Monthly Archives: October 2016

500+ Convene in Côte d’Ivoire for Focus on Sustainability at World Cocoa Foundation Partnership Meeting

$12 Million in New Funding Announced for Farmer Support Programs; Call to Action on Regional Threat Posed by Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, Oct. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), in collaboration with Le Conseil du Café-Cacao, convened its annual Partnership Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer of cocoa. More than 500 representatives from the global chocolate and cocoa sector, including farmers, as well as international donor groups and civil society organizations and other key cocoa-producing countries such as Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana and Nigeria, gathered to address critical sustainability issues confronting the cocoa sector. Among the featured speakers were Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan, First Lady Dominique Ouattara, and newly appointed WCF President Richard Scobey.

In remarks that opened the meeting, Prime Minister Duncan highlighted four key challenges to sustainability in the sector, namely improving cocoa productivity, mitigating the effects of climate change and fighting deforestation, improving farmers’ incomes and boosting value-added processing of cocoa before it leaves Ivorian shores.

According to Scobey, “It was very exciting to see the growing alignment and commitment among all of the actors in the cocoa supply chain on the issues, namely sustainable livelihoods, deforestation and empowerment of women and protection of children in cocoa-growing communities. On some issues, such as protection of children and women’s empowerment, we have a good understanding of what’s needed, whereas in other areas, such as deforestation and sustainable livelihoods, we need to do more work to understand better the context and then try different solutions.”

Ivorian First Lady Dominique Ouattara addressed head-on the issue of protecting children from illegal forms of work. She applauded industry efforts to build and provide materials to dozens of schools in cocoa-growing communities. She also announced plans by the Ivorian government to build more than 4,500 classrooms and 37 secondary schools in cocoa-growing areas, in addition to cross-border cooperation on the child labor issue with neighboring countries in West Africa.

In contrast to past years’ meetings, the discussions in Abidjan revealed a growing level of trust and commitment to work together among the different supply chain stakeholders. CocoaAction, industry’s voluntary sustainability strategy, was cited as a strong framework for accelerating cooperation between the chocolate and cocoa industry and governments, donors and others. Early results of CocoaAction, launched two years ago, were provided by more than a dozen speakers from farmer groups, certifying bodies, donors, civil society, governments and industry. In conjunction with the discussions, WCF released its first-ever CocoaAction annual report, which covers the strategy’s progress through 2015. A second report will be released in 2017.

During the Partnership Meeting, WCF and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Feed the Future program announced African Cocoa Initiative II, a five-year, $12 million effort to increase production of quality cocoa planting materials and provide services to cocoa farmers in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. WCF also convened regional cocoa research scientists and government cocoa regulatory agencies to address the growing impact of Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus (CSSV), a disease fatal to cocoa trees that was first detected in Ghana in the 1930s and now threatens the crop across the West African region. Participants broadly agreed that a regional action plan is urgently needed to control the spread of CSSV.

Scobey said of the week’s discussions, “There was a strong endorsement of a shared vision for an inclusive cocoa future, where the focus is on sustainable livelihoods for farmers, a better-protected planet, and prosperous businesses, from the farm level through to the chocolate maker, that create jobs and value.” The meeting underscored the importance of innovation, and showcased a number of new products, services and technologies that support transformation of the cocoa supply chain. WCF also announced specific commitments to deepen partnership with civil society organizations, international financial organizations and cocoa producing countries’ governments.

To learn more about World Cocoa Foundation, please visit www.worldcocoafoundation.org.

About World Cocoa Foundation
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) is an international membership organization that promotes sustainability in the cocoa sector. WCF provides cocoa farmers with the support they need to grow more quality cocoa and socially and economically strengthen their communities. WCF’s members include cocoa and chocolate manufacturers, processors, supply chain managers, and other companies worldwide, representing more than 80 percent of the global cocoa market. WCF’s programs benefit farmers and their communities in cocoa-growing regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. For more information, visit www.worldcocoafoundation.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson hands over Newcastle Buyback and Play Parks Project, 2 Nov

The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, will officially hand over a Waste Buyback Centre and Recreational Play Parks to the Newcastle Community at the Osizweni Community Hall, Newcastle KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday 2 November 2016.

The Department of Environmental Affairs, through its Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme has funded the two projects in the Newcastle Local Municipality to the tunes of R19 million. The implementation of these projects created 240 job opportunities to the members of the local communities. The Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme is part of the department’s Extended Public Works Programme.

Despite a total estimated value of R25 billion to the South African economy, the current rate of waste recycling has not been maximized. The buyback facility will assist the Municipality to address the challenge of waste management and promote waste recycling in the area. The facility will help stimulate diversion of recyclable waste from landfill sites, thereby creating economic opportunities for waste collectors. The four community recreational parks have been built to benefit disadvantaged area, with a focus on sustainable development in the greening and open space management areas.

The implementation of these projects provided beneficiaries with training opportunities in various fields including occupational health and safety, as well as personal financial management. These skills will assist beneficiaries to become employable elsewhere in the future.

Source: Government of South Africa

Environmental Affairs hosts pre-CoP stakeholder consultation, 1 Nov

Department of Environmental Affairs hosts stakeholder consultation in preparation for International Climate Change Talks in Morocco

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, will host a pre-CoP Stakeholder Consultation in preparation for the 22nd Conference of Parties (CoP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria on 1 November 2016.

The purpose of the stakeholder consultation is to consolidate South Africa’s position for the climate change negotiations towards CoP22, being held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 7 to 18 November 2016.

The stakeholder consultation will provide information, and update, on the status of international negotiations in the UNFCCC, highlight South Africa’s expectations from CoP22, as well as raise public awareness around climate change and climate change response efforts.

Media are invited to attend.

Details:

Date: Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Time: 8h00 – 15h30

Venue: Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria.

To RSVP contact:

Daniel Boya

Tel: 012 399 9987

Cell: 074 380 0764

Email: dboya@environment.gov.za

Eleanor Momberg

Tel: 012 399 9948

Cell: 083 400 5741

Email: emomberg@environment.gov.za

Source: Government of South Africa

NSFAS applicants urged to sign agreements

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has called on students, who have applied for NSFAS, to immediately sign their loan agreement forms (LAFs) and schedules of particulars (SOP) at their respective universities.

NSFAS Executive Officer Msulwa Daca said due to the recent student protests on campuses, students have applied for NSFAS but have not signed the LAF and SOP forms.

We are calling on these students to sign their LAFs and SOPs at their respective universities as soon as possible. This is particularly important because NSFAS will not be able to process tuition payments for students who have not signed their agreements.

This will affect their 2017 registration, as outstanding debt would need to be cleared by that time. If you are a NSFAS funded student now and have not sign your agreement form as yet, please do so before end of November, said Daca.

Daca said NSFAS is also under pressure from funders, who want to fund students that are doing well academically and complete their studies on record time.

We have this enormous pressure because of the kind of model we use to incentivise our students. We convert 40% of the loans we give each year into bursaries for students who pass and then give 100% bursaries during their final year of study, provided they meet the graduation requirements.

All learners who are financially needy are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity before applications close on 30 November 2016.

In order to apply, students must visit the NSFAS website: www.nsfas.org.za, where they will be required to register a personal account on the myNSFAS portal. The account will allow a student to log in using their username and password to check the progress of their applications and funding.

Source: South African Government News Agency

South African Local Government Association on World Cities Day

SALGA joins the world to mark World Cities Day 2016

The United Nations has designated every 31st of October as World Cities Day to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, and to push forward cooperation among countries in contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. South African Local Government Association (SALGA) wishes to join the world in celebrating the World Cities Day 2016.

Cities represent the most promising sites for governance reforms and innovation to tackle rising inequality, intensifying environmental stress and vulnerability, continued economic crisis, increasing conflict and unprecedented technological opportunity.

Throughout the world, cities are growing at an exponential rate. As complexities grow, SALGA is assisting municipalities to become smart cities, to be more critical and fully grasp the challenges and opportunities presented by urbanisation. Helping municipalities to develop their capacities to innovate, share best practices and knowledge management is part of SALGA’s mandate.

SALGA National Chairperson Councillor Parks Tau was recently elected to the Presidency of United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), the global representative voice of organised local government. UCLG is a significant player on the global stage and is poised to become even more important in relation to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs).

World Cities Day 2016 is celebrated under the theme Inclusive Cities, Shared Development highlighting the important role of urbanisation as a source of global development and social inclusion. This year’s theme is embraced by the action and implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which is putting the topic of inclusive cities as one of the main pillars for the urban shift.

Source: Government of South Africa