Friday, 13 November 2015

CIRCLE Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Contributes to a Book Project on International Perspectives on Industrial Ecology

A Post-Doctoral Research Fellow under the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) Programme, Dr Olawale Emmanuel Olayide, shares the African Perspective in a Book Project on International Perspectives on Industrial Ecology. The Book which is written by world renowned experts in the field of industrial ecology and Dr Olayide’s contribution is contained in Chapter 3 of the Book. The chapter is entitled “Industrial Ecology, Industrial Symbiosis and Eco-Industrial Parks in Africa: Issues for Sustainable Development” (

International Perspectives on Industrial EcologyExtract of the Chapter
The idea of industry finding uses for non-product outputs (by-products and wastes) is not a new one (Desrochers, 2001). However, local context and incentives change with the global drive towards efficient use of resources (Deutz, 2014) and sustainable development (Posch, 2010). This contrasts with the conventional economic growth trajectories that lead to increased negative ecological impacts (Boons et al., 2011). In Africa, and indeed globally, multiple factors are bringing about a change in attitudes and making the prospects for industrial ecology (IE) more attractive. The growing scarcity of resources together with advances in technology and greater urbanisation are all heightening awareness that the time is ripe for change to more sustainable development (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2013). IE considers non-human ‘natural’ ecosystems as potential models for industrial activity and places human technological activity (industry) in the larger ecosystems that support it, examining the sources of resources used in society and the sinks that may act to absorb or detoxify wastes.

Editors and Scope of the Book
The book is edited by Pauline Deutz, Donald I. Lyons and Jun Bi and focuses on high-level policies on industrial ecology-related issues such as circular economy and industrial symbiosis. The authors combine their diverse experiences in both research and teaching to examine the topic as a business, community, and academic endeavor in different settings worldwide. The book project which started in November 2013 was completed in March 2015, and published, in print and online, on 30 October, 2015.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030 priority for Africa? Reflections from the Climate Change Dialogue

By Olga Laiza Kupika, Chinhoyi University of Technology
Cohort 1 CIRCLE Visiting Fellow

On the 12th of October 2015, I had the priviledge to attend the Climate Change dialogue on Mitigation and Perspectives from the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) at the University of South Africa. The event is part of a series of engagements towards COP21 which have been hosted by UNISA in collaboration with the US embassy. UNISA has a partnership with USAID & the US embassy in relation to climate change. The global governance has been negotiating for the past 21 years without any reasonable outcome, now all is set for COP 21.....what is Africa’s position?

Author and other CIRCLE fellows (Dr Bartlomew Itume Aleke & Dr Zelda Elum)
captured during the dialogue session

 The following presentations were made: 
  1. The key note speaker was Dr. Dan E. Arvizu a renowned energy expert from the USA , presented on “The Future of Clean Energy" 
  2. Prof Godwell Nhamo (PhD) Chief Researcher & Chair: Exxaro Chair on Business and Climate Change, ICC (my host CIRCLE supervisor) presented on Climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda

The main speaker gave insights into the historical developments on clean energy using the US as an example. The key note speakers’ main message was: “Today’s unsustainable energy system which is characterized by limited fuel diversity; subject to price volatilize; inefficient and rigid; significant carbon emissions; vulnerable delivery systems; aging infrastructure should be transformed into a future sustainable energy system characterized by diverse supply options; affordable, stable and reliable; efficient and flexible; carbon neutral; secure and resilient and more consumer driven”.  

Prof Godwell Nhamo’s key message was that Climate change poses challenges to growth and development in Africa and Adaptation will bring immediate benefits and reduce the impacts of climate change in Africa. Africa stands to benefit from integrated climate adaptation, mitigation and development approaches”. In his speech, Prof Nhamo emphasised that in the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the SDGs, other SDGs dealing with the environment e.g. 2, 4, 13, 16 and 17 hang on SDG 13 which deals with climate change. Once SDG 13 is addressed then it implies that all the other SDGs will be catered for. So which of these SDGs is the greatest priority and why? What should Africa prioritise? What do the SDGs mean for Africa which has been dubbed a “dark continent”? Will the SDGs bring the much needed light? Food for thought…..

Monday, 2 November 2015

Responsible wildlife management entails climate adaptation and mitigation

Olga Laiza Kupika, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe
Cohort 1 CIRCLE Visiting Fellow

As part of my CIRCLE fellowship, I had the priviledge to subscribe to one of the renowned platforms for wildlife ecologists from across southern Africa, the Southern Africa Wildlife Management Association (SAWMA). SAWMA is an independent, non-profit association, founded in 1970 to promote conservation and effective management of the wildlife resources of southern Africa (   Over the past years, SAWMA has been organising conferences based on different thematic areas. The theme of this year’s symposium was Responsible Wildlife Management: A Key to Biodiversity Conservation ( A large number of the talks fell under the themes of understanding and managing threats to wildlife and biodiversity, and emerging information to aid wildlife management decisions. I took the opportunity to attend this year’s conference so that I could also share my research on the threat of climate change to biodiversity. The five day event which ran from 6 to 10 September 2015 was attended by ecologists and conservationists from across Southern Africa.

In her official opening speech, the reigning president of SAWMA Dr Harriet Davies-Mostert said....“We are all aware that pressures on our biodiversity from renewable energy developments, wildlife crime including poaching, legislative developments and the impacts of increasing economic uncertainty, to name a few, mean that the need for responsible management is of key importance to ensure the protection of our wildlife resources. A critical balance needs to be struck between conservation needs and developmental imperatives, and it has therefore never before been so crucial for us to work together to tackle the knowledge gaps and identify and implement priority actions to ensure that the use of our natural resources remains sustainable in the long term.......”. This speech is closely linked to SDG 15 which highlights the need to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, & halt reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

My presentation was on “Legal and institutional frameworks for natural resources management: implications for managing threats to wildlife and biodiversity in the Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve, Zimbabwe”. This paper sought to answer the following questions:

1. To what extent do international, regional and national legal and institutional frameworks address such threats to biodiversity and the need for responsible wildlife management within the Middle Zambezi biosphere reserve?

2. What programmes, projects or strategies have been put in place in pursuit of the goals of sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources?

The paper evolved from secondary data gathered through review of technical reports and government publications, as well as empirical data from semi-structured questionnaires and key informant interviews of experts. Results from the study indicate that there is a need to mainstream biodiversity threats, particularly poaching, illegal harvesting of wildlife resources and climate change into local policies. National and local natural resources management institutions should be reviewed in order to integrate strategies to mitigate threats to wildlife and biodiversity. View the presentation online at:

Author captured during presentation
Other key note speakers included Dr Andrew Jenkins, who delivered a speech on the development of sustainability standards for renewable energy development in SA, with a particular emphasis on reducing impacts on birds. Dr Jenkins gave insights into the role and impacts of wind farms from across South Africa. This was quite interesting considering that with climate change mitigation and adaptations underway.... the quest for renewable energy options should be a priority for the wildlife sector. I guess the wildlife industry across Africa should seriously think about this! Prof Louw Hoffman gave a thought provoking presentation on changing research paradigms to face the realities in wildlife management and conservation emphasising that a major threat to wildlife management and conservation comes from the changing climate.

Considering that the African continent is endowed with a variety of wildlife flora and fauna, some of which are or might be vulnerable to climate change (few studies have documented such evidence....hence more studies are also needed). African countries must address climate change adaptation and mitigation in their national policies, wildlife management plans and research programmes as part of adaptive management.