Tag Archive: Environment


IUU 2To what extent could the control of Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing curb food insecurity, promote global environmental governance and economic development?
On 25 September 2015, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) formally adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This agenda encapsulated a set of 17 new global goals that are universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world. The goals include: ending poverty in all its forms everywhere; ending hunger to achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture; promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, Seas and marine resources for sustainable development
To achieve these goals, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing averred that public finance and aid would be central to support their implementation; and also money generated from the private sector, through tax reforms, and through a crackdown on illicit financial flows and corruption. A major conference on financing of the SDGs, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in July 2015, failed to ease concerns over the lack of sufficient funds to meet the aspirational nature of the goals (the summit failed to produce new ways of acquiring finances to fund the goals or offer ways to transform the international finance system).
Could the control of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing help in achieving these goals? In many parts of the world, marine fisheries have been the desired source of protein and play a crucial role in maintaining food and economic security. With the speeding up of globalization process, the rapid population growth, increase in demand for fish, development of urban markets and introduction of new technologies, there is an expansion of fishing operations. The rapid growth and globalization of the fisheries sector has also transformed fishing patterns. Current trends in the production of global marine fisheries resources have presented an alarming concern for food security and sustainable development. For instance, some of the fishery resources that were previously regarded as inexhaustible have either been depleted or over exploited. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations states that, of the major marine fish stocks or species groups, 52% are fully exploited, 17% are over exploited, 25% are underexploited or moderately exploited, and the remaining 6% are becoming depleted.
The decline in global fisheries resources has been attributed to a number of interrelated factors; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Fish piracy continues to thrive worldwide despite national and international efforts. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which involves all types of fishing vessels, regardless of their registration, size or state of repair affects both territorial and international waters. Illegal fishing is conducted by national or foreign vessels in waters under the jurisdiction of a state, without the permission of the owning State, or in contravention of its laws and regulations. Unreported fishing is when fishing activities have not been reported or have been misreported to the relevant national authority, in contravention with national laws and regulations. Unregulated fishing refers to fishing activities conducted by vessels without nationality, or by those flying the flag of a state not party to that organization. IUU fishing has depleted global fish stokes and undermined efforts towards achieving the principle of intergenerational and intra-generational equity. As IUU fishing is done illegally, the social and economic welfare of those involved in fishing legally is affected negatively.
IUU fishing causes economic, social and environmental problems. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, IUU fishing accounts for up to 30% of the total catches in some important fisheries and that catches of particular species could be up to three times the permitted amount. The data suggests that high seas IUU fishing is concentrated on a few high value species, such as Patagonian toothfish and tuna. Unregulated catch has threatened the sustainability of world fish stocks and undermined efforts to manage resources. In terms of social and economic impacts, IUU fishers operate at lower costs thereby gaining an unjust economic advantage over legitimate fishers who also depend on fish to sustain their livelihoods. According to OECD, high seas IUU operators usually exploit fishers from developing countries as many of the crew on IUU vessels come from poor parts of the world. Given that they have few other employment options, they work on IUU vessels for low wages and in extremely poor working and living conditions.
If controlled, legal fishing presents various opportunities: countries that depend on fisheries will be food secure. Availability of adequate and nutritious food presents various advantages-it translates to good health; access to food by household translates to children being well nourished. This increases basic learning capacities of children. Food increases the capacity to concentrate and perform well in school; a food secure household is likely to have higher incomes. This is because food security translates to high performance at places of work and trade in surplus agricultural products and thus higher incomes. Higher incomes provide resources that ensure sustained growth in human development. Households with higher income spend on various sectors such as education and improvement in health which are among the components of human development.
Why does IUU fishing continue to thrive even though it is illegal and presents various disadvantages? Factors that create incentives for IUU fishing include: Insufficient or inefficient enforcement of national and international regulations including low monitoring, control and surveillance capacities and low level of sanction which reduces the cost of risk faced by IUU operators; ineffective flag state control over vessels which allow operators engaged in IUU fishing activities to face reduced operating and risk costs; prevalence of poor economic and social conditions in some countries which reduces the cost of fraud, crew costs, the cost of risk and the costs associated with maintaining appropriate safety and working standards; and incomplete international legal frameworks.
Various international and regional agreements have been adopted to curb IUU. Globally, the International Plan of Action on IUU fishing is mandated for this. Regionally, considering the serious economic, social and environmental problems caused by IUU fishing activities, the OECD’s committee for fisheries, in the Programme of work for 2002-2005 launched a study; “which will provide policy makers with environmental, economic and social arguments in support of measures in relation to IUU fishing activities, Including the FAO International Plan of Action on IUU fishing… ” (FAO fisheries report No.666, 2000). The drawback of these is that there is Insufficient and inefficient enforcement of at both national and international levels.
To resolve this problem, world leaders could do the following; while laws regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing exist, there is Insufficient and inefficient enforcement of at both national and international. This is because these laws and especially the International Plan of Action on IUU fishing are non-binding. In this regard, to improve the effectiveness of these laws, an online network database on fishing should be created. This will be a forum of information exchange allowing for communications and questions between countries and experts on key issues of relevance. This means that the platform will be one stop for national laws, International laws, best practices and information sharing.  With information sharing on the issues of fishing, IUU fishing may significantly reduce.

