ACTS Mourns the Death of its Founder - Prof. Calestous Juma
On 15th December 2017, Prof. Calestous Juma, a research and development icon who revolutionized development thinking in Africa, breathed his last while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), the brainchild of Prof. Juma, is deeply saddened and mourns this death, which is a big blow not just to Kenya, but the global fraternity of science and development revolutionaries.
ACTS CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP
The Governing Council of ACTS has appointed one of its members, Mr. Kennedy Orwa, as the interim Executive Director of ACTS, effective 1st August 2017. This follows the departure of Dr Cosmas Ochieng, the former Executive Director, who has moved on to pursue other interests.
Kennedy has served in the Governing Council of ACTS for four years and brings on board a wealth of experiences in governance, institutional management, as well as programme development.
New Book Alert: Harnessing Nanotechnology for Sustainable Development in Africa
Editors: Hailemichael Teshome Demissie, Cosmas Milton Obote Ochieng, Guillermo Foladori and Desalegn Mengesha (ACTS Press, University of Gondar Press and STIC)
It is now the least contested view that technology has made people wealthier, healthier and wiser. This progress has not been without the iatrogenic effects of technology. Development, if untamed, could bring about existential risk to humanity and hence the rise of the concept of ‘sustainable development’.
The simultaneous pursuit of the sustainability trio, viz, economic prosperity, environmental quality and social equity or, in the SDGs lingo, the needs of ‘People, Planet, Prosperity’, is the wicked challenge that humanity has yet to resolve. Technology has been providing solutions to diffuse this tension between the conflicting ideas of sustainable development and this has been recognised in the proposals of the SDGs. Platform technologies like nanotechnology, biotechnology, 3D printing, big data, artificial intelligence and other emerging fields of technology are offering promises and delivering results towards achieving sustainability. The book, perhaps the first of its kind in Africa, focusses on nanotechnology and its promises and risks to sustainable development in Africa.
ACTS ranked 3rd Top Climate Think Tank in the Rest of the World by ICCG Climate Think Tank Rankings 2016
The International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) announces the publication of its 2016 “Climate Think Tank Rankings”, the authoritative and worldwide known assessment of the most cutting-edge institutions working in the field of climate change economics and policy.
According to the Absolute Ranking, the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) has been assigned the special mention “3rd Top Climate Think Tank in the Rest of the World” in the 2016 edition of the ICCG Climate Think Tank Ranking.
Clean cookstove award won due in part to ACTS’ project research
Our partners in the LCT project at United International University (UIU) in Bangladesh won first prize at a Power and Energy Hackathon organised by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources in Bangladesh last week. They won with their fan driven improved cookstove design that is currently being piloted in Kenya by RECI with mentoring support from ACTS.
Apply now for the Commonwealth scholarships 2017
Deadline for applications 12th May 2017
The UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is sponsoring 10 Scholarships for the UK Open University Master of Science in Environmental Management. This is a three year distance learning course, which commences in November 2017.
Call for Applications for the 2017 SAG-SEED Awards
Eco-inclusive Start-up Enterprises can Submit Their Candidacy by 08 March 2017
Nairobi, 10 January 2017 – Eco-inclusive start-up enterprises that are solving pressing local issues by integrating social and environmental benefits into their business models can apply for the 2017 SEED Awards.
Winning enterprises will receive a tailor-made business support package. Over a period of 6 months, they will be offered expert advice on further developing their business plans, individual workshops targeted at their needs, high-level profiling of their enterprises and access to an international network of businesses, governments and development institutions. Selected by an independent jury of international experts, winners will receive their awards at the SEED’s high level national dialogue forums.
NDC Explorer: Online Tool Makes Climate Action Plans More Comparable and Transparent
Bonn (16/01/2017). The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and its partners are making the national climate action plans submitted under the Paris Climate Change Agreement more comparable with the help of an interactive tool on climate action and policy: the NDC Explorer.
In 2013, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decided that every member state should formulate its concrete national contribution to address climate change, the (I)NDCs.
Launch of the Natural Capital Protocol.
The Natural Capital Coalition is launching a ‘Protocol Application Program’ on July 13 in London to support businesses as they apply the Natural Capital Protocol and sector guides.
The Protocol provides a standardized framework for business to identify, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on natural capital. The Protocol Application Program will support businesses through regular webinars and materials, as well helping to introduce them to trainers and technical advisors who can help them improve their decision making. It will also provide a structured approach to collecting feedback and generating case studies to encourage further uptake of the Protocol.
Paris Agreement Factsheet
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a legal instrument adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement recognizes climate change as a ‘common concern for mankind’ and urges parties (countries) to be cognizant of gender equality, women empowerment, indigenous peoples, the most vulnerable, persons with disability and intergenerational equity.
Commonwealth scholarships 2016 - Apply Now
The UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is sponsoring 10 Scholarships for the UK Open University Master of Science in Environmental Management. This is a three year distance learning course, which commences in November 2016.
Green champions workshop report
The African Centre for Technology Studies, Die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) - the German Corporation for International Cooperation, National Treasury (Kenya) and the Greening Kenya Initiative (GKI) organised a one day workshop on green economy at the Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi on 17th November 2015. The workshop brought together over 60 Green Champions, County Government officials, and civil society leaders.
