple fact that we are all residents of planet earth, and we understand that we have caused the planet to be on a path of destruction that harms the continuation of life as nature or god created.

After UNCED, The UN created a Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development and Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Gali appointed Mr. Nitin Desai, at the Under-Secretary-General level to head the Department. 1994-1998 Joke Waller-Hunter from the Netherlands was the first Director of the Division for Sustainable Development and the head of the Commission on Sustainable Development – so the Commission itself dates back, for all practical purpose, to 1994 – even though it officially was started in 1992. In May 2007 we witnessed the CSD 15 (that is counting back to 1992!).

In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi, in an effort to reduce the number of UN Under-Secretary-Generals, consolidated three economic and social departments and created UN DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and eventually put Mr. Desai as head of DESA where he was until he was replaced in 2003 with Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, the former Finance Minister of Colombia; the new Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, brought in, July 2007, Mr. Sha Zukang, the previous China Ambassador in Geneva. In 1998 Ms. JoAnne DiSano, with a background of having worked for the Canadian Government, and then for 11 years with the Australian Government, became the Director of the new Division of Sustainable Development within DESA. She held this position until September of 2007 and since then the position is VACANT, and it looks as if the UN does not care.

Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter, left her position with the CSD in 1998 in order to become the Executive Secretary of the of Bonn based   UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where she remained untill her death in 2006. She was replaced there in 2007, by Mr. Yvo de Boer, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Yvo de Boer is also from the Netherlands, where he was Director for International Affairs of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. He was in the Past Vice-Chair of the Commision on SD and Vice-Chair of the COP of the UNFCCC. Both, the CSD and the UNFCCC are outcomes of the 1992 UNCED. Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter’s departure from New York may have had something to do with the 1997 UN reorganization that replaced the Department of SD with a Division of SD within DESA. She may have sensed that her presence at UNFCCC will further SD goals easier then   at the new Division of SD – that its creation caused in effect a demotion in her position.

The present vacancy at the nerve-center of the CSD, at a time the CSD is needed indeed, following the latest push at the UNFCCC, on matters of climate change, that causes our renewed interest in the UN CSD and in the UN Division that was established specifically in order to run the CSD. We are afraid that it will be difficult to see progress on the UN level, in matters of climate change, without a functioning office that deals with sustainable development.

Now to be honest, our interest is not just because of curiosity – but rather because of the worry that we understand very well the reasons for the slow demise of the CSD – the factors that got it to start on what may be a path to extinction.

At CSD 9 it was decided that the CSD will discuss specific topics in cycles of two years. So the first cycle was Water for CSD11-CSD12, the second cycle Energy for CSD14-CSD15, the third cycle Land Use for CSD16-CSD17.

So 2006-2007 was the Energy cycle, and as in UN fashion it was supposed to be the turn to have a chair from Asia, it was the Asians that suggested Qatar to chair the energy subject. Now Qatar is a producer of gas rather then oil.

Some said that though sustainable development must help put forward development methods that are less dependent on oil and coal, this for reasons of global warming and climate change, nevertheless, recognizing the role of natural gas as a cleaner fuel and a potential intermediary fuel from an oil and coal economy to an economy that is starting to be based on renewable sources of energy, Qatar could have been acceptable also as a political peace-maker between the interests of conventional industry and the incoming new industry based on renewbles. But to the consternation of those optimists, we could see that behind the representative of Qatar, at the CSD sessions, there was always sitting a representative from Saudi Arabia, and in the end there was no resulting negotiated text for what is probably one of the most important topics of Sustainable Development – Energy.

