Sunday, 7 June 2015

CLIMATE CRISIS: WHO WILL ACT


Heavy Clouds over a Wheat Field
From rising sea levels to changes in crop patterns, from extreme weather events to changing economies, climate change will affect us all.  For our generation, the decisions being made on climate change in our countries now will affect our future. Climate change is the mother of all conservation battles. It has implications for species extinctions, changes in vegetation, migration patterns of insects and birds, and much more, it threatens us humans too. 

Climate change is considered to be a critical global challenge and recent events have demonstrated the world’s growing vulnerability to climate change. The impacts of climate change range from affecting agriculture to further endangering food security, to rising sea-levels and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction and the spread of vector-borne diseases, thus turning millions of people into refugees.

Every year 192 countries come together to meet and negotiate a new climate change deal.  This December 2015, World leaders are due to agree a new international climate deal in France, Paris. We all have an opportunity to change our world. We can use this opportunity to make a decision to demand better climate change deals for our own countries.

The international climate conference will be held at the Le Bourget site from 30 November to 11 December 2015. This will be the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 11th session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP 11) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Leadership of the negotiations is yet to be determined.
World Global Warming
On the road to Paris 2015; HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE THE WORLD LEADERS TO TAKE BOLD ACTION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE? HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT THE MOST VULNERABLE ARE HEARD AND PART OF THE SOLUTION? HOW CAN YOUNG PEOPLE SPARK THE POLITICAL MOMENTUM NEEDED?

If countries are serious about coming to a global agreement in the next few years, then they will need young people behind them to participate in the solutions, promote renewable energy, and take up green jobs.  This is only going to happen if young people are included in decision-making and if young people receive good education and training on climate change.

ꞌIt’s not just an issue of who benefits but also who pays the price. Several people say that, while the richest benefit from development, the poorest pay the harshest price for climate change-related damagesꞌ.

I can only hope for concrete solutions and real agreements from all parties that will make the climate deal agreement at COP21 in Paris a historically good one. I hope to see our Zambian Government, Civil Societies and the Youth to advocate and demand for commitments that are JUST, EQUITABLE AND POWER-FULL CLIMATE AGREEMENTS.




Friday, 29 May 2015

RESOURCE BLESSING, RESOURCE CURSE: LARGE SCALE NATURAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION

The extractive industries have the potential to significantly transform environments, communities and economies. At times, such transformation may manifest in conflicts or disputes between a resource developer and local communities, or even complete breakdown of the company’s social license to operate with associated costs for the company, local communities, and the broader public.

Large-scale natural resource extraction can only be met with the support of strong institutions engaged in the legislative process, monitoring compliance and environmental management practices, and promoting transparency. Without strong and committed institutions filling this role, the ꞌꞌRESOURCE BLESSINGꞌꞌ threatens to become a ꞌꞌRESOURCE CURSEꞌꞌ.
Smelting Works of a Copper Mine in Zambia
Exploiting the natural resources of a country is a powerful method for growing a nation’s economy and building the human, physical, and social capital needed for real national development. However if the sector is mismanaged and exploitation proceeds carelessly, natural resource extraction can be accompanied by increased corruption and reduced transparency, sow national disharmony, fuel economic inequality, and lead to irreparable environmental damage which poisons the source of peoples’ livelihoods for generations.

The enormous economic opportunity presented by these natural resource endowments has raised proportionally large concerns for sustainable environmental governance, revenue management, public health, community compensation and inter-generational justice.

Indeed many concerns are raised and I personally feel that, these concerns can be dealt with if we have many people/activists/CSOs/corporating partners that love and are interested in natural resources and deeply concerned about it’s destruction. People who are concerned with what the big corporations are doing in the name of making more profits but in the long run create more environmental problems and continue exploiting that which poor countries are endowed with.
Emerald Mining In Zambia
We need more activists, advocates and CSOs that are keen in ensuring that our environment is protected. For far too long the world’s poorest people have seen no benefit from the vast natural resources in their own backwards. It is time to end the injustice where ordinary people are silent witnesses, left to suffer without basic services, as the profits from their countries assets are hidden and plundered by corrupt regimes.

The power to save our natural resources and Zambia rests with the Zambian people. Remember that plans to protect air, water, soil, wilderness, wildlife and natural resources are in-fact plans to protect man.


We have fought for social justice. We have fought for economic justice. We have fought for gender justice. We have fought for Criminal Justice. Now we must add a new fight – the fight for environmental and climate justice.

