Norway ups financial support against illegal fishing and plastic waste in Africa. Nelson Mandela University rakes in R1-million more

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SEALING COLLABORATION: (From Left) Mr Derek Hanekom, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Iselin Nybø, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust and member of the African Marine Waste Network during the signing of cooperation agreement in Port Elizabeth on Monday, 29 October 2018.

Port Elizabeth: 01 November 2018

The development of a cadre of knowledgeable personnel with high expertise in the management of illegal fishing in South Africa and in the rest of the continent has been given a further boost with the allocation of an additional financial support of about R1-million by the Norwegian government.

The additional funding confirmed earlier this week will go to the Nelson Mandela University (NMU)’s Fisheries Law Enforcement Academy (a.k.a FISHFORCE) established in 2016.

The academy was set up at the NMU through a R50-million financial support, over five years, by Norway with the goal of establishing a core of graduates with knowledge and expertise in the management of illegal fishing as well as contribute to development of effective strategies.

On Monday, Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø in the company of South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom; visited the NMU for the signing of a bilateral agreement cognizant of the additional R1-million funding.

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Mr Alf Yngve Friiso, Counsel: Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa

Ahead of the signing ceremony, during the launch of an African Youth Waste Network early on Monday, Mr Alf Yngve Frisso, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa said the additional funding would go towards training of port security officers – a category of key personnel that was not covered in the initial funding bilateral agreement with the NMU.

“These people work 24 hours a day at the ports and a lot of them do not have training in identifying fish species and different types of fishing crimes. The additional funding will go to the NMU FishForce Academy in order to increase and enhance these officials level of knowledge and expertise.” he said.

The beneficiaries of the Norwegian government support would not be limited to South Africans only, but would include other African countries, he said.

For more on this, click on the video below.

Norway commits additional R2.8-million to fight against plastic pollution

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Ms Iselin Nybø, Norwegian Minister of Research & Higher Education

Meanwhile, Ms Nybø (38), on her first visit to South Africa, said collaboration between Norway and South Africa on strategic interventions in oceans management and related endeavors remained important to her government.

Addressing guests attending the launch of the youth network, Ms Nybø said she her government was impressed by both the initiative to rope in youth in the war against plastic waste pollution, as it was by the research, education and training undertaken by the Nelson Mandela University.

On plastic pollution, she said given realistic prospects that there would be more plastic at sea than fish in the near future, and that Africa would become the most polluted area of the world and a major contributor to plastic waste pollution, Norway’s government commitment to efforts to eliminate plastic waste pollution would be demonstrated through a direct investment of some 1.6-million Norwegian krone (R2.8-million) over the next three years.

To listen to Ms Nybø’s full remarks (about 08.20 minutes), please click on the video below.

End

 

 

2035 the target date to rid Africa of plastic waste filling the oceans!

DSC_4245.JPGPort Elizabeth: 01 November 2018

Seventeen years from now, Africa must be rid of the menace of plastic waste infesting particularly the oceans surrounding it, that is the ambitious target the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) is setting itself in the global war against plastic waste.

That is according to its lead member, the Port Elizabeth based non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust, which this week launched an initiative called the Africa Youth Waste Network to rope in the continent’s youth in the battle against mounting plastic pollution all across Africa.

DSC_8067.JPGThe youth initiative is part of a broader campaign by the SST and AYWN that is financially backed by the Norwegian government and which has already seen the establishment of an African Marine Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay earlier this year.

Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Isebin Nybo together with South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom were among high profile guests in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday for the launch of the youth initiative.

Other guests included local government officials as well as academics from both the Nelson Mandela University as well as Norway’s University of Bergen.

Some scholarly ongoing research findings shared at the event depicted a dire picture of the highly negative impacts of plastic waste, particularly that which enters the African continent’s oceans.

Among the findings was that not only was plastic waste reaching the oceans now at unsustainable levels, but also that certain fish species were already feeding on it and in the process, posing a real and immediate high risk to both human and other creatures lives that feed on fish.

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Dr Anthony Ribbink. CEO: Sustainable Seas Trust

According to (SST) CEO, Dr Anthony Ribbink, time for talking about the pending disaster was over and target dates had to be set for defined action to show results, hence the group has set 2035 as the year on which Africa will be rid of plastic waste and resultant pollution.

Central to the strategy for cleaning up and eventually eliminating plastic waste will be the engagement of particularly youth across the continent through the newly set up network, combining it with ongoing academic research, but also a development of economic opportunities to both manage and get rid of plastic waste.

Key role players will include municipalities across towns and cities of the continent.

According to Dr Ribbink, the first target African city for the major clean up campaign will be Nelson Mandela Bay whose deadline for reaching a zero plastic waste status has been set even more tighter, as 2021.

“We want to make sure that Nelson Mandela Bay becomes the first city in Africa to reach zero plastic waste by 2021 and the local municipal government has committed to the target.”

He also announced that the African Marine Waste Network with 42 members countries across the continent will hold its second conference in April 2020 and during which concrete plans for the rest of the continent will be shared.