Above was nothing yet when compared with what happened in the last day of CSD 15. As always, there are elections for the next CSD membership – the membership is held at 53 countries elected according to a regional key – and then there is the election of the “bureau” and the new chair. The turn according to UN habit was that next chair will be from Africa, and as said, the topic for CSD16 in 2008, and for CSD17 in 2009, will be Land Use. The Africans decided to put forward Zimbabwe as their choice and campaigned with the G77 that this is their wish. The UK did not want any part of this, and specially since the land policies of the Mugabe Government have run Zimbabwe agriculture from being a large agricultural exporter to becoming a starving nation, with an economy that was totally destroyed, a monetary situation that shows astronomic inflation rate, and human rights problems that clearly make it ineligible for a UN leadership position, it is this obstinacy that reduced the CSD to plain irrelevancy. We were there that night of Friday May 11, 2007, in room 4 in the UN basement, and watched in disbelief how the distinguished, low-key German Ambassador, head in New York of the EU presidency, with the German Minister of the Environment next to him, simply told the CSD Chair from Qatar that the EU cannot work with this sort of CSD.

If by any way I exaggerate now, 7 months later, please forgive my memory, but see what I, Pincas Jawetz, Inner City Press journalist Matthew Rusell Lee, and the EUobserver from Brussels, wrote about this – the references on the www.SustainabiliTank.info web are:

– EUobserver on the 5/11 Crash of CSD15 (May 14th, 2007)

– A First Analysis: From The Ashes of the CSD, Will We See A Rising Phoenix? A Brundtland II, To be Called – “OUR COMMON GROUND” ? (May 13th, 2007)

– The UN General Assembly Resolution of September 30, 1974 against South Africa was not Premised On Apartheid’s Threat To Security, But On Its Serious Violation Of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. WHY DOES
SOUTH AFRICA OF 2007 BACK MUGABE’s ZIMBABWE SAYING HE DOES NOT THREATEN INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY? (May 13th, 2007)

– 9/11 and 3/11 Have Become Symbols of what Oil Money Can Cause To Those Who Insist On Buying The Oil, Will 5/11 Become The Symbol of Awakening at the UN? This Because Of May 11, 2007 Late Evening Happenings At
The So Called UN Commission On Sustainable Development? (May 12th, 2007)

– At the UN, Zimbabwe Elected 26-21 to Sustainable Development Chair for CSD16, As EU and Others Reject Final Text of The Chairman from Qatar of CSD15. (May 12th, 2007)

I took then the 5/11 date and in ways of exaggeration tried to compare this with 9/11 in New York and 3/11 in Madrid. Was it really an exaggeration? Could we say that the backing Zimbabwe got from States with unresolved problems from colonial days, and oil states that think, completely wrong, that they have anything to gain from derailing the concept of sustainable development, sustainable energy, global warming, climate change…, from efforts to improve the life of billions of people?

Further, the UN recognizes three groups of States with greater needs – these are the Least Developed States (LDCs), the Small Island Independent States (SIDS), and the Landlocked States. These are the States within the UN system that are most in need of help via sustainable development. Why did the UN take them out from being under the Under-Secretary-General who heads DESA, and put them under a separate Under-Secretary-General? Does this not cause waste and decreased efficiency? Would they not be served better within a well functioning unified economic organization that takes, for instance, in account the interests of Island States when it comes to the subject of the effects of global warming/climate change?

Now, I was not going to allow myself to lose my hope for a functioning CSD. The articles I refer to above are actually articles of hope – that is I hope that from the ashes the CSD will rise, as a Phoenix, under the leadership of Brundtland II.

Does this look likely? I submit it is imperative, and by the end of this week, whatever wind will be blowing from Bali, people will see that it does not go without sustainable development. So why do the Africans not get together and try to rein in Mr. Mugabe? Again, just this week, the EU invited all Heads of State of Africa to Lisbon for discussions on trade that were needed in order to help restart the Doha trade round. The Europeans were ready to put aside the dispute with Mugabe, and he was also invited – then why did he have to show physically his raised fist? Is this the end of an EU-Africa relation? Clearly not. It was just a new beginning showing that rational people can try to restart negotiations even in the presence of a street-bully. And that brings me back to the UN DC-2 building – that is where one finds the CSD Secretariat.

CSD 16 will happen one way or another in May 5-16, 2008. The full list of topics is: “The Review Session of The Third Implementation Cycle that Will Focus on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Desertification, and Africa.”