Monday, 3 February 2014

AN INJUNCTION GRANTED HALTING MINING PROSPECTS IN THE LOWER ZAMBEZI NATIONAL PARK

The Lusaka High Court has granted the Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum (CBRM) an injunction halting mining prospects in the Lower Zambia National Park. CBNRM is a forum with membership of not less than 100 Community Based and Civil Society Organisations in Zambia. The injunction was successful lodged on Friday the 31st January, 2014, after the release of Six Environmental Activists who had been peacefully demonstrating outside the Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka where a COMESA member countries – Western Australian Business Development Meeting was taking place and was graced by His. Hon. The Vice president of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Guy Scott. The activists who arrived at the Pamodzi Hotel around 07:30hours with placards, were picked by the Zambia Police Force at about 11:00hours for questioning and were realised at about 1pm without a charge but with a "WARNING AND A CAUTION".  The are namely; Chimambo representing the Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN), Ziba representing the Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM), Emanuel representing the Green Earth Movement (GEM), Mathew representing the Zambia Youth Climate Change Forum(ZYCCF), Boniface and Maggie representing the Centre for Environment Justice(CEJ). During the protest, it was clearly stated that; "AN INJUNCTION BE GRANTED BY THE HIGH COURT".  I must say, am extremely happy with this progress, but this is the first legal step to what will be a long legal battle. We all therefore, need to be in this for the long haul. 

The Zambia CBNRM Forum revealed that the developer would transport all the copper concentrate from the mine site to smelters on the Copperbelt, ‘moving 160 tonnes of concentrates per day using 6×30 tonne trucks. This is likely to lead increased pressure on and damage to roads. In addition, this has a very high risk of hazard waste spillage and increases accident risks throughout the transportation route’. It is also surprising that a mining license was issued before the EIA was approved by ZEMA and also the issue of ZAWA involvement as provided by the ZAWA policy of 1998.
Ø  31 August 2012,  ZEMA reported on the EIA: Lower Zambezi National Park Mining
The development of the Kangaluwi mining operation will be over a period of two and a half years and see the construction of a 90,000 tonnes per annum copper sulphide concentrator and maintenance workshops, fuel storage depots, mining facilities, tailings storage and water storage facilities for a mine production of about 8 million tonnes per annum, a waste rock dump, water supply facilities (most water will be supplied through various as, yet not defined and finalized dewatering schemes) and administration offices. The site access road will be upgraded to provide secure access to all mining and processing areas throughout the year. Additional infrastructure required will include cooking and sleeping facilities at sites, waste facilities and a self sustained camp.  Apart from the stated components above, other items, including offices, accommodation for employees and sewer treatment facilities are not considered under the scope of this report. They will be subject to a different study when the feasibility is conducted on the appropriate designs and also sites for the infrastructures.
1.      The Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) will be located in the Zambezi escarpment. The area is prone to earthquakes and it is therefore risky to put up a TSF as the chances of failure are high. If the TSF was to fail, the impact would be significant and would extend to neighbouring countries.
2.      The mine is located about 30 km from the Mana Pools World Heritage Site in Zimbabwe. Any possible failure of TSF or abnormal discharge of effluent would affect negatively the World Heritage Site.
3.      The issue of Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) and consequently the metal leaching has not been addressed. The EIS states that level 112m to 116m contains material that has the potential to generate acid and yet no mitigation measures both in the short and long term have been outlined. The impact of ARD would be significant especially after the mine has been closed.
4.      The proposed site is not suitable for the nature of the project since it is located in the middle of a national park. The adverse impact of open pit mining would therefore permanently destroy the landscape of the Park, thereby reducing the tourism value of the Lower Zambezi National Park. Lower Zambezi National Park is one of the four major national parks according to the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) which earns the country a lot of money.
5.      The footprint of the mine would increase when the road is widened and the power line is constructed. The integrity of the national park will therefore be compromised and in the long term the ecological value would be affected.
6.      The estimate of mine life is not based on verifiable facts as the EIS is full of contradictions. The benefits from the mining operations may be for a very short period of time but the consequences may be far more reaching.
In July 2013 the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism for the Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly of Zambia (September 2012 - July 2013) declared:
Ø  Your Committee recommends that the proposed mining project at Kangaluwi in the Lower Zambezi be rejected for the following reasons: (i) the mining license that Mwembeshi Resources holds was issued without following the requirements of the law and procedure and is invalid and should be revoked; (ii) there should be no mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park which should be reserved and preserved as a conservation area and heritage for purposes of tourism development; (iii) the Government should ensure that the issuance of mining licenses follows the legal and laid down procedures; further, the work of the inter-Ministerial Committee should be strengthened.
On 17 January 2014, Minister Harry Kalaba of Lands etc wrote to Chambeshi Resources - the Zambezi Resources subsidiary, informing them that he had upheld their appeal of 19 September 2012 against the ZEMA rejection of the mining. Minister Harry Kalaba made it clear that he accepted the word of the Australian miners that the 250 sq. km. mining operation with its four mines (two open-pit) and the daily removal of ore in massive trucks to the Copperbelt would provide employment, that technology could deal with the negative effects, and that wildlife management would be enhanced by the management scheme suggested in the appeal – a scheme not made available for public appraisal.  
This legal battle should not only address the Lower Zambezi National Park Mining scandal but to take advantage and highlight the other environmental challenges that Zambia`s natural environment and wildlife is faced with as a result of poor legislature and selfish leadership. Zambia`s wildlife, game reserves, national parks, minerals and natural resources are under siege sadly at the hands of our political leaders who take oath to protect and defend the latter.
I am still repeating my statement in the previous article; "I strongly believe that, Africa’s brightest economies at the moment are not being driven by this damaging mining practice (sector), but by food production e.g Kenya, Rwanda etc. We need a new approach, we can’t get wealthy at the expense of our environment and we still must live with the environment".
Zambia can still create thousands of Jobs in the Agriculture and Tourism Sector!!!
'STOP THE LOWER ZAMBEZI MINING - HEAVEN FOR WILDLIFE AND BIODIVERSITY'