In the video below, Dr Ribbink explains the thinking.

Meanwhile,  Ms Alexie Kalenga, coordinator of the AYWN explained the rationale behind the active engagement of especially young people in the Africa war against plastic waste.

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Ms Alexie Kalenga. African Youth Waste Network

She said recent population statistics indicated two critical aspects about Africa’s population: that young people aged between 16 and 25 years hold (225-million as at 2015) constituted about 60% of the continent’s population and about 19% of the world’s population and were therefore the largest majority by far.

But crucially, this figure was projected to almost double to 456-million by 2055, thereby reflecting a rapidly growing population, with huge implications for waste generation and management as, she said, waste accumulation had been proved to be a function of population size.

She said the network was intended to be an active platform for collaboration, resource and knowledge sharing among young people across countries.

“It’s a youth driven initiative that aims at zero pollution and clean seas by 2035.

In the video below, Ms Kalenga shares more detail.

End

 

 

 

 

Ridding South Africa of plastic waste, the next frontier war; declares acting Minister of Environmental Affairs

20180603_134053Port Elizabeth 31 October 2018

Cleaning up and ridding South Africa of particularly plastic waste that eventually lands up at the country’s oceans to the disastrous peril of sea life, is going to be the next big war to be waged intensely by Government in collaboration with society, says Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom

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Mr Derek Hannekom. Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs addressing guests during the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday, 29 October 2018

Mr Hanekom confirmed this while attending the launch of an initiative to rope in and actively involve African youth in the war against plastic waste, as well as the signing of yet another collaboration agreement between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

Both the launch of the African Youth Waste Network by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) as well as the collaborative agreement signed between the Norwegian government and the Nelson Mandela University on Monday to strengthen and expand education and training related to ocean’s management, are seen as key components to strengthening South Africa’s Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative to rejuvenate and grow the country’s maritime economic sector.

SST is Port Elizabeth based South African non governmental organization that is part of  the African Marine Waste Network launched in South Africa in 2017 with 42 member countries across the African continent.

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Pupils from Port Elizabeth’s Inkqubela Primary School who were part of youths from a few schools attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the Nelson Mandela University on Monday, 29 October 2018. The four, from their school’s environmental club also performed at the event.

The launch of the African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) on Monday is part of a comprehensive Norway government sponsored program by the African Marine Waste Network, led by SST, to actively fight the scourge of marine plastic waste across the continent.

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Mr Mongameli Bobani, Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay (seated, Front Left) was among high profile guests attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Port Elizabeth

Mr Hanekom, as acting Minister of Environmental Affairs following to the passing of away of Ms Edna Molewa recently, is currently responsible for the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative launched for years ago.

However, as also Minister of Tourism, effective waste management in the country is a major interest in his portfolio.

Mr Hanekom, in the company of Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybo among others, applauded the launch of the youth network initiative on Monday and expressed appreciation of the Norwegian government’s continued support of both the youth initiative as well as the Nelson Mandela University’s education and training campaigns.

He said South Africa, like most others countries in the world, faced a mammoth task of managing effectively the scourge particularly plastic waste in the country in order to curb and eventually prevent its negative impacts on both the environment as well as people’s health.

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Dr Karl Klingsheim, Counselor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa (seated front centre) was among guests attending the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. Norway is the major sponsor of a comprehensive programme that includes the youth initiative.

With over 50% of all plastic in the country being in the form of single use packaging, Mr Hanekom acknowledged that South Africa had lost momentum in the fight against plastic waste after the initial introduction of levies on consumer plastic bags years ago.

Now, he said, the forward strategy currently under consideration through policy would encompass three components; curbing plastic generation at source, implementing effective ways of plastic usage, and developing meaningful ways of managing plastic waste.

Mr Hanekom said the first component – dealing with plastic at source – would ‘without doubt’ draw the ire of plastic producers who would argue strongly against job losses.  However, he said this would not be an unusual argument, as had also been experienced in debates about strategies on renewable energies.

“Chemical weapons are a no-no! Chemicals weapons are not allowed and the whole world is against their production. There is no arguing that, well, we got to continue producing chemical weapons otherwise we are going to lose jobs. It does not work that way.

“You’ve got to bite the bullet at some point, and understand the gravity of what you are dealing with, and say if we can’t continue doing this, whichever angle you approach it from…..that somewhere, we have to take some tough measures.

“You will always lose jobs when you migrate from one sector to another. It is happening with coal mining.”

DSC_8121.JPGCrucially, he said, something needed to be done in South Africa to rid the country of mountains of plastic waste now entrapping and eliminating life in the oceans and increasingly threatening people’s lives.

The second component would require actively bringing about public awareness as well as engagement, while the third component would aim at eventually eliminating plastic waste through innovative economic schemes.

Mr Hanekom said: “In the next few weeks, as part of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) we will be launching a national clean up campaign. It will be a big national effort about awareness and about people being actively involved, from the President, Ministers, Premiers and MECs, MPs and all public representatives.