The CSD expects Germany to fund the bringing to New York of youth representatives from the developing countries. A main topic will be “Drought and Desertification and Africa” – this means effects of climate change that helped cause warfare in Africa. Will the world allow Africa to commit suicide through obstinacy, or is the world obliged to look into the mirror and say we cannot continue on this path? Mr. Baroso bit his lip and made an effort. We assume the EU will continue to try to find a way to keep the Commission in business, if at least the UN Secretariat helps reestablish a CSD Secretariat – and at the minimum there must be a functioning Director of the CSD Secretariat. That is the closing of the three month old vacancy that was created with the departure of Ms. JoAnne DiSano.

I understand that part of the nominating and election process involves the Commission itself. The present 53 members are:

African States: 12 besides Zimbabwe. They are – Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo/Kinshasa, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zambia.

Asian States: 11 – Bahrain, China, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand.

Eastern Europe: 6 – Belarus, Croatia, Czech Rep., Poland, Russia, Serbia.

Latin America and Caribbean: 10 – Antigua and Barbuda (the incoming head of G-77), Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Peru.

Western European and Others: 13 – Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, US.

By looking through this list I clearly see that Poland, the host of next year’s follow up meeting to Bali, motors of the UNFCCC track like Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, India, even China, Antigua, Korea,Tunisia, Congo/Kinshasa, Tanzania, Croatia will want to see a functioning CSD. What is needed is a low key peace maker with vision who comes from inside the UN system, and who has a history of having seen the difficulties when working with developing countries that seem to have memories from colonial days that they apply to new situations that really are of a totally different nature. Finding such a person would help, we hope, revive the CSD, so it could continue its functions and prepare for much larger importance when the UNFCCC track finally starts sputtering.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 16th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

In 1981 the UN held in Nairobi the UN Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy – the UNCRSE.
It came about because of the simple fact that while the OPEC induced crises of 1972-73 and 1979, hurt the pockets of the consumers in the industrialized countries, they were real killers to the African countries that just had started out on a development track – but now could not afford to import oil. So in 1980, there was a meeting in Lagos Nigeria, that was prior to the development of Nigeria’s oil resources, and at that meeting the Africans wanted indeed to start out on a renewable energy journey. But it was not to happen.

The UN held the 1981 Conference in Nairobi and in UN fashion a whole new program was established at UN headquarters. This program continued for many years and was closed only in the UN reorganization of 2005. During those years it produced really nothing except for much travel and the writing of many papers. In effect, while Africa was ripe for biofuels, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal – in short – for renewable energy, the subject was eventually highjacked by the OPEC countries, and when after 11 tears from the Lagos meeting, that started the moves for the creation of an African Energy Commission, the product of these efforts – AFREC – was established in Algiers and its main attention is the drilling for oil. To get a better picture of these developments = please read the following material that comes from AFREC’s site:

I – History and Objective of AFREC.

1- In 1980 African countries have realized the seriousness and the preoccupying situation of the African economy in general and the energy sector in particular. Consequently, the Extraordinary Economic Summit of AUO heads of states and government held in Lagos (Nigeria) in 1980 adopted the Lagos Plan of Action (L.P.A) which contains, among others, short, medium and long term actions aimed at solving the severe energy problems facing our continent.
For the adequate implementation of the recommendations of the LPA in energy sector, the Lagos Conference has perceived a urgent necessity to establish an appropriate institutional framework. In this connection, the creation of an African Energy Commission was specifically recommended.

The African Energy Commission would be a Continental African structure with a given responsibility to ensure, co-ordinate and harmonize the protection, preservation, development and the national exploitation, marketing and integration of the energy resources of the African continent.

Besides, the importance and the main role of energy and its important contribution to industrialization, poverty eradication and rural development, global and sustainable development, as well as co-operation and regional and sub-regional integration, are not to be proved anymore.