Saturday, 25 January 2014

IN A TWIST OF PAINFUL INEVITABILITY: ZAMBIA TURNING INTO A NIGHTMARE


Elephants Crossing the Lower Zambezi

It was like a dream that turned to be true. You don’t need an environmental impact assessment to inform you that it’s wrong to mine in the middle of a National Park. Other than the obvious ecological negatives, It is a burgeoning tourism paradise with massive long term economic value; a spiritual home-land for thousands of Zambians and a heaven for wildlife and biodiversity. The Lower Zambezi has massive breeding herds of elephants, lion, leopard and large herds of buffalo roaming the floodplains. It’s just simply wrong to dig up a legally proclaimed conservation area and in a process to be considered as a World Heritage Site.  

Zambian politicians often talk about foreign companies as ‘investors’ in their country, and companies themselves present their presence in Zambia as a benevolent effort to create jobs, even at their own loss. This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. Extractive industries come to Zambia to take advantage of low taxes and liberal policies which allow them to ruthlessly loot and exploit the natural resources, leaving behind corruption, environmental and social damage which their minimal tax contributions don’t come close to compensating.
In 2011, an Australian mining Zambezi Resource Limited had submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA). ZEMA is a Professional Institution full of experts that is mandated and entrusted by the Zambian Government to ensure the protection of our environment and our people. The response was as follows;
“The proposed site is not suitable for the nature of the project because it is located in the middle of a national park and thus intends to compromise the ecological value of the park as well as the ecosystem.”
Surprisingly, On 17 January 2014, the Zambian PF government through Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection overlooked the ZEMA position and advice despite a fully rejected EIA and gave full permission to Zambezi Resource Limited for an open cast copper mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park. What does this mean for Zambia? What are the benefits to the Zambian people? How many jobs will be created from this project? What is wrong with our government not to trust its own experts (ZEMA)???
The truth is, even if there were major benefits to ordinary Zambians of mining copper in the Lower Zambezi National Park, what is clear is that these benefits are not even close to being realized. Critically thinking; Large-scale open pit mining uses explosives and heavy earthmoving equipment nothing like as labour intensive as the proponents would like us to believe.
"There are very few benefits of mining in the Lower Zambezi National park that will trump the long term environmental, economic-from tourism, spiritual and cultural losses incurred over the next 25 years of large-scale open pit mining on the Zambezi escarpment."
I want to tell the Mining Companies and the Zambian government that, Not every Blank space you see on our map is "NEW COPPER PROVINCE" in Zambia, NO!! How can we justify bending the rules to this extent for the purpose of short-term gain for the few???? Does this Australian company have the right to apply financial muscle in Zambia and Africa? As a prospecting company, are they simply going to sell off the rights to a Chinese investor once the battle is won? Who takes responsibility for the damage at the end of it all? Where is a summary of the plan to mitigate damage?
I strongly believe that, Africa’s brightest economies at the moment are not being driven by this damaging mining practice, but by food production. We need a new approach, we can’t get wealthy at the expense of our environment and we still must live with the environment. I am calling upon all activist, advocates and negotiators at both National and International Level, to continue talking and signing petitions until the Zambian Patriotic Front Government Reverses the Endorsement of the Zambezi Resource Limited from mining in the Lower Zambezi and respect the advice of the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) a professional institution full of experts that is mandated and entrusted by the Zambian Government to ensure the protection of our environment and our people.

