East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group
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April 15, 2009


Dear Katoomba Members,

Welcome to the April 2009 edition of the East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group e-newsletter.

Our newsletter aims to keep our readers aware of the latest news and events relating to markets and payments for ecosystem services (PES) in the East and Southern Africa region and around the world.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions, including any articles that you may wish to share with our readers. Please send them by e-mail to aruhweza@forest-trends.org

Yours sincerely

Alice Ruhweza
Coordinator, East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group



1. ESA Katoomba News

2. New PES Related News from the Region

3. Other Related News

4. Upcoming Events

5. Resources & Tools

6. New Publications

ESA Katoomba News


On March 31st 2009, representatives from the Tourism/Hospitality Sector in Kenya, the Coffee Sector in Tanzania and the Tea Sector in Uganda came together at a roundtable hosted by The East and Southern Africa Katoomba Group (ESA KG) in Uganda to assess the potential of businesses in East Africa to engage in markets and payments for ecosystems services. (PES)  The roundtable is part of a survey that the ESA KG has been carrying out in the three East African countries to understand business’ interface with ecosystems and assess opportunities to engage in environmental markets.

The sectors represented at the roundtable all agreed that they need healthy and intact ecosystems (productive land, fertile soils, pristine flora and fauna, clean water.. etc),  for their businesses to succeed. And most of them have introduced measures to reduce harm on the environment and the ecosystems. For example, all companies reported energy saving measures that result in significant emission reductions. Others have engaged in conservation friendly practices that result in biodiversity conservation. However, most of the companies did know know much about PES and were not aware of any market opportunities for their environmental services.

The roundtable concluded with participants calling for more awareness and capacity building about PES. Some individual businesses are interested in taking the survey results further and have asked the ESA KG for assistance in quantifying and marketing their emission reductions – and other environmental services.

  – For more on the ESA KG Business & Ecosystems Initiative including the survey in east Africa, visit



On March 23rd, ESA KG participated in the Advisory Group Meeting for the IFAD Funded Pro Poor Rewards for Environmental Services (PRESA) project. The PRESA project in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Guinea aims to promote healthy landscapes and sustainable rural livelihoods through innovative market-based reward mechanisms; facilitate negotiations between ecosystem stewards and beneficiaries towards fair and effective agreements; engage with a range of stakeholders, to catalyze policy support and private sector participation in environmental service agreements; and build a community of practice across Africa to share lessons, tools and experience, advise local stakeholders, and provide training.

The objective of the IAG meeting was to review the progress of 2008 and also to come up with an annual work programme for 2009. Members agreed, among many other things, to have more exchanges both via e-mail and if possible through teleconference on site level activities, in view of having a PRESA joint statement at the UNFCCC COP 15.

Following the Advisory Group meeting, ESA KG also participated in the intensive 2-week training on Building Ecosystem Services Capacity for semi-Arid Africa (BESSA) organized by PRESA in partnership with the UK-based Macaulay Institute for Land Use Research in Nairobi and Embu, Kenya. The course aimed to strengthen the capacity of ICRAF’s research partners to conduct interdisciplinary research; ecosystem services valuation, trade-off and policy impact studies with training of early-career scientists. It covered topics related to assessment and analysis of the potential for rewards for environmental services to improve ecosystem management and farmer welfare, especially in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania ESA KG and PRESA share common goals and will continue to work together to build a community of PES practice across Africa to share lessons, tools and experience. ESA KG will also disseminate BESSA course-related materials to our members and we are in discussions with partners to organize similar courses for a variety of stakeholders from the public and private sector in East and Southern Africa.

  – For more information about PRESA visit
  – and for the training materials visit


New PES Related News from the Region


Source: Marketwire - February 24, 2009

Carbon Manna Unlimited announced today the initiation of a worldwide strategic-partnering campaign to support the world's first rollout of its cell-phone-based Carbon Micro Credit system in Kenya, to include the town of Kogelo, Kenya, U.S. President Barack Obama's ancestral hometown. The cell-phone-based Carbon Micro Credit system employs SMS (simple message service) and unique identifiers to allow millions of families in the Developing World to claim on a bi-weekly or monthly basis the carbon offsets they produce by using more efficient cooking methods such as a modern charcoal stove or solar cooker, instead of an inefficient open-pit fire burning biomass. As a result, each family is able to monetize directly its own contribution to mitigating global warming, while also reducing nationwide rates of deforestation and desertification.

Each family that cooks more efficiently may claim approximately 3 tons of CO2 offsets/year, which is worth about US$ 20 - 35 when sold in Europe on a regulated or voluntary carbon-offset market. The family also saves far more on fuel -- from US$ 70 - 150/year. For individuals living on less than US$ 1 - 2/day, these earnings and savings are very significant.

Pre-selling tens or hundreds of thousands of tons of bundled Carbon Micro Credits provides the start-up capital needed to buy stoves and cell phones for the participating families, thus making the system self-funding and markets-based. Later the offsets are crowd-sourced by the tens of thousands of families participating in the program. Lastly, validation and auditing protocols will ensure that the offsets were indeed produced.

Invented in April 2008, Carbon Micro Credits are not a form of debt-based microfinance; rather, they provide immediate micro profits to the poor and are therefore similar in concept to frequent flyer miles. They are an asset, not a liability. And like frequent flyer miles, they are a fungible, universal currency and non-inflatable store-of-value.

Companies with a strategic interest in expanding their business in Kenya, East Africa, and later in South & West Africa, are invited to contact Carbon Manna Unlimited's headquarters in San Diego for further details.

Later this year and in 2010, the Carbon Micro Credits system will be rolled out in other East African countries, and subsequently in multiple West and Southern African countries. For major philanthropies that wish to extend their reach in Africa, or companies with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Triple Bottom Line (TBL) programs, the Carbon Micro Credits system provides a novel, rapidly-scalable paradigm for enriching the livelihoods of tens of millions of poor families anywhere in the Developing World.

  – For more on this story visit



African synthetic fuels producer Sasol has applied for carbon credits to replace South African coal with piped-in Mozambican natural gas, under the Clean Development Mechanism. But Earthlife Africa, a non governmental organization (NGO) has filed a formal objection with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to Sasol’s application for CDM credits, questioning whether the project will indeed reduce emissions, and has called for Sasol to withdraw its application. Earthlife Africa questioned the additionality of the project. The area of contention deals with Sasol’s claim that if there wasn’t an option to sell carbon credits, it would not have built the pipeline, qualifying it for the CDM. This ‘additionality’ provision to the project is vital for CDM approval and is only retrospectively applied to projects from January 2000. This means that if you were planning to do a project before 01/01/2000, then you violate the ‘additionality’ clause,” explained the organisation.

Earthlife Africa said that Sasol had already mentioned exploitation of the natural gas fields in Mozambique in an annual report in 1999.

“Not only does Sasol state in the document that it found high quality natural gas in Mozambique (a process that would have begun well before 1999), that it had a use for such gas in its Sasolburg and Secunda plants, that the gas from Mozambique was a “’viable alternative’ to locally mined coal, that it had an external market for the gas, but also that it was planning to build the pipeline. In fact, Sasol had already costed the operation and did not find it prohibitive,” noted Earthilfe Africa energy policy officer Tristen Taylor.

“This marks a cynical attempt to game the CDM system - thus earning billions in revenue and perverse ‘right’ to continue pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” the NGO emphasised.

Sasol’s project would comprise a 645-km natural gas pipeline from the central processing facility in Temane, Mozambique, to the Secunda coal-to-liquids plant in South Africa, and include the required gas conversion and processing technology, and the development of natural gas fields in Mozambique.

  – For more on this story visit



Bonn/Nairobi, 1 April 2009 - On the occasion of the first anniversary of the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), DHL Express, the world's leading express delivery company, sent its first carbon neutral express shipments from Africa. The trophies, which are made of recycled glass, with recycled metal stands, were shipped from Nairobi, Kenya, to the 86 cities, associations and companies around the world that currently form UNEP's CN NET - www.unep.org/climateneutral.

DHL expanded its service offering to temporarily include GOGREEN services, which are currently not part of the standard DHL portfolio for Africa. Through its GOGREEN service DHL Express offers carbon-neutral shipping to its customers, thereby meeting the demand for more environmentally responsible products and services. Using two custom built tools - a Carbon Calculation system (patented) and a Carbon Management system (patented), DHL can assess the carbon emissions created by a customer's shipment, identify the most appropriate abatement projects, coordinate the offsetting of emissions, and then, in conjunction with an independent third party, issue certificates that detail the annual carbon offset data for that customer. Customers can use these certificates to prove their contribution to countering the effects of climate change.

The Climate Neutral Network was established to assist those interested in achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to reach their goals, by making public the inspiring plans and strategies that pioneering partners have drawn up in order to achieve climate neutrality and encouraging them to publicize their achievements-and challenges-via regular up-dates of the web pages. Also, it is a forum through which companies that aspire to climate neutrality may network and learn more about how to plan their own emissions reductions. Moreover, by acting as an honest broker, CN Net brings developed and developing countries together to green the development path and support the Millennium Development Goals.

The long-term aim of CN Net is to address the reduction of all greenhouse gases, including the six that fall under the Kyoto Protocol, and others covered by treaties such as the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

  – For more on this story visit



Source: Reuters; March 27 2009

South Africa, the largest emitter of carbon dioxide on the continent, expects to build its first pilot plant for the capture and storage of emissions by 2020. Carbon capture storage has been identified as one of the ways to mitigate the country's greenhouse gas emissions. The government-led agency in charge of the process, the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI), said it had already secured 25 million rand ($2.65 million) for the centre for the next five years.

The signatories include petrochemicals group Sasol, state-owned utility Eskom, together responsible for more than half of the country's emissions, which altogether amount to more than 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Other partners include the British and Norwegian government, miner Anglo American's coal unit, diversified miner Exxaro, and Xstrata Coal

South Africa, Africa's largest emitter and 12th in the world, depends on coal for 90 percent of its power. SANERI said 60 percent of South Africa's emissions are potentially capturable. A study to identify the possible storage capacity is expected to be completed by April 2010, with a commercial decision for the demonstration plant to be made by 2016

  – For more on this story visit


Other Related News


By Helene C. Muller-Landau1
Nature 457, 969-970 (19 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/457969a
Published online 18 February 2009; updated 6 March 2009

African forests are adding to their mass each year by an amount equivalent to a small car per hectare, researchers have found. The finding has surprised researchers and confirms the forests' status as one of the world's substantial carbon sinks. Researchers used data collected between 1968 and 2007 to calculate that 0.6 tonnes of carbon per hectare are added to African forests each year. While this has been shown in the Amazon, this is the first demonstration that African forests are taking in carbon. This means that African forests are still growing and not in equilibrium — where tree death and growth occur at the same rate — as was previously thought.

There are two possible explanations for this. One is that the forests suffered disturbances — such as fires or mass logging — in the past, from which they are still recovering and therefore still growing. Alternatively, changes in the global climate and atmosphere could have disturbed the forests' previous equilibrium. Increased carbon dioxide could be increasing tropical tree growth for example.

It is likely that both theories have a role to play, but scientists need a better understanding of carbon dynamics in tropical forests to know the answer, writes Helene C. Muller-Landau of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, who wrote a commentary article in Nature.

 The research also highlights the need to protect African forests, write the authors of the Nature paper, led by Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds, UK. "With adequate protection these forests are likely to remain large carbon stores in the longer term. Securing this service will probably require formalising and enforcing land rights for forest dwellers, alongside payments for ecosystem services to those living near forested areas."

