CISONECC Members Open to Collaborate on Climate Change Projects


Eleven civil society organizations (CSOs) with interventions in climate change and disaster risk management in Malawi shared their projects with colleagues at a Knowledge Exchange on Interventions Workshop held last June at the Ufulu Gardens in Lilongwe.  All active members of the Civil Society Network on Climate Change, the CSOs presented their projects starting with their vision, mission and goals, segueing into details such as the project’s  approach, geographical areas, milestones and outcomes.  Each presentation ended with the presenter’s assessment of the possibility of scaling up their project/s by or with CISONECC colleagues, in the Network’s effort towards coordinating climate change efforts in the country.

The two-day workshop was a milestone in the young Network’s life marking the first time members shared such vital and comprehensive information with each other.  Most of the current development efforts at climate change adaptation and mitigation in Malawi were isolated projects up until last month’s meeting where colleagues delved into the possibility of replicating each other’s successful and impact-driven efforts.

Among those who made presentations were Churches for Action, Relief and Development (CARD), Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA), Coordination Union for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), Dan Church Aid (DCA), Development Fund of Norway (DF), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), Global Hope Mobilization (GLOHOMO), Leadership for the Environment and Development – Southern and East Africa (LEADSEA), Living Waters Church Radio (LWC), National Federation of Youth in Development (NFYD) and the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO).  The organizations are now awaiting mapping to be done by the CISONECC Secretariat which will determine the way forward for the network.


At the same meeting, a presentation was made by consultants on how the network can collectively monitor and evaluate the country’s climate change policy (October 2013 draft) in four priority areas:  adaptation, mitigation, finance, research and technology transfer.  Four breakout groups representing the four areas were tasked with establishing what information should be collected, who among the stakeholders should collect this and the frequency with which the data should be collected.

Initially, the following issues in the climate change draft policy were identified for the project monitoring and evaluation exercise: 

Ø  There are missing issues in its national implementation plan (NIP) and the monitoring and evaluation strategy; with some information found in the policy but not in the implementation plan and the strategy;

Ø  The policy’s NIP and monitoring strategy does not clearly outline a system or mechanism for the ‘harmonization and coordination of efforts” on climate change in the country;

Ø  The Institutional framework for the climate change policy is not comprehensive; as compared to the disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy;

Ø  Lack of comprehensive information and focus on some key issues (i.e. climate financing has only 2 outcomes) and nothing has been indicated on mechanism for mobilizing resources locally; and

Ø  Disconnected sections

The workshop-meeting ended on a positive note with all participants expressing their willingness to be open to the possibility of collaborating efforts for the sake of fast tracking efforts to make Malawi resilient to climate change.









Does The 2015 Paris Climate Deal Reflect The Urgency Of Addressing Climate Change?


Over 40,000 delegates attended the historical Paris Climate Change Conference also referred to as the Twenty First Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in France Paris from 30th November to 12th December. Expectations for COP 21 to deliver a climate deal that fully address climate change; its causes, current and anticipated impacts were high around the world. Indeed a climate deal was adopted by the COP, but the key question remains, “Does the 2015 Paris Climate Deal reflect the urgency Climate Change deserves? Does it respond to the needs of those affected by Climate Change in the short and long term? Does it address the causes of climate change at domestic and international levels”? A minimum understanding to the background of COP 21, and the political landscape in global climate change are vital to respond to these questions.

COP 21 was the fourth and last of a series of the COPs under which a platform set during COP 17, the ADP (Durban Platform for Enhanced Action)’ was mandated for negotiating an agreement in the form of “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties (countries). Previous efforts by countries to have a climate agreement had failed during COP 15 in Copenhagen.

Unlike previous COPs, COP 21 was uniquely structured and in a strategic manner. A high level segment; consisting of 150 heads of governments; was held at the beginning of the negotiations to secure political will and mandate for the negotiations. Two weeks later, during the night of 12th December 2015, the climate deal was adopted by 195 countries. The French President Francois Hollande called the Agreement “ambitious” and congratulated delegates while the UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon was proud of the commitments from all countries to join in a common cause and take climate action.

As a global agreement, the issue of the legality of the Paris Climate Deal remains; not the whole agreement is binding. Yes, it is not. This is despite, “a Legal Agreement” being on the wish list of developing countries to the conference. Hence despite beautiful strategies that may be set in the agreement, the non-binding nature of the agreement possesses a possible room for failure by countries due to their own valuable reasons. It is however important to recognize that the agreement provides for a room for transparency and accountability for all countries.

Secondly, finance for climate change adaptation (the ability for countries or systems to cope with effects of climate change) has always been central for developing countries like Malawi. Gaps tend to remain on how the funds will be mobilized. While it is reassuring to see that richer countries will take the lead, there is little indication of how they plan to scale-up their contributions from the existing 100 billion (US dollars) obligation. CISONECC and other like-minded groups wanted to see governments secure predictable sums of finance for developing countries adaptation needs, sadly that was clearly missed out in the Paris Agreement. Further, there is no guarantee that the future financing needs of the most poorest and vulnerable will be matched and met.  The new agreement calls for a balance in climate funds to address adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Studies show that only 30% or less of all climate finance is utilized for adaptation.