“When this campaign is formally launched by the President, what is going to be expected of all us public representatives at all levels, is to go out there, dirty our hands and clean up the country at the same encouraging communities to actively participate.” he said.

End

Nelson Mandela Bay welcomes launch of Africa youth initiative against plastic waste in its backyard

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Port Elizabeth: 31 October 2018

The selection of and launch in Port Elizabeth this week of a continent wide initiative roping in youth into the global war against marine plastic waste has been warmly welcomed by the coastal metropolitan area’s government.

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Ms Yolsa Padi. Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Port Elizabeth)

“The launch of this green programme and network is very good news for the city, ‘ said Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (NMBM) Member of the Mayoral Council for Public Health, Ms Yolisa Padi in welcoming the launch of the African Youth Waste Network at the city’s university, the Nelson Mandela University on Monday.

“As our visitors will know, Nelson Mandela Bay has potential as a major tourist destination and a nature lover’s paradise. We are becoming increasingly aware of  our vast marine resources and the need to manage these responsibly, as well as of the economic and other benefits attached to an oceans economy.

“In all this, the cleanliness and attractiveness of our city and environment is vital, not only for the health and safety of our residents, but also because we are keen to build our reputation as a major tourist city and a preferred holiday destination.

The launch of the African Youth Waste Network in the region was, however, consistent with global marine and maritime related recent developments targeting the city, inclusive of the first continental African Marine Waste Conference held in the city in July 2017, followed earlier this year by the launch of the African Marine Waste Academy (AMWA) under the aegis of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) now currently with 42 members across Africa and reportedly growing.

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The initiatives, spearheaded by Port Elizabeth nongovernmental organization, the Sustainable Seas Trust and a founder member of the AMWN are financially sponsored by the Norwegian government which early in 2018 confirmed the awarding of about a R1-million to the programme over a 12 months period.

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Ms Iselin Nybø. Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education during a visit to Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 29 October 2018

A Norwegian government delegation led by Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, was among prominent guests at the function on Monday.

In her brief address, Ms Padi who accompanied the city’s Mayor, Mr Mongameli Bobani, described it as Port Elizabeth’s concern “the alarming news daily of the rate of destruction of the natural environment of our planet and its oceans. Current and future governments have no option but to increasingly focus on environmental protection and find better solutions to the issue of waste management,” she said.

In response however, she said the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for its part, was “engaged in a number of cleaning and waste management initiatives to address this.”

“The going is slow but some of our initiatives are starting to show results and to be of benefit to our communities.

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Mr Mongameli Bobani, Mayor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality (Standing, Right) greeting among others, Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom (seated, Left) during the launch of the African Youth Waste Network in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

“The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality fully supports the launch of the African Youth Waste Network. We know the time to do something is now and it is very right and fitting that the energy, enthusiasm and innovative idea of the youth will be harnessed in the process,” said Ms Padi.

 

For more on the launch of the AYWN, click on the links below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

African youth set for formal direct role in war against marine plastic pollution: African Marine Waste Network

DSC_4166 (2)Pretoria: 27 October 2018

Engaging Africa’s young people as crusaders in the global war against the menace of oceans and inland waterways plastic pollution takes on a whole new stride forward in South Africa with the launch of the continent’s first African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) in Port Elizabeth on Monday

The launch of the initiative at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) north campus from 9am on Monday is a culmination of a partnership involving local non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and the Norwegian government, marked earlier in 2018 with the set up in Port Elizabeth of an African Marine Waste Academy.

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IN PARTNERSHIP:  (Left) Dr Anthony Ribbink, Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST: South Africa)  and  Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen exchanging documents and shaking hands on an agreement through which Norway  is funding  a first of its kind initiative to combat marine waste in Africa based in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape Province.

According to the SST, South Africa’s lead partner of the Africa Marine Waste Network with 42 member countries,  the youth network “will enable the youth of Africa to communicate and inspire one another and engage with young people everywhere as well as influence adults, especially leaders.”

 

Derek Hanekom
Mr Derek Hanekom. Minister of Tourism

As an indication of the high significance of the launch of the AYWN initiative, billed guests include senior South African and Norwegian government officials, among them South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Derek Hanekom, his Norwegian counterpart responsible for the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa councillor, Dr Karl Klingsheim, academics from the Nelson Mandela University and Norway’s University of Bergen.

Also attending will be Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Mr Mongameli Bobani.

Minister Hanekom is billed to share the South African government’s viewpoint on both the scourge of plastic pollution as well as its endorsement of the engagement of young people in the global initiative, while Minister Nybø will share experiences and best practices in thwarting plastic pollution particularly from the marine environment from Norway’s perspective.

For more information on the SST/AMWN and Norwegian government initiatives in the South Africa based war against particularly marine plastic waste, click on the set of stories below.

End

Global initiative against plastic waste at Africa’s oceans takes shape in Port Elizabeth

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The Swartkops River mouth in Port Elizabeth, South Africa that cuts across the city to the Indian Ocean and which is to be a major focus of the African Marine Waste Network campaign against oceans plastic waste pollution prevention strategy in the next five years.

