Amid 170,000-plus attendees and 2,700 sessions, it is hard to not be awed by the sheer spectacle that wasDreamforce, the annual conference hosted by customer relationship management tools developer and service provider Salesforce.com But beyond rumors it will buy Twitter, why should Salesforce.com and CRM matter to small and local community radio, and what can radio learn?
Whether it is Tony Robbins or U2, Dreamforce attracts big names and marquee corporations. For good reason — Salesforce.com has made a tremendous name for itself across many industries, from finance to retail to every sector of technology imaginable. Some of the world’s biggest nonprofits use it to manage donor relations.
“All good,” you say, “but who cares?”
Hear me out. The noncommercial media space, including community radio and public media, has much to learn from successful nonprofits using data and technology to grow. The analytics revolution that Salesforce.com and competitors have ushered into modern life is also a chance for community radio and public media to assess what is most important. It matters because contributors have new expectations. It also matters because technology can help stations focus less on paperwork and more on the relationships with their supporters.
Three key things at Dreamforce struck me.
Community radio can use technology to grow what people expect of it. At Dreamforce there were so many instances of nonprofits using data, mobile and service to engage supporters in ways that press community radio to consider how it can inspire members and underwriters, and expand its own service. One UK nonprofit takes public concerns for the homeless to smartphones by allowing geolocation of people in need to service providers. Black Girls Code and Code 2040leaders shared stories about how they made alliances with businesses work best for their constituencies. Discussions like this are incredibly instructive for community radio, which often fancies itself as a voice for localism and subcommunities. Technology gives a chance to realize these ideals in a new, dynamic and creative way.
Community radio needs to embrace the new normal of data. Community radio collects all manner of information — recordings, volunteer information, etc. — but is missing a golden opportunity to do what it does better. More and more nonprofits are seeing how important it is to use data to show donors they care. Others still struggle. On the corporate side, Apple can tell you what a customer prefers and what they buy. Similarly, more and more nonprofits can track what a donor supports most, their average gift and when they’re most inclined to give. This level of tracking is eschewed in some circles as invasive. However, the reality is that more people, particularly those who give to charity, are those who organizations need to value more. In my public media work, I’ve talked to many members who feel the fact an organization doesn’t know their giving habits equates to not caring about them personally. The world today has conditioned most people to expect connectedness as never before. They expect to give out an email address and assume an organization has their billing information and giving history on file. Yet a 2014 study indicates catering to the new expectations of customers is among the lowest priorities. Community radio would benefit by switching it up.
The touch always matters most. Among the tiny and massive nonprofits at Dreamforce, the objective of all of these cool gizmos was clear: to make each organization’s people more effective at what they do, and to enable them to have the most information possible for quality contacts with donor-members. Staff change, addresses change, but all nonprofits know their communication needs to be consistent and smart. The longtime supporter should have assurances that even new people know their importance to an organization, their history and what matters to them. A new donor should have regular, but unobstrusive, contact and a smooth ride into an organization’s world. As community radio leaders are well aware, it is tough to raise money and convert the casual observer to active giver. Technology can only enhance the contact, but it’s that moment that matters most.
Community and public radio, and, really, all nonprofits, have some common cause in how your average business relates to a consumer. Where a business is trying to sell you an aesthetic, such as trust, a community radio station wants you to give money out of a higher ideal: mission, culture or a contribution to the commons. Community radio outlets are special snowflakes all, but we share the same challenges. Dreamforce demonstrates but one example of ways to tackle our biggest puzzles.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published at the Radio World and retrieved on 10/15/2016 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views, ideas, materials, and content of the article remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.
When South Sudan became independent in 2011, there were hopes that higher education, and education in general, would top the national spending priority list. The country has six universities, five of which are public and one of which is private, with the number of students in the country estimated at between 25,000 and 30,000.