Call for applications -Three partnership funding opportunities: small grants, visiting fellowships and STEPS Summer School bursaries
Governing the Nexus in Southern Africa - A partnership for understanding politics, institutional dynamics and challenges at the intersection of land, water and environmental governance in southern African contexts.
This project is co-‐funded through a grant from the ESRC and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and brings together three leading organisations working at the interface of research and policy and with long track-‐records in internationally recognised social science work on environment and development.
Consultations on the draft Natural Capital Protocol launched at the 2nd World Forum on Natural Capital
The Natural Capital Coalition, launched in 2012, brings together the different initiatives and organisations working in natural capital to collaborate on projects that will help to deliver a common vision of a world where business conserves and enhances natural capital.
The Natural Capital Protocol is a product of the Natural Capital Coalition. The Natural Capital Coalition has brought together – through two consortia led by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the world’s leading institutions from business, accountancy, consultancy, financial institutions and NGOs to develop the Natural Capital Protocol, two sector guides on Food and Beverage and Apparel, and to engage business in the development and testing of the Protocol.
Mainstreaming biodiversity management into business practice
The current ecological crises facing the world are a major result of humanity no longer living off the dividends of natural capital, but rather depleting the natural capital. Businesses are a major consumer of natural resources, hence critical to any efforts to address this issue. It is in this context that the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) of South Africa partnered with the National Business and Biodiversity Network (NBBN) undertook a study to assess the current approaches and practices of South African businesses in South Africa, titled Overview of Current Approaches and Practises of South African Businesses to the Mainstreaming of Biodiversity. A Preliminary Assessment. This report was commissioned by the DEA, and authored by Dr. Marie Parramon-Gurney, with inputs from Dr. Joel Houdet (African Centre for Technology Studies), Mr. Kiruben Naicker (DEA), Dr. Harriet Davies-Moster (EWT), Ms. Shelley Lizzio (EWT) and the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, University of Pretoria.
The Senchi Statement launched at the first Pan-African Business and Biodiversity Forum
Over 41 countries gathered in Senchi, Ghana, from 9-10 October, 2015, under the aegis of the Pan-African business and biodiversity Forum (PABF). Participants represented governments, business, civil society, academia, development institutions and financial institutions. Participants explored the business-biodiversity nexus, focusing on four thematic areas of extractive industries, Natural Capital Accounting, Sustainable Agriculture and renewable Energy. This forum was part of an overarching series of global exchanges aimed at exploring the importance of conserving natural capital in the context of sustainable development.
ACTS Senior Research Fellow nominated as a technical working group member of the Climate Disclose Standards Board
The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) is an international consortium of business and environmental NGOs. The CDSB committed to advancing and aligning the global mainstream corporate reporting model to equate natural capital with financial capital.
CDSB's mission is to provide decision-useful environmental information to markets via the mainstream corporate report to enhance the efficient allocation of capital, corporate performance and for the continuance of economic, social and environmental systems.
CDSB advances its mission by:
World Bioenergy Association elects two new vice presidents
WBA had its annual steering committee meeting, general assembly and board meeting at the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Nairobi, Kenya on 9th June 2015.
During the meeting, Dr Benard Muok, Director of Programmes, ACTS (African Centre for Technology Studies), Kenya and Dr Tanay Sidki Uyar, Professor, Marmara University, Turkey were elected for one year as new vice presidents of WBA. They join the team of Douglas Bradley (Canada), Andrew Lang (Australia) and Sribas Bhattacharya (India) as re-elected Vice-presidents of WBA.
STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub Launched in Nairobi
Blog by Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre
“There is no better time to launch the Africa Sustainability Hub than now,” says Dr Mohamed Kyari from the Human Resources, Science and Technology Department of the African Union. The AU strategy science and technology and innovation was confirmed by Heads of State last June. The vision of the African Union is to develop a strategy for development led by African citizens. Sustainability is a priority area across all the pillars of work. “We cannot live without sustainability,” Dr Kyari says.
Kenya Finance Minister: Steps Africa is "a huge contribution"
Blog by Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre
On behalf of the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury on Kenya, Hon. Henry Rotich, Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources formally launched the STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub today in Nairobi.
The speech underscored the importance of Low Carbon Economy Development in Africa. “Low carbon development will play an important role in the realization of sustainable economic growth”.
Why access to energy is crucial for economic growth and poverty reduction
Blog By Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre
This week I am in Nairobi for a conference focused on ‘Low Carbon Africa’, discussing the diverse pathways to low carbon energy. Energy access is a key issue across the continent. Last week Kofi Annan launched the ‘Africa Progress Panel’ report that argued for a massive energy revolution on the continent, with the potential for technological leapfrogging to a low carbon future.
ACTS calls for abstracts for ESP 8 conference “ecosystem services in business” session
The Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) is a worldwide network, founded in 2008, to enhance the science and practical application of ecosystem services. To facilitate the needed dialogue between scientists, policy makers and practitioners ESP organises an annual international conference in different parts of the world.