Cape Town: 06 May 2018

An ambitious global initiative to turn decisively the tide against massive volumes of plastics waste entering the world’s oceans around the African continent is formally taking shape in South Africa under the aegis of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) based in Port Elizabeth.

The network was established in South Africa in 2016 with the support of government and high education institutions, and boasts no less than 42 member countries in the Africa region.

A year ago, it held its first African Marine Waste Conference in the country.

This year, boosted by new funding from the Norwegian government totaling just over a million rand a month ago, the AMWN has not only already established a scientific plastic waste academy launched in Port Elizabeth a week ago, but is also embarking on a three pronged strategy this month involving scientific research of plastic waste, the  launch of a community outreach campaign involving both business and communities, as well establishment of an Africa Youth Network intended to engage particularly young people in an education campaign continent-wide against marine plastic waste and oceans pollution.

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Norway ambassador to South Africa HE Trine Skymoen (centre with white top) with Africa Marine Waste Network director and CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust, Dr Anthony Ribbink (fourth from Left) and staff members of the SST in Port Elizabeth, South Africa recently.

According to the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) a leading partner of the AMWN initiative based in Port Elizabeth, the youth network “will enable the youth of Africa to communicate and inspire one another and engage with young people everywhere as well as influence adults, especially leaders.”

The formal launch of the Africa Youth Network is scheduled for June 2018 to also mark World Oceans Day on 08 June.

This latter initiative will be preceded by a number of activities among which will be a ‘plastic industries’ workshop in Port Elizabeth on 10 May 2018. The aim according to SST in a statement, is to extract information that will be used to develop an Education Resource Book for sharing among among schools and similar education institutions throughout the African continent.

“Issues of plastics in the environment and human health are relatively new and have not yet entered education systems as they should have, so the need to build capacity in Africa is an imperative we aim to meet.

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Dr Anthony Ribbink. African Marine Waste Network director and CEO of Sustainable Seas Trust

“There is no existing curriculum on plastics in African schools or governments. Thus we will be developing curricula and educational output in the form of an Education Resource Book. The Resource Book will be all encompassing of plastics, from A to Z, from raw materials to final product and after use processes. This will include the roles of producers, distributors, retailers, consumers and municipalities.

“We will develop the book in an all-inclusive manner, where we have planned workshops with the plastic industry and education and curriculum experts to help guide us. We shall host the initial workshops in May to promote sharing of ideas and collaboration between different organizations.

“The first will be on plastics industries, where our plan is to gather as much information as we can about the plastics industry. Thereafter we shall host a teacher’s workshop, inviting teachers and education stakeholders from across South Africa and Africa,” said the SST in a statement this past week.

The AMWN marine plastic waste initiative in the Nelson Mandela Bay region (Port Elizabeth) – a city settled to the east of South Africa on the southern part of the Indian Ocean and fast developing into a significant shipping services hub – will also involve the clean up of a major river estuary cutting across the city to the Indian Ocean.

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On the banks of the Swartkops River estuary, a waste bin depicting the apparent poverty of plastic waste collection methods of the local municipality which evidently leads to plastic waste ending up in the river waters and later into the Indian Ocean to the east of Port Elizabeth

The major plastic waste clean up campaign of the Swartkops River estuary is scheduled to start in Spring, from 15 September 2018.

The idea, according to AMWN, is to establish the region as a centre of excellence through ensuring that it is pristine clean of marine plastic waste in five years, thereby demonstrating the viability and importance of the Africa marine plastic waste reduction initiative.

“By 2021, we (the Nelson Mandela Bay region) can be the cleanest in Africa, the most active, best informed communities,” says the AWMN.

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British High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr John Wade-Smith (Third from Left) with (From Left) Nelson Mandela University deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Leitch, Sustainable Seas Trust CEO and Africa Marine Waste Network director Dr Anthony Ribbink, and Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa official Dr Karl Klingsheim

Meanwhile, the British government has heaped praise on both the initiative and the supportive roles played by both the Norwegian government as well as the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, the latter which has taken the lead in oceans studies inclusive of scientific research into environmental management of the oceans surrounding the southern tip of the African continent; the Indian Ocean to the east, the Southern Oceans to the Antarctica region as well as the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Speaking during the formal launch of the AMWN Academy in Port Elizabeth a week ago, British High Commissioner to South Africa, Dr John Wade-Smith said the combination of scientific research, community engagement and business opportunities development was a strategy that provided opportunity for all members of society to engage.

He had particular praise for the Nelson Mandela University for its involvement in the AMWN initiatives. He also shared insights into how Britain was contributing to the global campaign against plastic waste polluting the world’s oceans.

For Dr Wade-Smith’s full remarks, click on the video below.

End.

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa and Norway pump R60-million (NOK 40-mil) funding into oceans and blue economy focused research.

In a separate development, Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth) is earmarked as home to Africa’s first Waste Academy.

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SEALED: (From Left) Dr Anthony Ribbink, Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST: South Africa)  and  Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen exchanging documents and shaking hands on an agreement that will see Norway funding  a first of its kind initiative to combat marine waste in Africa to be based in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape Province.