2- Following the relevant decision of the Lagos Summit Conference, the UNDP in collaboration with AUO and ECA has undertaken in 1984/85 a study which recommended the creation of the African Energy Commission in order to promote common initiatives likely to support decisively the efforts made to resolve the African Energetic Problems.

The recommendations of the AUO Summit Conference and Governments and the UNDP has not been immediately implemented. Subsequently, the African high authorities have reaffirmed and have pleaded for the creation, without any delay, of a strategic organization to deal with inter-African co-operation in the energetic field.

The following are among the most important recommendations :

  • The Treaty establishing the African Economic Community, (Abuja, June 1991);
  • The first Pan African Conference of Energy Ministers (Tunis, May 1995).
  • The Cairo Program of Action (June 1995).
  • The first and second regional conferences of Ministers responsible for the development and utilization of mineral and energy resources in Africa (Accra, 1995, Durban November 1997).
  • The African Energy Program of the African Development Bank (Abidjan 1995)

3- The 63rd Ordinary Session of the AUO Council of Ministers held in Addis Ababa February 1996 and the 2nd regional conference on the development of mines and energy (Durban 1997), have in turn earnestly requested AUO in collaboration with ADB, ECE and RECs to undertake and accelerate up the pre-feasibility studies related to the creation of the African Energy Commission, emphasizing the mandate, the structure and the financial resources of such structure.

The AUO has spared no effort in fulfilling this high and challenging responsibility.

4- The General Secretariat of the AUO implemented the pre-feasibility study after having thoroughly consulted its partners, the Regional Economic Communities, the African Development Bank, the World Energy Council, UPEDEA and other institutions dealing with Energy such as UNEP, UNDP, UNDESA, UNIDO, FAO and UNESCO.

5- Following the consultation of these institutions, the AUO organized an inter Agency meeting and adopted a report entitled “Proposal of the AUO general Secretariat on the Creation of the African Energy Commission”.

6- Following the implementation of the above work the AUO in close collaboration with the Egyptian Government, organized “The African Energy Experts Meeting” on the creation of the African Energy Commission, Cairo, 22 – 25 May, 2000.

This Expert meeting recommended the immediate creation of the African Energy Commission. It elaborated and adopted “the Draft Convention” of the African Energy commission.

7- After taking notes of the progress made in the establishment of the AFREC, the AUO Council of Ministers meeting in Tripoli in February 2001 has requested the AUO to organize a Conference of African Ministers Energy for the creation of AFREC.

8- Upon the invitation of the Algerian Government, the Conference of African Ministers of Energy on the creation of AFREC was held in Algiers on 23 – 24 April 2001 under the auspices of the AUO.

The Constitutive Conference of African Ministers of Energy held in Algiers adopted the following main recommendations to be submitted for ratification to the 37th AUO Summit Conference, Lusaka (Zambia) on 9-11 July, 2001:

  • The Convention of the AFREC is adopted.
  • The Headquarters of AFREC is established in Algiers (Algeria).
  • The AUO General Secretariat in close co-operation and consultation with Algeria will take the necessary measures to put in place and to recruit the required staff for the speedy establishment of the Commission.
  • The AUO General Secretariat will contribute partially to the annual budget of the interim structure of AFREC during the first four years.
  • The AUO Member States are also requested to give voluntary contribution to finance the functioning of AFREC.

9- The 37th summit Conference of AUO consequently ratified all the recommendations submitted by the conference of the African Ministers of Energy (Algiers 23rd -24th April, 2001) and adopted by them to that effect (Decision AHD/Dec 167 (XXXVII) concerning the creation of the African Energy Commission (AFREC)).