  – For the full article visit



Source: African Journal of Biotechnology
By Munyaradzi Makoni and Christina Scott

Lack of local research is preventing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa producing energy from waste, according to a report in the African Journal of Biotechnology.  The region has abundant raw materials for producing biogas. Waste and polluted water from industry — including slaughterhouse remnants, animal dung and sewage — can be converted into carbon dioxide and methane through anaerobic digestion. The biogas can be used for cooking and vehicle fuel, and the waste product as a fertilizer. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of pollutants contaminating rivers and landfills and lowers the demand for wood and charcoal, both of which are implicated in climate change and respiratory illnesses. But a recent assessment of efforts to research and apply biogas technology says production plants are not widespread because biogas research is impeded by poor infrastructure, a lack of human resources, and a lack of funding for the purchase and maintenance of essential equipment and running costs. The technology to produce biogas for farms and households has been in use in Africa for three decades but high maintenance costs are restrictive, says Mshandete. Smaller plants, which typically power households or schools, can be of ''poor technical quality'', are ''not reliable and have poor performance in most cases'', the report found. These smaller plants, found in many countries including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Lesotho, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia, were often installed by nongovernmental organisations. Instead, the authors recommend investment in large-scale fermentation plants which can take more than 100 cubic metres of waste at a time, as found in Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. For example, a pilot project running since July 2006 in Tanzania's Korogwe district can yield 150 kilowatts of electricity from sisal waste, enough to provide power to a rural community, says Mshandete. But researchers must determine which locally available materials are most appropriate to fuel such plants and investigate how to optimise the process, say the authors. For this they suggest joint research programmes between African and developed countries, which should also explore technology, transfer.

  – For the full article visit



South Africa's parliament passed a set of tax incentives in their December 2008 Revenue Laws Amendment Act which provide financial incentives for biodiversity stewardship and conservation.  Three levels of incentives are available, with higher tax breaks for greater / longer conservation.  The highest tax break is an income tax deduction equal to 10% of the value of the land each year for putting land into a minimum 99-year contract as a Nature Reserve or National Park.  Tax incentives become available in the tax year that begins March 1, 2009

  – For more information visit



Source: Reuters; By Barry Moody
03 Apr 2009 12:04:04 GMT

Kenyan designers have built a cooker that uses the trash as fuel to feed the poor, provide hot water and destroy toxic waste, as well as curbing the destruction of woodlands. After nine years of development, the prototype "Community Cooker" is close to being rolled out in overcrowded refugee camps as well as slums around the country where the filth encourages diseases including cholera. Invented by Nairobi architect Jim Archer, the cooker combines simplicity with the capacity to confront several environmental challenges simultaneously. The design was highly commended at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona last year. The prototype is working in Nairobi's Kibera slum, said to be the biggest in Africa, where around 800,000 people live.

The Kibera stove cost more than $10,000 to build as a prototype but an architect working for Archer's practice, estimates each would cost $5-6,000 once produced in larger numbers. This compares with $50 million for industrial incinerators in Europe.

Technicians have spent three years modifying the firebox to produce enough heat to destroy toxins in the rubbish, particularly plastics, although they are striving to get the temperature higher still. The stove is one of several projects giving hope amid endemic violence, crime and disease in the huge slums.

The Kenyan Red Cross is preparing to install similar cookers in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps near the Somali border, where cholera has already broken out this year, and at least one European aid organisation is looking at wide deployment. Juma Ochieng of the Red Cross told Reuters the Community Cooker had benefits for health, sanitation and conservation, and would create employment for young people working to build and maintain the stoves.

Henry Ndede, of the Kenya regional office for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which provided funds to set up the Kibera cooker, says the cooker would also relieve serious pressure on forest areas. The Dadaab camp houses 250,000 people although it was built for 80,000. Surrounding woodland has been cut down to provide cooking fuel.

  – For more on this story visit



April 2009.