Since 2011, however, budgets have been reduced as part of national austerity measures. To make matters worse (to say the very least), when the country entered into what I personally call a war of insanity in December 2013, public universities were badly affected, with students, faculty and staff displaced, and assets destroyed. Now, at certain times, university administrators are challenged with the question of whether to close universities or keep them open. It is hoped that the recent peace deal between the government and rebels will be sustainable and provide tangible solutions, but higher education institutions in South Sudan still face basic challenges.
Violence and insecurity
The most important challenge to higher education in South Sudan is the vicious circle of insecurity in both the periphery and the centre of the country. Four of the five public universities are located in states prone to be attacked either by the rebels fighting the government, or by local communities in conflict with each other. As a result, many highly skilled foreign academics have left the universities and returned to their countries, or sought jobs with international non-governmental organisations. Because of insecurity and interruptions in the learning and academic cycles, many students have left the country to enrol in universities in neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia or Sudan. Some students and staff, traumatised by the murderous attacks, are too scared to return to the campuses and thus they interrupt their studies or drop out altogether. However, the recent peace deal signed in Juba might help overcome this fear of insecurity.
Brain drain and public financing
A number of outstanding home-grown faculty have left South Sudan to seek refuge elsewhere, in search of greener pastures. Before July 2015, academics in South Sudan were receiving 35 per cent less in salary than their counterparts in East Africa. This led to brain drain. The incentive of state education is that beneficiaries should pay back to the state by way of serving the community in their respective specialties. This is compromised if these individuals prefer to work elsewhere. The implication is the insufficient number of faculty at public universities, hence the huge student-to-faculty ratio. The national government pays the salaries of staff and faculty at public universities, but little else. There is no funding available for construction or maintenance of infrastructure, for research, holding examinations or student accommodations. With these realities, universities are faced with the challenge of having to shut down. So far no university has done so, but extended holidays are not uncommon and severely disrupt academic life. The delays provoke frustration and exacerbate the need to improve working conditions.
Technology and labour market needs
As in other developing countries, the demands of students enrolled nowadays in universities in South Sudan present a formidable challenge for university academics and administrators. Students need lecture theatres equipped with modern pedagogical equipment, air conditioning, stable electricity and the means to commute to and from the university. Students are easily annoyed when lacking favourable conditions for learning. The faculty also face major challenges, lacking both standard equipment as well as knowledge on how to use digital resources. The central purpose of education is to foster skills and values for individuals to successfully fit into society and engage in productive activity to earn a living. The current labour market requires a thorough understanding of modern technology, flexibility and creativity, and social intelligence. As observed above, insufficient technological tools might compromise the opportunity for university students to learn needed skills for the labour market, resulting in a mismatch of competencies and unemployment.
Foreign universities and transnational education
The increasing number of private institutions of post-secondary education in neighboring Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan reflects an enormous competition for students in the region. The attraction of South Sudanese to foreign universities is probably caused by better learning environments, course duration, curriculum, level of technology, higher standard of living at low cost, integrated student support mechanisms and the diversity of the student population, which provides unique opportunities for international exchanges. These conditions prompt students to cross borders in search of better educational conditions. Students tend to leave for foreign universities where they are certain of graduating within a specified period of time, and with better standards as compared to domestic universities.
Although higher education in South Sudan faces enormous challenges, it is moving in the right direction. Since 2013, more South Sudanese academics and staff have joined foreign universities for capacity building. If they return to the country, they will provide the much needed know-how to improve the quality of education. The recent peace deal, if it is sustained, will provide avenues for international inter-university exchanges, improvement in learning facilities, an increase in student enrollment, especially women, and resources might be invested in education.
David Malual W. Kuany is dean of the college of education at Dr John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology, South Sudan. He recently completed a Mandela Washington fellowship at Cambridge College, Massachusetts, and Florida International University. This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in thespring edition of International Higher Education.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published at Times Higher Education and was retrieved on March 21, 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for educational and information purposes only. The views and materials contained in the post remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.