II. Functions of the African Energy Commission The AFREC will carry out the following main functions :
  • Elaborate Policies, Strategies and Development Energy plans based on sub-regional, regional and continental development priorities as well as identification of the means for their implementation;
  • Conception, elaboration and up-dating of continental data base in energy sector as well as promotion of rapid transfer and exchange of information between members states and regional economic communities. There is a need of putting in place an active information system for preservation, processing and spreading data on energy and related sectors;
  • Identification, elaboration and launching big inter-African energy projects of co-operation, promoting sub-regional, regional and continental integration. Concomitantly, mobilization of financial resources in order to provide the member states with the necessary assistance to develop and implement integrated energy projects;
  • Elaboration of policies, plans and projects of inter African co-operation in the field of human resources development, particularly through programs of staff training and education in the energy sector;
  • Establishment of a network of technical assistance between member states and promotion of partnerships between African countries in the energy sector, development of commercial, transit and exchanges of energy products and services between member states. In order to promote the inter-African trade of energy products. It is essential to encourage the use of technical standards, procedures and practices in the energy sector.
III. Initial Activities of the AFREC

The Following four main activities have been identified in order to establish the interim structure of AFREC:

  1. Establish an energy information system and African data base.
  2. Identify and promote inter-African energy projects of co-operation and elaboration of financial mechanisms for their implementation.
  3. Establish and promote programs of human resources development and training; strengthen the institutional and management capacities in the energy field.
  4. Elaborate Energy policies, strategies, development plans and programs in Africa on sub-regional, regional and continental level.
IV. Initial Structure of the AFREC

Considering the initial activities above mentioned, the following structure is necessary for the transition period of the AFREC :

  • Manager for the transit period;
  • Expert in Energy Information System and Energy Database;
  • Expert in planning and economic studies;
  • Expert in project appraisal and monitoring;
  • Administrative personnel.
V. Budget and Financing

The AHG/Dec 67 (XXXVII) decision, relative to the creation of the AFREC detailed below, provides financing and contribution to the operating budget of the interim structure:

  • The general secretariat of AUO has been requested to grant the operating budget of AFREC interim structure. The AUO Advisory Committee on administrative, budgetary and financial matters is requested to give AFREC financial contribution to annual budget during the first four years of operating;
  • The AUO member states are earnestly requested to give voluntarily contribution to AFREC interim structure;
  • Algeria has been thanked and congratulated for its accepted proposal to host the Headquarters of AFREC as well as its commitment to give it the necessary support in terms of offices, equipment, …etc.
  • The President of the African Development Bank is requested to cooperate closely with AFREC in order to transfer the African Energy program of ADB to AFREC and give her the necessary technical and financial support.
  • The International specialized Agencies and organizations of the United Nations system and other international Institution such as the World Energy Council (WEC) and UPEDEA are requested to provide technical, financial and material assistance to AFREC.

For that purpose, and right from the establishment of the interim structure, the manager for AFREC will prepare a working program and detailed projects and apply for extra budgetary resources.

Terms of reference of concrete and detailed projects will be elaborated in order to seek for technical and financial support from organization such as UNDP, UNDESA, ADB, UNEP, UNIDO, UNESCO, FAO, WEC, OPEC, OLADE …etc.

If needed AFREC will use services of external consultant.


VI. Other Important factors in AFREC Identity
  • The AFREC has to be an efficient, autonomous, and independent organization. In this respect, it will grow while benefiting the political support of AUO.
  • Considering globalization challenges, AFREC should defend the strategic energy interests of Africa.
  • While membership to AFREC is normally reserved to member states, it is considered that public and private energy entities have an important role to play and should therefore closely be associated with AFREC services.
VII. Conclusion

The AFREC was created by the 37th Summit Conference of AUO Heads of State and Government in Lusaka (Zambia) in July 2001.
It is the successful result of 2 decades of efforts to achieve a strategic objective aimed at making the energy development one of the driving factors of a global and sustainable development likely to strengthen the African Union and facilitate the entry of Africa in the world economy.

Africa has now filled an institutional lack by establishing an appropriate framework of co-operation to develop collectively its huge energy resources and defend its interests in such a strategic sector as energy.

Now, all the African countries are invited to show their will by transcending their national interests in order to build and consolidate AFREC.