The 8th World ESP conference will be held in South Africa from 9-13 November 2015.
International Youth Should Must Adapt To Climate Change
By Joel Onyango, Winnie Khaemba
Rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, shifting seasons and climate related disasters are but a few indicators to the impacts that climate change has on the Gaia. As a result, vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and natural resources exploitation are hard hit, not to mention urban and rural settlements and populations. This makes Climate Change ‘simply the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family’, says Ban Ki Moon (Secretary General of the United Nations) and we couldn’t agree more. To cushion against these impacts, communities have to adapt to climate variability and change. This realization by multiple stakeholders was the genesis of the global annual conferences on Community Based Adaptation (CBA).
Commonwealth Scholarships 2015
The UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is sponsoring 10 Scholarships for the UK Open University Master of Science in Environmental Management. This is a three year distance learning course, which commences in November 2015. The course is taught by the Open University and is managed locally by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) which is a leading international development policy think tank working on issues of science, technology, innovation (STI) and sustainable development. ACTS has over 20 years’ experience in managing STI capacity building initiatives within and outside Africa.
ACTS Wins Total Quality Management Award
ACTS Wins Award for Total Quality Management (Gold Category) from Business Initiative Directions (BID), a quality management assurance agency. The award ceremony took place at hotel Intercontinental Geneva, Switzerland. ACTS was represented by our Executive Director Dr. Cosmas Ochieng who picked the award, the event was also attended by a few Geneva based diplomats.
Water Ecosystem Services: A Global Perspective
ACTS is pleased to announce the book “Water Ecosystem Services: A Global Perspective” is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
This comprehensive volume describes how ecosystem services-based approaches can assist in addressing major global and regional water challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and water security in the developing world, by integrating scientific knowledge from different disciplines, such as hydrological modelling, environmental economics, psychology and international law.
Call for nomination of experts
IPBES Platform objectively performs regular and timely assessments of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their inter-linkages, which should include comprehensive global, regional and, as necessary, sub-regional assessments and thematic issues at appropriate scales and new topics identified by science and as decided upon by the Plenary.
Currently, two IPBES reports are in the draft phases of development. As part of the open, transparent and collaborative process towards the development of these reports, there is a First Order Draft for review by experts, starting January 19 and ending on March 2, 2015 for Deliverable 3a) Thematic assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production and Deliverable 3c) Policy support tools and methodologies for scenario analysis and modelling of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
2014 Global Go To Think Tanks report
ACTS has been ranked 22nd in the Top Science and Technology Think Tanks worldwide by the 2014 Global Go To Think Tanks report published by the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, ACTS was also ranked 46th in the Top Environment Think Tanks category and 91st in the Top Think Tanks Worldwide (Non-U.S.) category.
The report is a product of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania, which works with leading scholars and practitioners from think tanks and universities in a variety of collaborative efforts and programs. TTCSP produces the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index, which ranks the world’s leading think tanks in a variety of categories.
Research Network to boost development in Africa Planned
A new research and capacity building hub focusing on sustainable development issues in Africa will be established by mid this year, a meeting has heard. The STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub, which was announced during a meeting held in Kenya last year (6 November), aims to create a network of African researchers with interest in sustainable development.
David Ockwell, the deputy executive director of Social, Technical and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre, which is located in the UK-based Institute of Development Studies, said the hub will help Africans address critical issues of development through research and capacity building.
“This will be a research network that will look at pro-poor pathways to low carbon development and energy transitions that meet the needs of the poor,” Ockwell noted, adding that the hub will be one of its kind in Africa.
STEPS Centre Summer School - University of Sussex, 11-22 May 2015
The STEPS Centre is now inviting applications to take part in its fourth annual Summer School.
Applications are invited from highly-motivated doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, working in fields around development studies, science and technology studies, innovation and policy studies, and across agricultural, health, water or energy issues.
Participants will explore the theme of pathways to sustainability through a mixture of workshops, lectures, outdoor events and focused interaction with STEPS Centre members. The Summer School takes place at the Institute of Development Studies on the Sussex University campus, near Brighton, UK.
UNICEF State of the World's Children report - Social technologies to save children from disease
By Dr. Rebecca Hanlin
Vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, measles and tetanus kill hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 5 every year.
Add to this the number of children who could be saved from diseases for which vaccines are currently being developed – and so comprehend the full potential of vaccines. Traditionally, research and development (R&D) for vaccines were not deemed as profitable as research and development for drugs, because most vaccines around the world are given free through state-sponsored schemes. As a result, by the mid-1990s, very little R&D into new generation vaccines was taking place. The challenge of ensuring that new generation vaccines would nonetheless be created gave rise to new forms of collaboration.
Dr. Rebecca Hanlin interview with SciDev.net - All African students should get innovation training
Teaching innovation in universities would show future leaders that it’s about more than R&D, says Rebecca Hanlin.
Innovation is a hot topic these days in Africa. The success of African innovation and enterprise is increasingly recognised — examples include the mobile money-transfer service M-PESA for banking, bladeless wind turbines for energy and improved crop management mechanisms such as planting pits (‘zai’) for agriculture, to name just three sectors.