Written by: John Keenan. Posted on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The United Arab Emirates recently appointed its first ‘minister for happiness’, underlining Dubai’s ambitious plan to become the happiest city on the planet. But a new report suggests there is still much work to be done.
Dubai’s ambition to become the “world’s happiest city” by the end of the decade has suffered a blow with the publication of the latest annual World Happiness Report, which sees the United Arab Emirates slip down the rankings from 20th to 28th place.
The new report, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, also states that “happiness inequality” has increased significantly “in most countries, in almost all global regions, and for the population of the world as a whole.”
In an effort to counter this trend, in 2014 Dubai – one of seven emirates that make up the UAE – launched its own “happiness index”, aimed at collecting data on how government services impacted happiness. Smart devices were distributed around the city – 23 touch-screen terminals positioned in public buildings and linked to government centres – and individuals were encouraged to give feedback by choosing one of three options to register satisfaction or otherwise with their experience.
“Creating happiness is the final result of the smart city agenda,” Ahmed Bin Byat, CEO of the investment group Dubai Holding, told a government summit last year. “Once we are able to manage and meet people’s experiences, we will be able to rise on the happiness index. It is vital because if people are not happy, they don’t stick around in the city; they leave.”
Last month, the UAE’s prime minister and Emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced via Twitter that his new cabinet included its first “minister of state for happiness”, Ohood Al Roumi. He insisted this was more than a fuzzy feelgood move, and that the initiative would be propelled by “plans, projects, programmes [and] indices”.
One supporter of Dubai’s efforts is Scott Cain, chief business officer at the UK government-funded organisation Future Cities Catapult (FCC), which aims to “accelerate urban ideas to market, to grow the economy and make cities better”.Recently Cain wrote: “Happiness is something Emiratis take very seriously. Following the recent appointment of the UAE’s first minister for happiness and the declaration that Dubai is to be the happiest city in the world by 2019, Future Cities Catapult has been supporting the city in realising its ambition.
“I was recently invited to present the catapult’s view on happiness and wellbeing in the city, and addressed some issues that will be challenging in the UAE environment. It seems they weren’t discouraged as they presented me with an award, which was as unexpected as it was rewarding.”
Cain will be in Dubai later this week for the fourth annual International Day of Happiness on 20 March, which the desert city will celebrate with a series of events. “The highlight will be meeting the Minister for Happiness herself,” Cain says, “and hearing what other cities in the UK and beyond can learn from Dubai’s efforts.”
Some observers have raised eyebrows at the UAE’s “happiness project”, coming as it does amid ongoing human rights concerns. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW): “The United Arab Emirate often uses its affluence to mask the government’s serious human rights problems. The government arbitrarily detains, and in some cases forcibly disappears, individuals who criticised the authorities, and its security forces face allegations of torturing detainees.”
HRW highlights a new anti-discrimination law which “further jeopardises free speech”, and raises concerns about migrant construction workers “facing serious exploitation” and female domestic workers who are “excluded from regulations that apply to workers in other sectors”.
According to Cain: “In many ways Dubai is much more progressive than its near neighbours; many of its senior officials are women including the minister for happiness.” He adds that FCC is “not a public policy advisory group; we follow the lead of UK government”.
While Dubai and the UAE strive for greater happiness, the top of the world happiness league continues to be dominated by northern Europe. Denmark has regained first place, followed closely by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland. The US is ranked 13th in the new report, two places higher than last year.
The report is produced by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Its co-editor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, says: “Measuring self-reported happiness and achieving well-being should be on every nation’s agenda as they begin to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals … Rather than taking a narrow approach focused solely on economic growth, we should promote societies that are prosperous, just and environmentally sustainable.”
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by The Guardian and was retrieved on March 16, 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views, contents and thoughts expressed in the article remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.
Windhoek, Namibia – Every year on November 19, the global community observes the World Toilet Day, an event designated by the United Nations (UN) to raise awareness about the people in the world who don’t have access to proper toilets, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.