Pretoria: 22 March 2018

Continued high level research collaboration between South Africa and Norway will see the two countries pumping an additional R60.8-million in 2018 into research focused specifically on oceans and the blue economy in both countries.

This emerged a week ago during the release of a call to researchers, academics and students in both countries to file applications for funding under the programme, now in its fourth phase since about 16 years.

Known as SANOCEAN and based on an agreement ratified between the countries a month ago, the programme is focussed on three areas of research – the oceans/blue economy, climate change and the environment and sustainable energy.

DSC_3696.JPGIn a parallel development, Norway has committed other funding to development of a plastic waste scientific research and community empowerment initiative that will also involve the establishment of the first of its kind Africa Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Eastern Cape, over the next five years.

This latter initiative, announced at the Norwegian embassy in Pretoria on Monday, is being undertaken through the Sustainable Seas Trust, a Port Elizabeth-based independent nongovernmental institution headed by Dr Anthony Ribbink as chief executive officer.

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Dr Anthony Ribbink. CEO Sustainable Seas Trust

The Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) was the host last year of the inaugural Africa Marine Waste Conference in Port Elizabeth – and the first of three held in country in 2017 – and among whose outcomes was the founding of the Africa Marine Waste Network (AMWN) involving close on 40 countries in the region.

This, according to the parties to the latest initiative, comes against the backdrop that marine waste studies worldwide have found that Africa is ‘the second-most littered continent on the planet, with predictions that by 2050, it will take the top spot.’

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Guests attending the announcement of the Norwegian government funding of a marine waste combatting initiative  for Africa at the Royal Norwegian embassy in Pretoria on Monday

On Monday in Pretoria, the Norwegian government announced that it would be providing initial funding totalling just over R1.2-million to the Africa plastic waste research and community development initiative.

DSC_3739.JPGNorwegian ambassador to South Africa, Ms Trine Skymoen said: “This grant agreement is for a ‘Combating Marine Waste in Africa’ feasibility study, to be conducted by the Sustainable Seas Trust and the African Marine Waste Network on or before 31 October (2018).”

She said further detail on the joint venture with SST and AMWN would be shared in a month’s time during a gathering scheduled for Port Elizabeth.

(For a full interview with Dr Anthony Ribbink of SST and Dr Karl Klingsheim of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa, please click on the video below)

Meanwhile, a few days earlier, Norway and South Africa announced the SANOCEAN initiative, in terms of which ‘approximately  40 million Norwegian krune (NOK) will be available (NOK 30 mill. from Norway and ZAR 15 Mill. from South Africa) for oceans and blue economy research beginning this year.

In terms of the arrangement, no less than 50% of the total funding should go to the South African partner in each of the identified thematic areas of the project, and each of which is intended to stimulate increased research collaborations, and exchanges between Norway and South Africa.

The thematic areas include Ocean Space and the Blue Economy, Environment Climate System and impacts on society, Sustainable Energy, and Filing of research data.

The research project in terms of the agreement ratified on 09 February 2018, runs for six years from this year through to 2023

“The first year (2018) is earmarked for completing the grant agreement(s) with the implementing agencies, prepare and launch the one and only call for grants, assess incoming proposals and allocate grants.

“The next three to four years (2019 -2022) will be the grant implementing period and the final year (2023) for reporting and finalising the programme,” say the parties in a statement

“The new bilateral research co-operation programme aims to strengthen research in these areas in both countries. Ocean space and the blue economy is a strategic priority for both South Africa and Norway as reflected by the launching of Operation Phakisa, which aims to fast-track solutions on critical development issues in South Africa, and the recent White Paper on the place of the oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy.

“Norway and South Africa also recognise the threat of dangerous climate change and work towards achieving the decisions taken during the 2015 Paris agreement, calling for continued knowledge production on climate change, the environment and renewable energies.

“Research in all these fields should provide a renewed basis for cooperation, innovation, and the pursuit of profitable business opportunities for both countries,” say the parties to the SAOCEAN agreement.

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Dr Karl Klingsheim, Science & Technology Counsellor
Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pretoria

Meanwhile, according to Dr Karl Klingsheim, counsellor at the Norwegian embassy in South Africa, the two initiatives are part of a broader research investment funding by Norway jointly with various parties in which South African in particular can tap in.

He provided the list of research funds available as follows:

Research:

  • SANOCEAN (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/SANOCEAN/1254033164010/p1184150364108?visAktive=true
    The goal of the bilateral SANOCEAN research program (“South Africa – Norway Co-Operation on Ocean Research including blue economy, climate change, the environment and sustainable energy”) is enhanced knowledge-based policies and decisions for sustainable development in the areas of oceans and ocean space (blue economy), environment (with emphasis on oceans and pollution), climate change and sustainable energy in South Africa and Norway. Particular attention shall be paid on aspects leading to income generation and provide selling arguments to producers, service providers as well as young entrepreneurs. The research needs to be relevant to South African and Norwegian priorities. On a wider scale, the programme shall aim to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • MILJØFORSK (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/MILJOFORSK/1254008919542

The primary objective of the “Programme for Environmental Research for a Green Transition” (MILJØFORSK) is to strengthen the knowledge base for sustainable development and the transition to a green society. The MILJØFORSK programme is the Research Council’s primary environmental research initiative and encompasses the land-based environment, fresh water and air. The programme will generate new knowledge about biodiversity, cultural environments, ecosystem services, hazardous substances and pollution, among other topics. It will also study pressures on the environment and the relationships between social and natural drivers/responses and measures. In addition, the programme will generate more knowledge about key environmental challenges and provide the government administration, trade and industry, and society at large with a better foundation on which to take decisions to promote a green transition.