Summary

History

1. Meeting of African Experts in energy on the creation of the African Energy Commission, in Cairo on 22-25 May 2000.

2. Adoption of the main recommendations of the AFREC during the Conference of African Ministers of Energy held on 23-24 April 2001, in Algiers.

3. Adoption by the 37th Summit Conference of the Heads of States and Governments of AUO in Lusaka (Zambia) of Decision AHD (Dec 167 (XXXVII)) on the Creation of the African Energy Commission (AFREC).

Main Functions of the AFREC

1. Policies, strategies and plans of Energy development.
2. Data bank and exchange of energy information between the African Countries and the RECs.
3. Big inter-African energy projects, which contribute to African integration.
4. Human Resources development, particularly by personnel training and education programs.
5. Promotion of inter-African trade of energy products.

Budget and Operation of the AFREC

Decision AHG/Dec 67 (XXXVII) on the creation of the AFREC:

1. A contribution of the AUO to the interim structure of AFREC budget during the first four years of operation;

2. Voluntary contributions of the AUO member states to the financing of the interim structure of AFREC;

3. Commitment of Algeria in the support of the interim structure of AFREC;

4. Technical and financial support from the ADB (Transfer energy data base to AFREC from ADB);

5.Technical and financial support from the specialized Agencies and organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations.

Remarks and comments :

1.The AFREC should be an autonomous and independent organization benefiting of political support of the AUO.

2.The AFREC should be able to defend and protect energy strategic interests of Africa in the world.

3.The energy public and private companies and entities have an important role to play and should be closely associated to AFREC functioning.

afrec.mem-algeria.orgAFREC

2 rue Chenoua, BP. 265 – Hydra – 16035 Algiers, Algeria

Tel: +213 (0) 21 694868 Fax: +213 (0) 21 692083

———————–

Above was just an introduction so we can understand the tremendous influence Brazil could have on the African continent when it comes to Brazil’s experience with biofuels.

Actually, there was a successful ethanol production program in Zimbabwe and in South Africa during the later part of the old white-dominated regime. These industries were a result of the fuel embargoes that were being implemented by the anti-apart-hide regimes. But when the dangers from political activities by foreign powers subsided, those independent industries shrank. But the historic experience made for attention to the newly found policy friends that said it is OK to move to biofuels.

It is Brazil’s initiative that pushed for having a seminar on Biofuels in Addis Ababa, July 30 – August 1, 2007. Brazil’s Counterparts were UNIDO and the African Union that has its Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The references to these meetings follow.

SEMINAR DISCUSSES SUSTAINABLE BIOFUEL DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA and comes up with very interesting conclusions:

Mohamedain Seif-Elnasr, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) , presented on COMESA programmes relating to biofuels and other renewable energy sources. He noted large-scale ethanol programmes in Malawi and Swaziland, and electricity production from biogas in Kenya. Outlining COMESA’s energy programme, he noted ongoing efforts to adopt a model energy framework for promoting biofuels and the development of guidelines for promoting investment in the renewable energy sector.

Nzola Mahungu, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), presented on the NEPAD Pan-African Cassava Initiative (PACI), established in 2004 to promote food security and income generation. He noted that PACI invests in cassava feedstock production, and stressed the objective of making cassava cultivation sustainable and competitive for ethanol production.

3unido-monga_s.jpg

3regional-elhag_s.jpg

Pradeep Monga, UNIDO, (first picture)outlined a UNIDO initiative to establish an inter-regional bioenergy network, noting it could play a catalytic role at the global level in information sharing, linking technology, trade, investment and environmental issues, and promoting international cooperation. He also noted that the network will initially focus on Africa, particularly on sharing industrial conversion technologies and information, and on addressing economic and sustainability issues.

Stressing the need for an institutional framework to oversee biofuel development on the continent, Hussein Elhag, African Energy Commission (AFREC) (second picture), presented the concept of an African biofuels center. He said the center could be established as a subsidiary body of AFREC to achieve sustainable energy security for Africa through the establishment of an integrated biofuels industry. He added that the center’s proposed vision is to create a pathway towards a “green” African alternative to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Now that may not be a very helpful idea. In effect the push at the meeting was for the much more logical supply of biofuels for local use  SustainabiliTank.info reaction to his statement).