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habitat111 photoUrban youth face unprecedented challenges, from climate change to unemployment to multiple forms of inequalities and exclusion, particularly for youth belonging to vulnerable or marginalized groups. To provide an open space for critical exchange between urban researchers, professionals and decision makers who believe that urbanization is an opportunity and can lead to positive urban transformations, the UN Habitat III organized a conference in Nairobi.
The UN Habitat III Urban Youth Campus conference took place on 10th and 11th February 2016, at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya. It brought together key partners and stakeholders that support urban youth initiatives as well as 173 youth from diverse backgrounds to voice their ideas. I was privileged to be part of this conference.
Objectives
The conference, dubbed “The City You Need, the World they want”, was part of a series of other 25 Urban Thinkers Campus’ held between June 2015 and February 2016. The following were its objectives;
• To recognize and build on young people’s present capacities and the valuable contributions they are already making.
• To recognize and listen to youth voices and respond to their challenges and priorities, touching on human rights, migration, displacement, conflict and post-conflict areas, disaster and risk reduction and refugees
• To examine existing policies and programmes so as to assess the extent to which they are sufficiently oriented towards creating a better urban future.
• To make recommendations to the UN-Habitat with respect to the ways that it engages with and exercises its mandate in relations to urban youth especially in developing countries and its engagement with youth in its efforts towards the new urban agenda.
Thematic areas
We were allowed time to openly discuss and learn, share and debate of preselected themes; Youth and Urban Governance; Youth and Livelihoods; Youth and Urban Planning/Public spaces; Youth and Risk reduction and Rehabilitation; and Youth and environment. All the participants deliberated on these themes and outputs provided in Kenya would be used together with those from other conferences conducted in build up to the main event (To take place in Quito August).
Best insights as a youth in agriculture
The subthemes tackled under the Youth and environment theme included; Youth and Agriculture; Climate change; Renewable energy and Green jobs. Under these subthemes participants discussed challenges affecting the youth and gave recommendations.
Youth and Agriculture
As brought forward by the participants, the challenges facing youth in agriculture include; a poor mindset, climate change, lack of access to quality and timely information, insufficient access to financial services, Lack of involvement in policy dialogues and customary laws. Participants brought forward suggestions on how to address these challenges as; Mindset change among the youth, amendment of inheritance laws, provision of credit facilities to youth, youth inclusion in policy dialogues and implementation of policies.
Climate change
The challenges emerging in this sector included; lack of awareness on environmental conservation, nationalization of environmental programs which render them ineffective(Case of Kenya), insufficient finance in capacity building with regards to climate change and environmental conservation and constant and ongoing deforestation, trees being the major source of energy. In tackling them, participants suggested that; individuals should use alternative sources of clean energy as well as taking up individual responsibility on environmental conservation and waste recycling at more extensive levels.
Renewable energy and Green jobs
Some of the challenges that hinder the youth from adopting green energy include; high costs of equipment and lack of knowledge in this field. To tackle them, it was suggested that taxes be excluded from equipment that promote renewable energy (solar panels), to encourage expandability of the practice.
The UN Habitat III Urban Youth Campus conference, being part of a series of other 25 Urban Thinkers Campus’ was very informative.