  • NORGLOBAL2 (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/NORGLOBAL2/1254025180071
    The primary objective of NORGLOBAL2 (“Norway – Global Partner”) is to produce research-based knowledge of high quality on poverty reduction and sustainable development informing development policies, development programmes, private sector investments and further research. As the world gathers around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), knowledge based on high quality research on international development can be crucial to ensure progress. NORGLOBAL-2 will have a challenge-based approach, where researchers are invited to develop projects that address challenges within broadly defined areas. To ensure research of high quality and relevance, this will usually require co-production of knowledge between researchers in the North and in the South, and the cooperation between several disciplines. Active collaboration is encouraged with researchers in collaborative countries for Norwegian Overseas Development Assistance.
  • KLIMAFORSK personal mobility grants (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/KLIMAFORSK/1254033598449?WT.mc_id=nyhetsbrev-ForskningsradetEngelsk
    The KLIMAFORSK programme is announcing funding for research stays abroad and visiting researcher stays in Norway that promote the scientific and strategic objectives of the programme. Applicants are encouraged to read the text of the call carefully and to comply with the requirements stipulated for the relevant application type and the call for proposals.
  • INT-BILAT (open-ended): forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/INTBILAT/1253997815241
    “International bilateral research cooperation” (INT-BILAT) offers travel support to expand industry-oriented R&D cooperation with Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and the US. Bilateral cooperation provides access to global knowledge production and helps to ensure that Norway benefits from the results of international research. Calls for proposals under this activity may address all or some of these countries. They may be directed towards certain target groups and may encompass travel support, fellowships and support for events.

 

Higher education:

  • INTPART (deadline 25 April): https://www.forskningsradet.no/en/Funding/INTPART/1254007331831
    The objective of the INTPART programme (“International partnerships for excellent education, research and innovation”) is to develop world-class research and education in Norway through long term international cooperation. The programme will create a framework for expanding cooperation between research groups considered to be at the international forefront today or that are believed to have the potential to become world leaders in their fields in the future. The programme will help to increase the extent and enhance the quality and relevance of scientific cooperation with selected countries, in particular by establishing strong ties between higher education and research cooperation. It will also pave the way for cooperation with the business and public sectors, when relevant. The programme will ensure that its portfolio covers all eight countries: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa and the USA, and encompasses both new and established partnerships. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
  • UTFORSK (deadline 25 September): https://www.siu.no/eng/Programme-information/Cooperation-outside-the-EU/utforsk
    The UTFORSK programme aims to enhance long-term cooperation in higher education between Norway and Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Africa. It support academic partnerships based on the mutual, strategic interests of the institutions and aims to enhance the quality of international cooperation in education by encouraging integration with research cooperation and involvement of non-academic partners. The objectives are to establish and strengthen educational partnerships between institutions in Norway and the partner countries through: development and implementation of joint educational activities; increased mobility of students, including internships/work placements; increased integration of higher education and research; and increased involvement of non-academic partners. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
  • InternAbroad (deadline 25 September): https://www.siu.no/eng/Programme-information/Cooperation-outside-the-EU/internabroad
    The objective of InternAbroad is to increase the number of students from Norway who do a credit-yielding internship or work placement abroad, where they get practical experience in a job, enhance intercultural competencies and language skills, and acquaint themselves with work environments and business cultures in a foreign country. As a result, students will benefit from a more relevant education, and companies and organisations will benefit from access to a pool of talented students who may become future employees. The internships may be undertaken in any form of business or organisation, whether it is small or large, private or public, for-profit or non-profit. The internships must take place in one or more of the partner countries: Brazil, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Canada or USA. (Application must come from the Norwegian partner.)
  • ErasmusPlus (open ended): http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/about_en
    Erasmus+ will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. It will also support national efforts to modernise Education, Training, and Youth systems. In the field of Sport, there will be support for grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of Education, Training, and Youth; it will for the first time provide support for Sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the Education link to another EC website, Training link to another EC website, Youth link to another EC website, and Sport link to another EC website sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules.

