Over 100 participants at the 1st Climate Change and Opportunities for Sustainable Business in East Africa Conference have developed a Communiqué that will be presented at the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015 in Paris, France.
The Minister of Water and Environment, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu who is scheduled to lead the Ugandan delegation to the 2015 Climate Change Conference (COP21), officially opened the Kampala Conference held on 12th November 2015 on the theme: Supporting the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference: Climate Change and Opportunities for Sustainable Business in East Africa.
Hon. Kamuntu commended the Royal Embassy of Norway, Makerere University-Uganda, and University of Bergen-Norway, for organizing the conference aimed at exploring and demonstrating through workable models/approaches that sustainable solutions and technology can be enhanced to create business opportunities for the mutual benefits.
“This Conference is timely; for it presents the East Africans with a platform to discuss and come up with a message on climate change and business opportunities that we would like to be captured by over 190 countries in COP21 in 2015. This is a commendable consultative and participatory approach, and I thank the Embassy of Norway, the University of Bergen in Norway, and Makerere University, Kampala for organizing this important conference,” the Minister said.
In the communiqué, the participants comprising government officials, delegation from East Africa and Norway, members of the private sector, development partners and key industry figures, the academia and media recommended to the United Nations Conference of the Parties Conference (COP21) the following:
- The prioritization and mainstreaming of South-North collaborations especially in the areas of research and innovation that are key to attaining climate-friendly development and eventually developing sustainable business enterprises into national policy frameworks.
- Based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the urgent streamlining of climate financing initiatives including but not limited to carbon markets to enable up-scaling of existing technologies on a massive scale such as the use of solar energy, wind and thermal resources as well as energy saving clean cooking technologies.
- That the Academia, Private Sector and Government form a strong alliance that commercializes research findings, technology and technology transfer as well as innovative approaches towards climate-smart business opportunities at all levels.
- That Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Faith-based organizations, the private sector and the media embrace networking as a mutually beneficial avenue for sharing and disseminating business programs supported by national and regional policy frameworks as well as build capacity of stakeholders to implement viable climate change and business linkages.
Addressing the participants at Serena Hotel Kampala, Hon. Kamuntu said that the effects of climate change in Uganda are already evident in the agricultural sector; affecting the productivity of seasons which have culminated in adverse effects in combination with increasing population growth rate.
“Uganda’s current growth rate indicates that 60% of the population consists of young people below 18 years and 78% of the population is the youth under 35 years. With this kind of population, it will be a wise opportunity and blessing for the country to invest in and develop skills of these young people in order to have a dynamic labor force for Uganda’s economy. However we must recognize that if this is not handled, the combination of climate change with the increasing population can be a disaster,” he stated.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda H.E Susan Eckey said for the world to be able to find solutions to climate change, countries should develop a system for national reporting.
“In the climate meeting in Lima last year, countries agreed to not only set national goals before the Paris conference but also to enhance necessary action, and we see that countries are willing to do more than before. More than 150 countries responsible for 90% of gas emissions have already set their climate goals. These goals show that the transition to the low emission societies has begun,”she said.
Her Excellency informed the participants that Norway has set three top priorities ahead of the upcoming Paris conference. These include: a long term vision; countries to update and upgrade their climate goals every five years; and a system for national reporting.
Highlighting the issue of temperature change and its adverse impact on human and natural systems, the Rector of University of Bergen, Prof. Dag Rune Olsen said that by the end of this year 2015, the global average temperature may have a positive milestone of about 1 degree Centigrade above industrial levels as predicted by the UK Meteorological Office.
“This climate change has wide spread impact on humans and natural systems. The increase in temperature will also have widespread impact on bio-diversity, food security as well as affect public health. We shall also witness the increase to geo-hazards. The human influence on the climate system is clear and the recent emissions of greenhouse gasses are the highest in history, that leads us to the reasons as to why the upcoming meeting-the COP21 in Paris is important,” he explained.
Prof. Olsen revealed that the Africa Progress Report shows that Africa can seize climate and all energy opportunities. The new research on the climate economy shared by Lord Stern also illustrates the opportunity to transform and expand the supply of hydroelectric solar Power energy in Africa, which will spur development and reduce on the negative environment effects.
According to the Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, global attention today is focused on climate change as a critical driver for development. Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu mentioned that East Africa and Norway have initiated several joint efforts to address the impacts of climate change while harnessing business opportunities.
“The effects of climate change already have profound and irreversible impact on economic social and environmental systems. They are manifested in several forms including drought, erratic rainfall patterns and other extreme weather events that threatens human health and infrastructure, agricultural production and food security, water and other natural resources and sustainability that are the very core of human survival and economic development. It is therefore very urgent that we come up with both mitigation and adaptation majors that will help us to deal with the evolving climate,” he remarked.
During the conference, participants also discussed the effects of climate change on trade and business, social economic opportunities and development, human health, environment and continental prosperity. Through the various discussions and presentations held, the participants indicated that the high prevalence of food shortages faced by East African countries is caused by the high illiteracy rate and unawareness, marketing bottlenecks, poor agricultural practice, resource depletion and degradation.
Giving the East African perspective on mitigation and adaptation strategies carried out by Makerere University so far, Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa noted that the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) has integrated aspects of climate change at undergraduate level and introduced new regional Masters programmes. He also shared that the College has developed seeds for rangeland forages, drought and disease resistant varieties of crops as well as carried out extensive research on indigenous multipurpose tree species that can absorb carbon dioxide from the environment.
In a presentation titled, Converting the Climate Change message into suitable business, Mr. Ssewagudde Christopher, Representative from Innovation Norway said: “The emerging opportunities for alternative livelihoods, asset building, improving scientific knowledge for value addition projects, up-scaling, replication and sustainability, institution of linkages and the importance of participatory approaches and addressing cross-cutting issues in business like mainstreaming gender, indigenous knowledge, HIV/AIDS, child protection and disability have changed the standards of living as well as creating more business opportunities for East African people.”
The participants recognized that sustainable solutions and technology can be harnessed to create business opportunities for the mutual benefit of East Africa and Norway in line with international targets including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
They also appreciated the support provided by the United Nations through Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Conference of the Parties towards an international agreement of dealing with the Climate Change adaptation and Mitigation.
During the conference, the Minister of Water and Environment Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, H.E. Susan Eckey and Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu were presented with signed copies of a book entitled Responsible and Profitable: Strategies for Sustainable business models by Authors Sveinung Jørgensen and Lars Jacob Tynes Pedersen. The book connects Business with Climate Change and provides knowledge on how countries can utilize opportunities availed by the current climate change.
Article by: Mak Public Relations Office
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG