Around the Globe: Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) And A Week Like No Other

By all means this is not an ordinary week. This week President Obama visits Israel, China’s new President visits Russia, and Iran’s supreme leader delivers a speech for Iran’s New Year even as the 10th anniversary of US invasion of Iraq is marked. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, let me take this early opportunity to wish my Iranian friends on campus a happy New Year!

Moving back a little bit to the previous week(s), news from UNEP’s news desk reveals the endorsement of the Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) as a key tool for creating a coordinated approach to climate change adaptation in the vulnerable continent.

According to UNEP, AAKNet was established in April 2012 – to create a pool of knowledge that would enhance effective adaptation measures across Africa – and aims to support planning and implementation of climate change adaptation through sharing valuable knowledge and experiences with governments, regional authorities, and communities facing similar climate challenges, along the way overcoming such obstacles as fragmentation, lack of alignment of practices, insufficient understanding of end users and overlap.

Africa is particularly susceptible to climate change for a variety of reasons: its reliance on rain-fed agriculture, limited supply of fresh water, widespread poverty and disease, weak institutions, variable access to information and technology, complex disasters and conflicts, and inadequate access to basic services.

It is my considered opinion that with considerable support from development partners and political goodwill on the part of the African governments, AAKNet will prove very resourceful in so far as spurring real action on climate change in the continent is concerned. Through the network, member countries will learn from each other’s experiences by sharing success stories and even learning from hiccups in the process, for example the case of Kenya’s Climate Change Authority Bill that was fronted by the Kenya Climate Change Working Group.

Now on to a slightly different topic, allow me to use this platform to once again call on the international community and other friends of Kenya to continue being even more supportive of the country and its people as they journey through this very delicate yet important moment in the country’s history. And to Kenyans from all walks of life, the onus is on you to ensure that the politicians do not ruin your lives and nation-state with their selfish political interests veiled in words such as democracy and justice. Best wishes my country wo/men!

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2 thoughts on “Around the Globe: Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet) And A Week Like No Other

  1. I am so jealous that Africa could have got support from the international community because as a Chinese, we don’t even allow international organizations to “intervene” with our domestic issue (and as we all know, no environmental issue in the contemporary world will affect the single country where it is occurring, but it will be another story). It is more of an international politics issue rather than an environmental issue because although all the problems you mentioned of limited water supply, poverty and disease, weak institutions, etc. also exist in China, the highly-centralized political system does not give the opportunity to international institutions to research on the problems. China is so powerful right now and the ultimate acceleration of economic development has put the country on the edge of a lot of environmental problems. As a single country that has to feed more than one-sixth of the world’s population, we can imagine the pressure of agriculture and everything related. However, it should not be an excuse for unlimited and uncontrolled natural resource exploitation. Environmental problem is there for China and the bigger problem is the political structure that forbids the seeking of a more appropriate way by international organizations to solve the problems.

    • Thanks for sharing the case of China. I just finished watching a live session on Global resources, the US economy and national security hosted by the Center for Foreign Relations and China featured very prominently. I think like the panelists at the just concluded session, that China is in a real conundrum whereby it’s faced with the need for economic growth to support a large and growing domestic population while on the other hand the need to conserve its environment which is getting ruined as it goes about elevating the living standards of its people. I would prescribe a more sober approach to dealing with China, an that does not exclude the option of support from the international community to see China address the environmental and economic problems sustainably. An alternative development model would have been appropriate but I guess it’s too late now. May be we try that in Africa.

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