According to UN Water, an agency that coordinates the UN’s work on freshwater and sanitation, the World Toilet Day is about the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation. It is about the nearly 1 billion people who have to defecate in the open.
The UN says the state of sanitation remains a powerful indicator of the state of human development in any community. It said that improved sanitation also brings advantages for public health, livelihoods and dignity-advantages that extend beyond households to entire communities.
In his statement to observe last year’s World Toilet Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon noted that sanitation is central to human and environmental health as well as to individual opportunity, development and dignity. But he registered his disappointment that to date, one in every three people lacks improved sanitation, and one in every eight practices open defecation, worldwide.
The Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) 7, target 3, outlined the global ambition to the proportion of people without access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.
But up to the end of last year, there has been no tangible progress by the global community, especially in developing countries like in Africa to provide proper sanitations facilities, which the UN has warned is having negative effects on people’s health, safety, and dignity.
A 2014 progress report by the WaterAid has revealed that majority of governments in Southern African region, like the rest of the continent have failed to deliver on their promises on water and sanitation.
This left over 40 million people in the region without access to safe drinking water and 73 million without sanitation. Botswana and Angola have been rounded for their efforts to half the number of people without access to clean drinking water and sanitation during the implementations of the MDGs.
Justine Eilonga, a resident of Havana informal settlement in Windhoek is one of thousands of Namibians who were let down by their own government, which failed to provide them with basic sanitation facilities.
Although Namibia has met the target for water provision with over 87 percent of the households in the country have access to improved water supply, the target for sanitation was missed dismally.
While most of their country men and women are line-up in banks or in the shops to pay for their goods and services, Eilonga and other residents of Havana in the periphery of Namibia’s main city, Windhoek are queueing up and impatiently waiting for their turns to make use of a single toilet that serves close to a thousand people, irrespective of gender and age.
“We are sharing this one toilet with many people,” she said while pointing to a solitary toilet that was erected by the Windhoek Municipality.
“It’s just unhygienic and unbelievable that people from other informal settlements also track long distances to come use this toilet. I cannot blame them because I am aware that there is not a single toilet there but it is the municipality responsibility to ensure that the inhabitants have access to portable water and toilet facilities,” she said
Eilonga said the situation forces many people to relieve themselves in open, and at night especially women and children are forced to use baskets, which they dispose in the river beds the next morning, a situation which she distribute as undignified. Others especially those that are living in the new informal settlements dig their own traditional latrines.
Helodia Amadhila, also the resident of Havana, who is concerned about using public toilet at night due to especially with regard to security and health issues.
“I suffer a lot when nature calls during the night time because the only available toilet is very far and there are lots of bad people in the area. Although I stay with my two sons, some time they are not in the house and there is no one to escort me, leaving me with no choice but to use a basket which is very unhygienic,” she said.
Simon Nghindini, also a resident of Havana and whose shack is over a kilometer from the nearest public toilet relate a similar story to that of Amadhila, Eilonga and thousands of other Namibians without proper sanitation facilities.
“Most of the time the toilets are not working. This can be explained by a large number of people using the toilets, and municipal officials take their time to come fix them,” he said about a block of 12 toilets that were built by the City of Windhoek to serve the community of Havana.
“We decided to dig our own toilet because there is nowhere to relieve ourselves. This place is overcrowded and open space are scares. It’s a terrible situation we are living in,” Losivite Tuyeni, a resident of Gereagob, while pointing at family toilet her boyfriend has dug for them, a few meters from their corrugated irons house.
Namibia Demographic and Health Survey of 2013 indicated that only 34 percent of the population having access to improved sanitation which is against a target to have reached 66 percent of the population by 2015 as set out in the National Sanitation Strategy.