31d1screen_s.jpg

31d1_s.jpg

Rex Brown, D1 Oils, Swaziland, presented on his company’s jatropha activities in Swaziland. He said that his company has signed an agreement with the Swaziland government and the NGO World Vision for providing alternative livelihoods to farmers through jatropha production. He elaborated on a number of activities, including developing superior jatropha varieties and training farming communities.

31india_s.jpg

Srinivasaiah Dasappa, Indian Institute of Science, shared his institute’s experience on using biomass as a source for generating electricity in India and noted its potential in the African context.

31reports-ethanol_s.jpg

Reporting on the session on ethanol technologies, Nogoye Thiam, ENDA (center), noted that the session recommended, inter alia: focusing on domestic energy demands over exports; meeting Africa’s needs in energy availability and rural development; and developing cogeneration plants. Presenting the biogas and biomass gasification session’s recommendations, Pradeep Monga, UNIDO (right), noted that participants identified the need for: an enabling policy environment; incentives for technology and knowledge transfer; training and capacity building; strengthened research and development; dedicated financial mechanisms; and information-sharing and dissemination of lessons learned and best practices.

31reports2_s.jpg

Yogesh Vyas, AfDB (left), presented the environmental sustainability session’s outcomes, noting consensus on the need for establishing a biofuel industry in Africa and developing policies and guidelines to ensure environmental sustainability and social equity. On biofuels certification, he emphasized learning from international certification schemes in the forestry and agricultural sectors, considering the implications of certification for small-scale farmers, and exercising African political leadership in international negotiations and regional harmonization. Rainer Janssen, WIP (right), reported on the biodiesel session’s outcomes, and presented the recommendations for a plan of action, including: developing regional and national strategies and policies and appropriate financing tools to contribute to economic development and improved living conditions; assessing social and environmental impacts; and establishing centers of excellence to disseminate information on crops, production methods and conversion technologies.

The IISD report from Addis Ababa by Lynn Wagner summarizes the meeting as follows:

The first High-level Biofuels Seminar in Africa, which met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from Monday, July 30 – Wednesday, August 1, 2007, has developed an Action Plan for Biofuels Development in Africa. The Action Plan was annexed to the Addis Ababa Declaration on Sustainable Biofuels Development in Africa, which calls for, inter alia: developing enabling policy and regulatory frameworks; participating in global sustainability discussions; formulating guiding principles on biofuels to enhance Africa’s competitiveness; and minimizing the risks of biofuels development for small-scale producers. It further calls for the engagement of development partners to enable North-South and South-South cooperation, urges the engagement of public financing institutions to support biofuels projects, and proposes the establishment of a forum to promote access to biofuels information and knowledge.

On Wednesday, August 1, 2007, participants to the first High-level Biofuels Seminar in Africa continued discussions on the African context for biofuel development. They also heard presentations by representatives of the regional economic communities, the Africa Energy Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and UNIDO, and reports from the parallel sessions on biofuel conversion technologies and cross-cutting issues held on Tuesday.

In the afternoon, African ministers and high-level representatives convened for a Ministerial Roundtable, which concluded with the adoption of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Sustainable Biofuels Development in Africa. The declaration calls for, inter alia , developing enabling policy and regulatory frameworks, participating in the global sustainability discussions, formulating guiding principles for biofuel development to enhance Africa’s competitiveness, and minimizing risks for small-scale producers. It further calls upon development partners to assist countries in keeping abreast of advances in the biofuels sector, and public financing institutions to support biofuels projects, and proposes the establishment of a forum to promote access to information and knowledge on biofuels. Finally, African ministers commit themselves to implementing the identified priority actions on biofuels and request the African Union Commission (AUC) to present the declaration to the upcoming ministerial conferences on biofuel-relevant sectors.

###