 

EU research:

Please see “Roadmap for EU – South Africa S&T cooperation”: http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/policy/za_roadmap_2017.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none

 

The PES2020 scheme (“Project Establishment Support directed towards H2020”) is one of several funding instruments employed by the Norwegian Research Council to strengthen Norwegian participation under H2020 and improve returns in the form of greater project funding from H2020. The EU funding arena is highly competitive, and it takes knowledge, time and resources to prepare good project proposals. The PES2020 scheme is designed to relieve some of the cost burden for Norwegian applicants related to the preparation of project proposals. The scheme is also designed to raise the overall competence of Norwegian applicants with regard to participation under H2020, as well as to: enhance the quality of the proposals submitted; increase the number of proposals involving Norwegian participants; and encourage participation of new applicants in EU projects.

A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: RISE supports mobility and exchange of research and innovation staff, incl. managerial, technical and administrative staff between institutions in different sectors or with research institutions in countries outside of Europe. The RISE scheme promotes international and cross-sector collaboration through exchanging research and innovation staff, and sharing knowledge and ideas from research to market (and vice-versa). The scheme fosters a shared culture of research and innovation that welcomes and rewards creativity and entrepreneurship and helps to turn creative ideas into innovative products, services or processes.

A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: Individual Fellowships (IF) are awarded to the best researchers at postdoctoral level, of any nationality, for 12-24 months employment in EU Member States or Associated Countries. Fellowships take form of European or Global Fellowships. Global Fellowships have a mandatory 12 month return period. The goal of the Individual Fellowships is to enhance the creative and innovative potential of experienced researchers, wishing to diversify their individual competence in terms of skill acquisition through advanced training, international and intersectoral mobility. Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to researchers of any nationality to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research and innovation in Europe (EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries) and beyond. The scheme particularly supports the return and (re)integration of European researchers from outside Europe and those who have previously worked here, as well as researchers displaced by conflict outside the EU and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries. It also promotes the career restart of individual researchers who show great potential.

A call for funding from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020: MSCA COFUND offers co-funding for regional, national or international fellowship programmes on doctoral and postdoctoral level, where transnational mobility is part of the action. The COFUND scheme aims to stimulate regional, national or international programmes to foster excellence in researchers’ training, mobility and career development, spreading the best practices of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. This will be achieved by co-funding new or existing regional, national, and international programmes to open up to, and provide for, international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary research training, as well as transnational and cross-sectoral mobility of researchers at all stages of their career.

For companies:

  • Visjon 2030 (in Norwegian only) skal avlaste risiko i utviklings- og pilotfasen. Bedrifter som søker oppfordres til samarbeid med humanitære organisasjoner, forskningsinstitusjoner eller andre bedrifter for å sikre lokal markedskompetanse og forankring. Partnerskapet skal bidra til at innovasjonsprosjektet utvikler et produkt det er behov for og som lar seg kommersialisere. Vi ser etter bedrifter som kan tilby innovative løsninger knyttet til helse og utdanning, og som kan bidra til å redusere fattigdom i utviklingsland. Søknadsfrist 20. april.
  • SAIS, the Southern Africa Innovation Support programme, is a regional development initiative that supports the growth of new businesses through knowledge, networks and entrepreneurship. Are you an innovation support organization from research/academia, civil society or perhaps from private sector such as an innovation hub, lab, incubator or accelerators? Do you support entrepreneurs and startups and have partners in the SADC region and beyond? SAIS Call for Proposals in 2018 is open 12.3.2018 – 25.4.2018 and is targeting projects under three thematic areas, Stronger Ecosystems, Scaling Enterprises and Inclusive innovations.
  • EUROSTARS is the only European funding programme to be specifically dedicated to support R&D-performing SMEs in their innovative R&D projects. With its bottom-up approach, it stimulates international collaborative research and innovation projects that will be rapidly commercialized. A EUROSTARS project must have a civilian purpose and be aimed at the development of a new product, process or service.

 

 

 

 

World oceans are drowning in plastic waste, the shipping industry is not the culprit: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 28 July 2017

The world’s oceans may be drowning fast in a mess of global plastic waste – estimated currently at some 275 million metric tons and in its wake, threatening all life on earth – but the shipping industry on which close on 90% of world trade depends, is not the culprit. Well, not quite.

That is because global shipping practices at sea are highly guarded through a number of international regulations, otherwise known as conventions, and closely monitored by member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including South Africa, the latter through the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Captain Ravi Naicker, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue national operations manager. Cape Town

This was revealed by SAMSA’s Centre for Sea Watch and Response (CSWR) during a mini conference hosted jointly by the SAMSA, United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront recently.

The mini conference occurred within a week of the wrap up of an even bigger oceans plastic waste gathering, the Africa Marine Waste Conference, held over five days in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in early July, attended by about 250 delegates including a high contingent of scientists from Africa, the US, and Asia Pacific countries.

At the Cape Town event, keynote speakers included Dr Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, United States, and director of the Center for Circular Materials Management at New Materials Institute; John Duncan of the World Wildlife Fund and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CE of Sustainable Seas Trust.

SAMSACSWR national operations manager, Captain Ravi Naicker, explained that global shipping involving millions of trade cargo vessels at sea daily – and therefore the most potential culprits for massive plastic and related waste pollution of the oceans – were actually not the culprits.