It is evident that there are countries facing the impacts of climate change despite their insignificant contribution to the problem. Efforts to have countries that contributed more to climate change liable to the impacts and compensate countries that are more affected proved futile. Compensation on losses and damage from climate change related phenomenas is therefore out of question. The agreement simply supports initiatives to avoid such loses and makes calls for various supports to be provided to countries that are likely to face loss.

CISONECC together with hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world called governments to consider the moral dimension of political decisions in relation to climate change, and to put the poorest communities who are suffering the most from climate change impacts at the center of the debate in Paris. The absence of human rights from the core of the Paris agreement bears the risk that some climate projects may endanger human rights, while at the same time a lack of a reference to food security is a further blow for vulnerable communities around the world. This is the case since provisions to ensure food security are not present in the core agreement, while language on production remains. We must remember, as the real threat to food production systems is from the impacts of climate change. More food is not the same as less hunger.

Therefore whether or not the Paris Deal is ambitious enough to address climate change provides both hope and significant doubts. By December 2015, 187 countries had submitted their efforts, including what they intend to do to address climate change domestically (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) to the UNFCCC but all these combined fall short of limiting the earth’s temperature rise to the world’s consensus of keeping global temperatures under 2degrees.  Some hope lies in the global stocktaking exercise to be conducted every 5 years to determine whether or not efforts by countries address climate change and review them accordingly. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on mother earth.  

So here is our verdict for the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris agreement adopted during COP 21 in France, sets a historical standard in achieving the global goal of addressing climate change. However, in its current state, strategies of the agreement do not match up to the dream of a world that addresses climate change by curbing greenhouse gases and supporting those affected by climate change, at least not anytime soon. And as experience shows, commitments and mere expression of interest without fulfillments only prolongs the climate crisis at global level.

Despite the cries, the joys and frustrations from various groups after the adoption of the agreement, its impact will not be seen just yet. The climate agreement that was adopted COP 21 will come into effect in 2020. 


Women farmer advocacy dialogue session revised

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Women farmer advocacy dialogue session revised

Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change: Lessons from Kenya

Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change: Lessons from Kenya 

The 9th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) was held in Nairobi in April 2015 under the theme “measuring and enhancing effective adaptation”.  This is a series of annual CBA conferences focusing on various pillars of climate change adaptation including finance and communication.  The conference provides a platform for practitioners in climate change adaptation such as civil society, youth, policy makers, researchers and development partners to explore challenges and opportunities and share knowledge and experiences. The Malawi delegation comprised of other members from civil society including CISONECC, government and development partners. The conference brought together 400 participants from 90 countries.  

Community based Adaptation to climate change is aimed at empowering communities to use their own knowledge, systems and capacities to adapt to climate change. Prior to the conference participants went on a three day field trip to the countryside of Nairobi to engage with communities that are practising climate change adaptation strategies. Communities in Kenya utilize climate change information to make decisions on Agricultural production and to adapt to climate change. This meant changes in their long time traditional ways of agricultural production and water management. Just as in Malawi communities in the eastern province of Makueni county, were depended on maize for food and for income. 

Climate systems in the region have changed and could not support efficient maize production, later on using the available varieties due to change in temperatures and erratic rainfall. The research institution KALRO (Kenya Agricultural and livestock research organization) assisted the communities in developing appropriate plant varieties for production and the generation and use of climate information. Weather data is translated by the researchers and various experts to develop an “advisory” that consist of seasonal predictions of rain fall patterns and provide options to farmers on which crops and varieties to plant, when and how. Besides the advisory, communities have taken up improved agricultural practices such as irrigation, mulching, terrace making, manure making, crop diversification and livestock production. 

Rain water harvesting is a common practice in the region with no formal water systems. Communities harvest rainwater through modern and traditional technologies. Water from rooftops never goes to waste in such communities. Harvested water is used for crop production, livestock feed production, domestic use and fish farming. The research institutions and extension system assists the communities in choosing and developing appropriate technologies. Nevertheless, not all community members have adopted have these technologies. 

Contrary to most livelihood programmes, communities in these initiatives selected their pathways for adaptation from the information and options that they were given by research. In addition, farmers made substantial investments in some technologies such as irrigation systems and their resources such as land. 

The 3 day conference included interactive sessions on gender, vulnerable groups, climate information systems, role of private sector, measuring adaptation, practicing ecosystem based adaptation and options for adaptation. CISONECC particularly under the Southern Voices on adaptation programme promoted the Joint principles on Adaptation to the 400 participants. The principles commonly known as JPA are a set of 7 principles that CSOs consider as a best practice for adaptation planning. They range from inclusive participation, adequate finance, effective institutions, gender and social issues, role of the communities, use of climate information and appropriate investments for climate change adaptation. Outcomes of the conference included releasing the Nairobi declaration on Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change which highlights the significance of addressing the adaptation needs of the poor and most vulnerable groups in international agreements on sustainable development, finance and climate change. 

The declaration comes at a time when world leaders will be adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September and agree on a new Global Climate Change in December.