SmartEarth opens new regional office in southern Africa

SmartEarth opens new regional office in southern Africa

SmartEarth, the international consultancy on climate change and sustainable development, has established a new regional office for southern Africa. The new office, SmartEarth Zambia, is based in Lusaka, and will become the regional hub for SmartEarth activities in southern Africa.

The new consultancy will draw on a wealth of experience and expertise combining local knowledge and on the ground experience with the broader international expertise. The new venture will be a collaborative effort with international partners offering services in the areas of capacity building and training, preparation and overseeing projects on climate change and sustainable development, stakeholder engagement and access to climate finance.

The principals in the new venture are:

  • Barnabas Mwansa, international development specialist and founder and CEO of the Barnabas Research and Training Institute. He has worked with Save the Children International, International labour Organisation, Catholic Relief Services and consulted widely on development issues in the global south. He has practical experience on rural poverty, agriculture development, child protection and children’s rights, child labour, political and economic governance, gender and development, education reforms, child health and nutrition, youth employment and capacity building of NGOs.
  • Willard Ngubule, development specialist and educator. His experience is in the areas of knowledge management, financial management, gender and development, climate change, planning & organizing, business planning, project management and progress reporting. He has conducted risk management, identification of consultancy work including evaluation and research
  • Noel Casserly, founder and CEO of SmartEarth in Ireland, and former negotiator on climate change for the Irish Government. He lead the international climate change negotiation team for Ireland at UNFCCCC for a number of years and also previously Director of Ireland’s National Sustainable Development Council (Comhar SDC).  He also works as a consultant to Irish Aid on climate finance.

More detailed biographical details follow under.

SamrtEarth Zambia is affiliated to the international consultancy established in Ireland in 2014 with the aim of working with governments in developing countries – and with civil society – to secure finance, technology and capacity building for climate change mitigation and adaptation. SmartEarth identifies opportunities in transition to low-carbon climate resilient economies by facilitating developing countries in accessing climate finance and technology, through capacity building and training that will strengthen governance and institutional arrangements. This puts them is a stronger position to more effectively invest in meeting the challenges of climate change.

SmartEarth has established a strategic partnership with the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) in Ireland to deliver capacity building and training on governance for Climate Change and Sustainable Development in developing countries.  The IPA is the Irish national school of Government, established over 50 years ago and is recognised internationally as a centre of best practice in teaching and research for public administration and public management.

SmartEarth also works with international financial institutions to offer governments a comprehensive package in applying for funding for climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.  SmartEarth and collaborators bring their specialist expertise in assisting developing countries meet their obligations under the UNFCCC in the areas of capacity building, strategic country programme design, inclusive stakeholder engagement, and accreditation facilitation.  Drawing on our deep domain knowledge and expertise we work with our local partners to develop the capabilities and strengthen institutional capacities and governance structures in client countries. SmartEarth  assists national administrations so they are enabled to:

  • Lead on the design of country programmes reflective of climate-resilient development policies, along broad and inclusive consultation processes;
  • Monitor and evaluate the delivery of such country programmes, while
  • Ensuring coherence with other national public policies, including efficient management of various streams of finance available to the partner country.

SmartEarth Zambia is initially engaged in actions and programmes within Zambia itself but as the consultancy grows it will offer services more broadly in the region.

Zambia and the challenges of Climate Change

At the UN Conference on Climate Change in Marrakech in November 2016 (COP 22), President Edgar Lungu of Zambia drew attention to the growing risk of adverse climate change and catastrophic impact in the agriculture, water and sanitation, energy, infrastructure and health sectors in his country. He highlighted how climate change has reduced productivity in the agriculture sector and brought challenges in the energy sector in Zambia. The recent unpredictable nature of the climate has undermined critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture resulting in reduced productivity and perennial food shortages, and in the energy sector, the decreased rainfall experienced in the recent past has caused reduced water levels in our major water bodies. This has led to power deficit and subsequent power rationing as the country depends largely on hydropower.

As a Least Developed Country, Zambia produced a National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) in 2007. The NAPA documents national circumstances, vulnerabilities, and expected impacts from climate change in Zambia, as well as identifying and prioritising responsive actions. The NAPA also outlines the consultation, resources and information that were used to prioritise adaptation interventions.