'STOP THE LOWER ZAMBEZI MINING - HEAVEN FOR WILDLIFE AND BIODIVERSITY'

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

KK’s ENDORSEMENT OF THE $2BN FQM’s SENTINEL MINE IS A NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE AT THE COST OF PRO-POOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE


 Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda – Zambia`s First Republican President and the National`s Political Father 

The Zambia National Environment is a symbol of how narrow economic growth interests impose more costs than benefits on both people and ecosystems whose destructive history is today’s instructive scientific lesson. This has proved to be, so far, an unbeatable challenge to control it by any means of either manual, mechanical, chemical or biological methods.

Country Men and Women, Zambia is among the richest countries in Africa in terms of Natural Resources: land, water, agriculture, minerals, tourist sites and peace. Zambia has experienced Peace for the last 49 years of Independence with 73 tribes living together without ethnic conflict. We are the envy of our neighbours. Zambia is such a rich country, but with some of the poorest people in the world.

I write as a concerned youth to try and understand what really motivated the First president and Father of the Nation Dr. Kenneth Kaunda a Freedom fighter and symbol of hope for the poor to endorse a project that have NOT been approved by either the community and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA). ZEMA is a Professional Institution that is mandated and entrusted by the Zambian Government to ensure the protection of our environment and our people. And having studied some information from ActionAid, EITA, Musele Community Task Force, Benchmarks Foundation, Centre for Environment Justice, Civil Societies in Zambia and Stakeholders meeting that have been going on in Solwezi, it is clear to those who care for the Environment and driven by morality and Justice that FQM/KLM have violated the Protection Order by carrying out projects at that site. It is very evident that FQM/KML project is a very big threat to the people’s land rights and security of tenure that will not only affect the Musele Community but the entire country as evident in other mining towns. Also the proposed land for the project, amounts to social and economic sabotage of both the present and the future generations of NOT only Musele Community but the entire Country.

In May, 2013, Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) issued and Environmental Protection Order pursuant to Section 104 of the Environmental Management Act (EMA) No. 12 of 2011 to First Quantum Minerals (FQM) who are the proponents of Kalumbila Minerals Limited in order to stop the illegal action by Kalumbila to construct the Chisola Dam. Kalumbila Minerals Limited had commenced construction of the Chisola dam without the necessary approvals from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).

Kalumbila Minerals Limited irregularly obtained 50,000ha of land for their project from Chief Musele in Solwezi District and after concerns were raised regarding authorisation of such a vast amount of land and compensation and resettlement issues of the people in the chiefdom that would be affected by Kalumbila projects. For this reason, ZEMA suspended the process of construction of the proposed Chisola Dam and associated projects so that the raised concerns and illegalities could be addressed.

On 14th February, 2013, the Ministerial Committee, sitting at a public meeting in Solwezi, Chaired by Honourable Professor Nkandu Luo, made a public declaration to the Kalumbila Mine Project Land dispute. They informed the nation that First Quantum (FQM) had irregularly obtained excessive land from Senior Chief Musele, on account of which the Agreement was declared null and Void.

The main issues in contentions between FQM/KML and the local communities have been brought to the attention of the Ministerial Committee and are contained in the Submission Report. These hot issues include land rights, security tenure, displacement/resettlement, environmental concerns, reparation and compensation, terms and conditions of Agreement, etc. 

Zambia should take a leaf from countries like DR Congo and Botswana, who have firm and just moral obligations when it comes to invest vs protecting the interest of the local people and general development.
On the 8th October, 2013 as reported by Zambian Media (ZNBC and Post Newspaper), the Father of the Nation Dr. Kenneth Kaunda during his visit to Kalumbila mine based in the Heart of His Royal Highness Senior Chief Musele in Solwezi District endorsed the $2Billion construction of the FQM sentinel mine with the following sentiments;

1.      He urged government to remove all impediments to the projects
2.      He also urged government to issue title deeds for surface rights to Kalumbila Minerals Limited
3.   He promised to do FQM/KML a favour by putting pressure on the current president of Zambia His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata to quickly issue title deeds.
  
My questions are;
Ø  Has Dr Kaunda found time to engage with the affected communities and understand their concerns?
Ø  Has Dr Kaunda found time to engage with ZEMA and understand how they reached on the Protection Order?
Ø  Has Dr. Kaunda forgotten that him being a states man he requires to give a firm and fair position than siding with the Company?
Ø  Has Dr Kaunda understood the Unreversable Environmental Impacts of the Project on Zambia for many years to come?
Ø  What is the motivation for Dr. Kaunda to side with FQM without even get the side of the community who are directly affected under this irresponsible project?