Four new African sites have become RAMSAR sites, 2 on the coast of Sudan and 2 in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Sangha-Nouabalé-Ndoki, Congo - 1.525 million hectares

The largest site is the 1.525 million hectare Sangha-Nouabalé-Ndoki wetland in the northwest Republic of Congo, a vast area of lakes, marshes, ponds and floodplain forests on major Congo tributary the Sangha River. The area is significant in regulating flood flows and providing dry season reserves for the Congo basin generally, is important for transport and is habitat for a number of species of conservation concern - including the Giant Pangolin, chimpanzees and leopards.

Congo-Djoué rapides

The much smaller Congo-Djoué rapides surround a natural barrage on the Congo and major tributary Djoué which is vital to its two largest cities, Brazzaville, and the Democratic Republic of Congo capital of Kinshasa. The site is centred on one of three forested islands: L'Ile du Diable (Devil's Island), traditionally the home of spirits who not only protect the areas but ensure good fishing, health and influence to those initiated into their secrets. However, for the uninitiated, the spirits - for which Nile crocodile or half-human, half-fish "sirène" tokens are venerated - can exert a malign influence.


Also declared are two new welcome additions to protected wetlands in coastal Sudan to help guard against risks posed by over-grazing and proposed expansions to shrimp aquaculture. The areas are unusual in straddling terrestrial and marine environments, from camel breeding areas to reefs important to endangered turtles and dugong.

  – For more information visit


Upcoming Events


8th to 26th June, 2009

The United Nations Environment Programme's Finance Initiative will be running e-Learning Course on Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities for the Finance Sector. The course will enable senior and mid-level executives in financial institutions to learn about climate change and how it affects their industry in a flexible, cost-effective and accessible e-learning training environment with opportunities to network and interact with fellow participants and expert tutors.

  – To find out more and to register visit



16th – 20th June 2009.

Ecological Society for Eastern Africa (ESEA) will host its 2nd Regional Scientific Conference from the 16th ­ 20th June 2009 at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. The theme for this year¹s annual Conference is: “Challenges in Sustainable use of Natural Resource in Eastern Africa”. ESEA seeks to promote sustainable development through wise use of the natural resources for prosperity and future of the people of Eastern Africa. This is to be achieved through high quality research, education, technological innovations, information and resource sharing. ESEA also coordinates the collation and dissemination of information relating to ecology, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation in eastern Africa.

  – For more on the conference contact
  – Or visit the website at


Resources & Tools


On the 17th of March 2009, the Voluntary Carbon Standard Association (VCSA) launched its state-of-the-art global registry and project database system. The VCS Registry System, which includes the VCS Project Database, ensures all carbon credits generated under the VCS Program – Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) – can be tracked from issuance to retirement. It is a key part of the VCS Program which ensures that all VCUs are real, measurable, additional, permanent, independently verified, unique and traceable. VCS Registries will issue, hold, transfer and retire VCUs representing one tonne of greenhouse gas reduction or removal. The registries will interact directly with the VCS Project Database, which can be viewed publicly (www.vcsprojectdatabase.com ) to upload project documentation and obtain unique serial numbers for each VCU. Together, the infrastructure provided by the global registries and the database provides a transparent, robust and scalable chain of custody for the voluntary carbon market.

  – The press release issued by the VCSA announcing the launch of the system is available at


New Publications


The basis for this report is a series of consultations carried out by the authors in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda between February and April 2007 to gather perspectives from environment and development leaders in these countries on priorities for investment in sustainable development. The results of these consultations highlighted ways to link new or rapidly-growing economic sectors in East Africa (natural resource-based commodities, agricultural investments, tourism, carbon offset markets) to national agendas for food security, restoration of degraded natural resources, and poverty reduction. While major barriers to implementing these ideas exist, the leaders interviewed had pragmatic ideas for moving forward and field examples of successful models that can be scaled up.

  – The paper is available for download at:




We invite you to look at the Katoomba Group’s other newsletters.