During the 9th Water and Sanitation Sector Joint Annual Review on February 2, in Windhoek by the government ministries and stakeholders in water and sanitation sector including the European Union, as development partner, the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa has acknowledged the country’s failure to provide proper sanitation to the majority of the population.
“Access to water has increased overally, even if sanitation remains – despite our genuine efforts – the neglected stepchild of this country. The challenge now lies with lack of progress on sanitation with only 34 percent of the population having access to improved sanitation,” he said.
“However, the victims affected by inadequate access to sanitation are as usual are primarily the poor. The problem of poor access to sanitation is particularly acute in the rural areas where only 17 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation facilities with an alarming rate as high as 46.5 percent of open defecation. Also equally affected are the informal settlements. The low access to improved sanitation constitutes a serious public-health problem”.
Minister Mutorwa also blamed the poor sanitation standard in urban centers such as Windhoek on the rapid increase in rural to urban migration, saying that the country needed to find urgent solution to the low access of sanitation in informal settlements.
“The disparity of water and sanitation service coverage between urban and rural is cause for concern. We cannot also ignore the rapid rural to urban migration that is going on at an estimated alarming rate of 3.5 percent per annum. This has a major impact on water and sanitation service delivery particularly in urban areas,” said the minister.
Having failed to deliver better sanitation facilities during the past 15 years, Namibia has now set herself a mammoth task to improve access to sanitation from the current 34 percent to 70 percent by 2017.
According to the Sanitation Strategic Plan, a total required budget to implement all initiatives in the plan was N$1.579 billion over the five year period from 2010/11-2014/15, with an average of N$316 million per annum. However, media reports indicate that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has been sitting on the funds that were a solution to the problem of poor sanitation in the country.
The ministry’s Director of Water Supply and Sanitation Coordination, Theopolina Nantanga gave a lame excuses in an interview with The Villager newspaper in June 2015 that the sanitation project failed to get off the off the ground because of numerous challenges including public education.
Nantanga however explained that the water and sanitation situation currently prevailing in the country is characterised by scarce water resources, poor access to running water in rural areas and a large percentage of the population living in vulnerable conditions in informal settlements.
The City of Windhoek manager for corporate communications, Joshua Amukugo said water and sanitation provisions one of the top priorities issues at the municipality.
“The City of Windhoek sees access to water and improved sanitation as one of the key challenges to the general upliftment of our society, in particular the more vulnerable portion thereof. In this regard the city has expended millions in the provision of water and sanitation facilities throughout the city to those in need and will continue to do so as the organization is fully aware of its social responsibility and is making a real, concerted effort to address all issues at hand,” Amukugo said.
The city official pointed the maintenance of facilities and water shortages as the most pressing challenges. “The maintenance of established sanitation facilities is proving to be by far the biggest challenge. Technical solutions exist in a variety of forms and even funding can be sourced, but sustaining the facility in working order has failed in many instances.
“Given the nature of a sanitation installation and the fact that these toilets are not under care of a single individual or household in many instances lead to these installations being subjected to vandalism, unhygienic usage and even the theft of water.
“The provision of adequate sanitation is a major challenge on its own, however maintaining this has proven almost impossible under the current model.
This is also one of the primary reasons the City of Windhoek has embarked on an extensive process to review the current model of providing sanitation throughout the spectrum of service provision under the mandate of the organization.
“A second and equally important issue that has become overdue and need to be urgently addressed is the ever increasing shortage of water in the central areas of Namibia.
This situation is seriously straining development and impacting on the ability of the City of Windhoek to expand service delivery to all residents.
The Namibian Government should realise the challenge posed by this and ensure that this is resolved sooner rather than later,” he said.
Meanwhile, countries in Southern Africa like Namibia still have a chance to deliver on renewed promises following the adoption by the world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015.
This agenda includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. The SDGs are built on the MDGs that ended last year. And the universal access to clean drinking water and sanitation is one Sustainable Development Goals.