The primary concern for the Government of Zambia, as outlined in its NAPA is to “protect its people, infrastructure, and other national assets against disasters and climatic hazards such as drought and floods”.

Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall are expected to have a negative impact on agriculture in the southern regions. The growing season is expected to shorten meaning that some crops such as maize would not mature. This would have serious implications for food security in those regions. Rising temperatures and associated decreases in rainfall are expected to have negative impacts on cattle numbers due to availability of forage. Households in the southern province are dependent on cattle for their livelihood and thus are very vulnerable to climate impacts.

Climate change is also expected to impact on fisheries with reduced breeding and even reduced biodiversity in the long-term. Floods are another expected impact of climate change with very negative consequences in terms of destruction of crops, destruction of infrastructure, siltation and sedimentation on rivers and streams (with negative impacts on fisheries), displacement of people and increased incidence of epidemics such as malaria. Other diseases that are sensitive to temperature and climate are dysentery, cholera and respiratory infections.

The energy and water supply sectors are impacted by climate change, with the southern province in particular being vulnerable to water shortages during drought periods. Urban areas can also be impacted due to poor management of water resources. Energy supply is impacted due to the important role of hydro-power in the national electricity supply. Climate change is also expected to impact negatively on wildlife and biodiversity e.g. through increased forest fires, reduced forage, and poor quality fodder. Forests which previously regenerated quickly after deforestation or degradation, e.g. Miombo Forest, have been slower to recover due to the impacts of climate change.

SmartEarth Zambia – Detailed bios of the principals

Barnabas Mwansa is a development expert with over 13 year’s International Development experience in Africa. He has worked with Save the Children International, International labour Organisation, Catholic Relief Services and consulted widely on development issues in the global south. He has practical experience on rural poverty, agriculture development, child protection and children’s rights, child labour, political and economic governance, gender and development, education reforms, child health and nutrition, youth employment and capacity building of NGOs. He has provided technical guidance to Government Ministries/ Departments on policy formulation and implementation including economics and political analysis.

He is a final year doctoral candidate, Ph.D in Management with specialization in Strategy and Innovation at Taxila American University; holds a MSc with distinction in Development Practice (MDP) – spanning Health Science, Natural and Engineering Sciences, Social Science and Management Sciences- University Trinity College Dublin & University College Dublin- Ireland–combined with clinical cross-sectoral field training attached to Trocaire Irish NGO – Ireland (ii) Catholic Relief Services -Rwanda (iii) UN Training School- Ireland (iv) International Labour Organization (ILO)-Zambia. He graduated with a BA degree in Development studies (first class honors) with distinction- Kimmage Development Studies Centre- Dublin: Ireland. Besides the BA in Development Studies, Barnabas holds a Diploma in Management, Economics and financial principles and certificate in project management.

Willard Ngubule   graduated from the University of Zambia with a Bachelor of Arts with Education (BA. ED) and has eight years of work experience in the areas of lecturing and public policy analysis and research. He has working knowledge on sustainable development goals and international development.  His experience is in the areas of knowledge management, financial management, gender and development, climate change, planning & organizing, business planning, project management and progress reporting. He has conducted risk management, identification of consultancy work including evaluation and research, Interpreting and translating different languages. He is a continuing MA student.

He is currently Institute Coordinator at Barnabas Research and Training Institute providing management leadership. Willard is a critical thinker and possess the following attributes:  adaptability to change, personnel management, ability to work in teams and under high pressure, and to solve problems efficiently and achieve productivity goals set by the company and my work group.

Noel Casserly  is Founder, Lead Partner and Chief Executive Officer with SmartEarth.ie.  He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and worked until December 2013 with the Irish Government in the areas of environment, climate change and sustainable development where he led the Irish delegation at UN international negotiations on climate change (UNFCCC). He was also formerly Director of Ireland’s National Council for Sustainable Development (Comhar SDC) and was a member of the Irish Delegation at the Commission on Sustainable Development at the UN in New York. Noel served on the monitoring committee for EU project funding for the Northern Ireland PEACE programme.  Noel was former Chair of EU expert groups on climate change and sustainable development and gathered an extensive network of global contacts.  He has also been a consultant to Irish Aid at on Climate Finance attended UNFCCC negotiations on their behalf.

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