The revelation came against the backdrop of statistics showing that South Africa ranked No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone was responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

img_3102-722017With an estimated population of some 12.9-million people occupying the coastal line of South Africa, this amounted to about two kilograms of plastic waste per person per annum.

Globally, the world’s 192 countries situated along oceans and seas across the globe were said to generate as much as 2.5-billion metric tons of solid waste, of which 275-million metric tons was plastic waste and an estimated 8-million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste ended up in the seas in 2010, according to statistics by Dr Jenna Jambeck.

Just over 6-million metric tons of the global (coastal countries) mismanaged plastic waste dumped at seas was currently still floating freely at the surface of global oceans waters, in the process, placing all life both in the oceans as well as on land, at extremely high risk.

According to Dr Jambeck, one of the contributing factors to widespread distribution of plastic waste is that: “In use – (plastic) items that are designed to last forever are only used a short period of time. 40% of plastic production is for packaging – and there are packaging needs for essential foods and things, but I will argue that we should rethink our systems and designs to meet those needs”

a-2Captain Naicker said ocean going vessels globally in South Africa’s oceans space contributed very little to this as waste management on ships was highly regulated.

He said the Africa region alone had about 18 000 vessels traversing its waters annually, with just over 3 000 of these sailing through South Africa’s oceans space equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers of an Economic Exclusive Zone, from the Atlantic, the Southern Ocean through to the Indian Ocean.

Yet, of 1469 vessels randomly stopped for inspection over a six year period between 2011 and 2017, only 2.5% were detained for violation of environmental management protocols at sea, and only about 0.1% were responsible for garbage and record keeping violations.

SAMSA is the country’s State agency tasked through legislation (the SAMSA Act 1998) with responsibility for ensuring safety of life and property at sea, the combating and prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships, and promoting South Africa’s maritime interests.

Guiding the agency’s activities with regards the first two objectives relating specifically to safety of life and property as well as sound integrity of the marine environment, were six (6) International Conventions for the Prevention of Pollution by Ships (MARPOL Annextures) pieces of legislation binding member port states of the IMO for strict implementation in their respective ocean spaces.

In addition all trade vessels registered (flagged) in countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to the legislation and associated regulations regardless of where they sail in the world.

“These clearly state that ships using South African waters have no right to pollute seas while sailing here and that we are entitled to take action against should they fail to observe the law.

“However, member states are also required to provide facilities that enable ships to dispose of waste they cannot manage responsibly on board the vessels.” said Capt Naicker.

For his full presentation (about nine [9] minutes) Click on the video.

To read more on Dr Jambeck’s work, Click Here, and Here

End.

A global war on plastic waste may see an end, with South Africa playing a lead role in it: African Marine Waste Conference

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Port Elizabeth: 11 July 2017

An ongoing global strife against marine waste, but particularly plastic waste gradually rendering the world’s oceans a cesspit of debris threatening all life on earth, might soon score some victories and South Africa might have a pioneering role in this regard.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the country will be introducing a technologically advanced plastic material designed to rapidly dissolve in water once sufficiently exposed.

This emerged at the African Marine Waste Conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, involving more than 200 delegates, among them dozens of leading scientists from several African and other countries.

IMG_6403In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Dr Sudhakar Muniyasamy, a senior researcher on polymers and composites at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) revealed that the new plastic material for use in plastic carrier bags used mostly by retail stores would begin distribution in the coming year.

He said two of the country’s major clothes and foods retailers, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths would be the first participants in the use of the new plastic material.

‘Plastic waste is a global issue and in seeking solutions to this problem, my research team focused on developing a plastic material that when it reaches landfill sites or the marine environment, it is completely biodegradable.

“The research and development phase is completed and we are now embarking on pilot scale production. The technology has drawn the interest of Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay and we are expecting them, maybe next year, to be on the license stage,” announced Dr Muniyasamy.

IMG_6436According to the scientist, once sufficiently distributed for single use plastic carrier bags from next year onwards, the new material should go a long way towards reducing plastic waste both at dumpsites as well as in the marine environment.

He also confirmed that along with the new technologically advanced plastic material, a campaign would be rolled to ensure that manufacturers of all plastic material currently in use meet a set of new stringent standards.

Dr Muniyasamy said South Africa was embarking on the efforts in collaboration with other African countries, among them being Egypt.

For the full five (5) minutes interview, Click Here

Booms, Bins and Bags – a B3 solution to the BIGA problem.

That is a solution driven by Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, a senior marine biology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal primarily to rid rivers in that province of South Africa of plastic waste often left to float freely by both established waste removal entities of local municipalities, but also by the population generally.

The project according to Dr Robertson-Andersson came to life after she’d transferred from Cape Town to Durban and on approaching the beaches in the city, found them littered with all sorts of plastic waste but especially small items such as bottle tops, straws, earbuds and other smaller broken plastic materials.

In collaboration with others, including independent NGOs, the project involving volunteers collects as much as between 300 and 1300 bags of small plastic waste along rivers such as the Umhlangane and Umgeni per time period.

In a three (3 minutes) video, Dr Robertson-Andersson chats briefly about the project.

 

End