What we do to prevent climate change
Focus on climate change
Environmental protection, climate change and capacity building in Bluefields, Nicaragua
Context: The geographical, social and topographic circumstances, as well as the progressing deterioration of natural ecosystems (marshlands and mangroves) are all factors that make the South Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (RACCS) especially vulnerable toward the predicted and already noticeable effects of climate change. Global warming manifests itself in the changed rain and wind patterns, more frequent extreme meteorological phenomena and their consequences, as well as in the increasing erosion of coastlines.
Our contribution to resolving this issue: The project intends to strengthen the institutions, bring mainstream public awareness to climate change and disaster risk management, and to include the local adaptation to the consequences of climate change in the strategic plans, thematic programmes, teaching curricula, and research focus of the Bluefields Indian and Caribbean University (BICU) and the blueEnergy NGO. The main goal is to help redesign the strategic planning instruments, define and formulate the climate change programme of the NGO, expand/update the teaching curriculum, train the technical and scientific staff, and integrate both institutions into a regional, national and international network.
Land rights and land-use plan in Rio Negro, Brazil
Context: In the Brazilian region surrounding the middle course of Rio Negro, the government has not sufficiently complied with its constitutional obligation to identify and demarcate indigenous land and to protect it from ulterior use. As a result, there are recurring conflicts between the indigenous population and local fishing communities on the one hand and representatives of large fishing corporations on the other because of the resources. The actions of private-commercial lobbyists have also encouraged the general public to openly oppose the demarcation of indigenous territories and other forms of resource protection. The rivers and the surrounding land is the main source of food of local communities. Moreover, free access to this territory and its natural resources is of key importance for the indigenous communities to ensure their physical and cultural survival.
Our contribution to resolving this issue: In this context, HORIZONT3000, the Austrian Climate Alliance and our partner organisation FOIRN (the federation of indigenous associations of Rio Negro) are implementing a project to defend the territorial rights of the indigenous population of Rio Negro in order to guarantee good living conditions for the communities. The project encourages the indigenous civil society’s participation in the processes to achieve the recognition of their territories and manage their land. Progress has already been made in the area of regional development. This includes creating ecological protected areas and improving the laws regulating the use of the river and its surroundings, with jointly developed plans on the use of natural resources. The protected areas and laws regulating their use are mainly intended to benefit the indigenous population of the area, but also non-indigenous fishing communities that have settled on the banks of the middle course of Rio Negro. The beneficiaries of this project are the local and regional grassroot organisations from the FOIRN network, the villages and people represented by these organisations and non-indigenous fishing communities in the municipalities of Barcelos and Santa Isabel do Rio Negro. 24 indigenous groups that live scattered throughout the Rio Negro region and a total of 40,000 people in 750 villages also benefit from this project.
Waste management and urban sanitation in Busia, Uganda
Context: Busia, one of the fastest-growing cities of Uganda, is located near the border to Kenya and faces exceptional challenges. Every day, private households, merchants, local businesses, schools, hotels, restaurants and health care facilities produce about 30 tonnes of waste, which cannot always be disposed of properly. The Busia Municipal Council is responsible for managing the city’s solid waste. However, the rapidly growing amount of waste produced in the past years has made this task extremely difficult. As a consequence, waste is illegally disposed of on the streets and water drainage systems or burned. This poor waste management leads to the pollution of the natural resources water, soil and air, which in turn has a negative impact on the health of the people. Illnesses such as diarrhoea, infections and lung diseases are the direct consequences of this environmental pollution. Insufficient sanitation in some areas of the city further aggravates this situation.
Our contribution to resolving this issue: The NGO Youth Environment Services (YES) collaborated with the municipal administration to establish an efficient waste management system, using adapted technologies as best as possible. The good standing and high recognition the “grassroot” organisation guarantees considerable and active support by the general population; all waste management institutions and stakeholders are involved. The measures mainly aim at raising public awareness to stop careless waste disposal and eliminate unsanitary habits. For example, public dust bins have been installed all over the city and suitable tools and equipment to remove waste have been made widely available. The city administration ensures that national environmental laws are applied at local level to secure a legal basis and determine the rights and duties of the population. Other important activities include, among others, networking and coordinating the instruction and training provided to all institutions involved (municipality, “Village” representatives and other institutions and NGOs). Regular meetings and waste management capacity building workshops are further examples of these efforts.
Ecologic rehabilitation of hospitals in East Africa
Context: The population in and around hospitals mostly lives in poverty and dire sanitary conditions. They are at a higher risk of contracting infectious diseases due to their exposure to polluted ground water. As a consequence, hospitals carry a heavy burden, with many of their patients being in critical condition. To treat these patients, the hospitals need adequate access to power, water and sanitary supplies. However, more often than not, the supply structure of hospitals is inefficient as they are overburdened, run-down and use outdated technology. The water and power supply system, just as the waste water and waste management systems, have serious shortcomings that lead to power outages, a lack of clean water and highly unsanitary conditions in the hospitals and the surrounding areas. It is also often not possible to dispose of medical waste properly.
Our contribution to resolving this issue: In East Africa, and in Uganda in particular, HORIZONT3000 has been working for the environmental rehabilitation of hospitals for nearly two decades. The goal of these measures is to boost the health of the population in and around the hospital by upgrading the water and power supply system and improving public sanitation. Not only will this create an adequate working environment, but it will also ensure better treatments for the patients. Improvements are being made in the area of potable water and power, solid waste and waste water management with the aid of rainwater reservoirs, solar power systems, integration into the public power grid, an improved waste management system, water treatment facilities, combustion ovens for medical waste, etc. Patients, their relatives and hospital staff and their families benefit from these sanitary improvements, but also people who live in the surrounding areas as they have better access to clean water.