However it is going to be costly to achieve universal access to water and sanitation by 2030, according to Jean-Philippe Bayon, the coordinator for the UNDP-Global Water Solidarity. In blog post on the UNDP official website, Bayon noted US$ 27 billion are needed annually to provide clean water and sanitation by 2030. He said official development assistance (ODA) may covers approximately one third of the target but 17 billion are still missing.
He believes that local and regional authorities like the City of Windhoek, “can contribute to filling the endemic resource gap that cripples water interventions.
I believe local to local cooperation is an important part of the solution but to make it fully effective we need to improve its modus operandi”.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the Southern Times and was retrieved on March 10, 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for educational and information purposes only. The views, thoughts and contents of the article remains those of the author. Please cite the originally source accordingly.
VIENTIANE, March 7 (Xinhua) — An official from International Finance Corporation (IFC) urged Lao government to better understand cumulative river and ecosystem-wide impacts, which was of vital importance to achieving sustainable hydropower projects.
Kate Lazarus, team leader for the Mekong Sustainable Hydropower Program at IFC told Xinhua that the government of Laos has identified hydropower as an important source of income while contributing to poverty reduction and graduation from least developed country status.
“Hydropower investments require lengthy and thorough study to determine project feasibility and impact. The environmental and social impacts from hydropower projects need to be understand and managed. Government policy needs to be continually updated,” Lazarus said.
“With abundant water resources, hydropower, if developed and managed well, hydropower can be shared regionally through wider connectivity of the grid, benefitting neighboring countries,” she added.
The Mekong-side country is expected to have more than 60 generation projects online by 2020 up from the current 38, bringing electrification to 98 percent of the country’s households up from the current 85 percent, according to the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines.
According to the Ministry’s Vision 2030 presented to January’s five-yearly 10th Congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, the country’s installed hydropower capacity by 2030 will be 17,000 megawatts (MW) of which 10,000 are expected to be exported, providing a significant economic and fiscal contribution in the highly import-dependent country.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the ShanghaiDaily on and was retrieved on March 10, 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views, comments and contents of the article remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.
Global miner BHP Billiton and Indonesian partner PT Adaro are developing what could become the single largest mine in Indonesia in terms of land area, with BHP owning 75 per cent.
The IndoMet mine complex in Central and East Kalimantan provinces on Borneo comprises seven coal concessions, which cover 350,000 hectares, or about five times the size of Singapore.
In total, the area has an estimated 1.27 billion metric tonnes of coal resources, according to Adaro, mainly coking coal used to make steel.
In detailed responses to questions, BHP says it is making progress on developing the first mine in the complex, called Haju. Infrastructure development is underway, including road works and a port along the Barito River. Haju is planned to produce one million metric tonnes of coal per year.
Haju mine itself will cover 660 hectares and initial production is expected in 2015, BHP says.
IndoMet mine complex in Central and East Kalimantan provinces on Borneo comprises seven coal concessions, which cover 350,000 hectares, or about five times the size of Singapore
The company says the current area covered by the seven concessions will be reduced over time and returned to the government, in line with regulations that mandate 50 per cent of the exploration area be returned within a set timeframe. That means the mandated maximum holding of the total area of the seven concessions is expected to be no more than about 175,000 hectares, BHP says.
Conservation groups, such as the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (or Walhi) fear the project will cause widespread deforestation in an area of the province that still has large areas of rainforest.
“It is expected that only a fraction of this area will be actively mined at any given time, about 5,000 hectares. Additionally, there are other restrictions on how much of this can be used, for example under forestry laws,” BHP said.
“The total area required for the Haju Mine is 660 hectares, all of which is overlapped by logging concessions. Not all of this will need to be cleared. Where possible the Haju Mine project will make use of existing logging roads, with only 7.5 kilometers (5 miles) of new road required outside the mine area to join an existing road network,” BHP said.