The road to Paris – COP21

Kenyan delegates at the consultative meeting

Kenyan delegates at the consultative meeting

In November this year, different country representatives across development sectors will be meeting in Paris under the umbrella of COP21 to agree on how to proceed in reducing greenhouse gases – the main driver of climate change. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 at the earth summit, countries committed to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The commitment was within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Most of the UN member states have ratified it including the major economies and polluters. However, not all countries implemented the agreements. This was further followed by the Kyoto protocol in 1997 which was also ratified by many countries. While the protocol limited the green house gas emissions of industrialized nations, it excluded the big emerging economies like China. Akin to that, the United States of America declined to ratify it. Consequently the protocol failed to limit emissions of the world’s top polluters. It is due to the limitations of the previous interventions to address climate change that different stakeholders will be meeting in Paris towards the end of this year (2015) under the auspices of CPO21.The conference will seek to reach an agreement on targets for climate action after 2020, either in 2015 or 2030.

Like other countries on the road to France, Kenya is in the process of getting views from its citizens regarding the pressing issue of climate change in order to come up with a consolidated position, a position it will present in France. I was part of that process. I was part of the 100 delegates drawn from 47 counties that convened today at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi. This was the largest citizen consultation on climate and energy and it is the first of its kind in Kenya. The consultation was facilitated and funded by different partners led by The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, NETFUND, RENEWGEN and WWF among others.

From the consultations, it was evident that climate change is a real menace and measures should be undertaken to arrest the situation. Policy makers should come up with climate change friendly policies that will help in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. People should cultivate drought resistant crops and besides these, we came up with a raft of other measures addressing all sectors. With this, we made our contribution to Kenya’s road to France preparation.

Having been part of the 100 delegates who contributed their views on behalf of all Kenyans, I can only hope our contributions were not in vain. I hope delegates who will meet in Paris will do us good by representing us effectively.

In common parlance, the term human security has been used to refer to freedom from violence and from the fear of violence. However, the former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said that security means far more than the absence of violence. He said that we cannot be secure amidst starvation, we cannot build peace without alleviating poverty and we cannot build freedom on foundations of injustice. On the other hand, environmental degradation refers to the deterioration of the environment manifested in depletion of resources such as water, air and soil; destruction of ecosystems and extinction of wildlife.

A polluted River

A polluted River

Human survival is dependent of the well being of the environment. Man extracts environmental resources to meet his needs and given the surging human population, pressure has piled on the environment. Environmental resources are extracted at a rate not sustainable – resulting in environmental degradation whose manifestations lead to famine, hunger, water scarcity, conflict over natural resources, extreme temperatures and increase in pathogenic diseases. All these have a bearing on human security.

Depletion of resources, destruction of ecosystems and extinction of wildlife leads to enormous strain on the population’s ability to meet its needs. The humanity depends on natural resources to meet its needs and thus a struggle over the few remaining resources as everybody tries to get his share. Often, this ends up in escalated violence pitching communities against each other. The struggle for resources leads to inequality in their distribution and ownership.
Food insecurity is a result low agricultural productivity which is caused by poor soils among others. This exposes people to nutritional diseases and thus a security threat – lack of food leads to an upsurge in violent crimes as people struggle to meet their nutritional needs. Due to environmental degradation there is a new type of refugees called environmental refugees – these are people fleeing from hostile environmental conditions to safer ones for their own security.

Environmental degradation has far reaching impacts on human security across the globe and it is upon the entire humanity, you and I to take measures to ensure that the rate of environmental degradation is arrested and even reversed. For this way, human security will be guaranteed.

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