According to the company, an environmental and social impact assessment was approved in 2006. In addition, biodiversity and water management plans have been implemented for the Haju project. Regular monitoring of air and water quality, noise, river sediment, aquatic life, terrestrial fauna and flora in the Haju area will be carried out, the company says, along with extensive engagement with local communities.
BHP says it is supporting conservation initiatives, starting with a two-year project with Fauna and Flora International. Part of this project includes funding for an orangutan reintroduction program managed by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF). This program helps orangutans that have been displaced from their habitat in other parts of Central Kalimantan.
The company says it funded the construction of a quarantine facility for up to 50 orangutans at the BOSF Nyaru Menteng Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Central Kalimantan and has been involved in the safe release of more than 260 orangutans into the wild.
The mine is hundreds of kilometers from the coast and will rely on barges to transport the coal to a port for loading onto ships. This is costly and river transport is available for about nine months of the year because of fluctuating water levels.
A $2.3 billion coal railway to the coast is being considered by the central and provincial governments, but it is unclear if BHP and Adaro would be customers.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by Eco-Business on retrieved on March 9, 2016 and shared here for information and educational purposes only. The views, contents and materials used in this article remains those of the author. Please cite the original source accordingly.
Organised by Proforest, which is leading the Initiative on behalf of Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020, the workshop was held in collaboration with the Government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The workshop, the first of its kind would help plan the regional initiative process leading towards signing a regional Accord at the Ministerial level on responsible palm oil production later in 2016.
The TFA 2020 is a public–private partnership bringing together companies, governments and civil society with a shared goal of reducing tropical deforestation across the globe.
Its focus is on agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy, pulp and paper, and beef products, which drive more than 50 per cent of such deforestation.
Speaking at the opening session, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the TAF 2020 was part of the important process of ensuring that oil palm was produced in a way that protects the environment, bring benefits to communities, provide a conducive atmosphere for industry and businesses to grow, while contributing to Ghana’s growing economy.
He said it was the belief of the Government that the development of oil palm could be done in a more sustainable manner to help reduce the negative impacts.
Dr Alhassan said it was important that palm oil refiners, manufacturers and other actors who influenced the sector directly and indirectly come together to find ways of reducing the likely negative impacts and increase its benefits.
“We believe this can be done by joining forces with allies who share the same vision and who are ready to forge strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships to work towards set goals,” he said.
Oil Palm is known to have originated in Africa. Its cultivation has hitherto been on a small scale – primarily as village low-yield multi-crop stands.
According to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) smallholders account for 70–90% of oil palm producers in Africa.
“As we learn from ourselves and share ideas, it is my hope that we not only develop but find constructive ways of supporting the implementation of a set of regional principles for responsible oil palm development that take account of the development plans of our respective countries and Africa as a whole,” Dr Alhassan said.
“Oil palm development is about our people, our livelihood, heritage, our economy and ultimately our legacy. We don’t owe its sustainable growth only to the over six million people whose livelihood depends on it, or the consumers all over the world whose lives a better because of the oil palm but to posterity,” he added.
He said closing the gaps in the sector and producing oil palm sustainably would require concerted efforts from governments, regional bodies, research institutions, private financiers, investors, and technocrats, to ensure the proper understanding and utilization of oil palm.
Mr Abraham Baffoe, Africa Regional Director Proforest, said the workshop sought to build a shared understanding of TFA 2020 and the Africa Palm Oil Initiative and share ideas and experiences on promoting deforestation-free supply chains as a vital element of better economic growth and making progress towards the Global Goals.
It will also update stakeholders on progress made in the initial focal countries and develop a framework for a set of regional principles for sustainable palm oil in Africa, including a timeline for reaching a regional agreement.
Six leading palm oil producing countries in Africa including Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana are engaged in the Initiative.
Other producer countries are expected to join this first regional workshop, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
Article Disclaimer: This article was published by News Ghana and retrieved on March 8, 2016 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The contents in the article remains those of the author only. Please cite the original source accordingly.