A bit about Mission East
Introducing Mission East, this week’s EU-CORD climate champion—an international relief and development organization working in crisis-affected regions. They deliver emergency relief and long-term development assistance, partnering directly with beneficiaries and local/international partners to enhance impact, relevance, and sustainability.
Rebuilding Ukraine the Green Way
6,436 damaged buildings and no less than 2,5 million tons of debris. This is what a detailed survey of 70 settlements found in an area of the Mykolaiv region that saw heavy fighting at the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
This poses both an enormous waste problem and a climate threat because of the need for emissions-heavy concrete for the rebuilding that is now starting.
The survey was made by Mission East in cooperation with the Ukrainian branch of French recycling company Neo Eco and the Ukrainian tech firm UADamage, using drone technology and AI to process the data.
Together Neo Eco and Mission East are working to meet the dual challenge, CO2 and waste.
What people usually do is they just leave it in a field and in the forest. It’s a disaster. It’s not sorted. Asbestos, plastic, batteries, you can find anything there, just anything. Luminiscent lamps with lead elements, says Kyrylo Chernyshuk, who’s Country Business Director for Neo Eco.
The first part of the project has just started work. In one of the most damaged of the surveyed villages a group of war veterans are now starting sorting the debris. Many veterans have problems fitting into regular jobs due to PTSD or other conditions, and the project aims to create jobs for them.
More than 85 percent of the material is possible to use again. We can recycle it on site and we can use it again to build new houses, he explains.
Crushing and using the old concrete, using it for new concrete saves just under 2 kg of CO2 emission per ton. This creates the potential for saving 4,5 tons of CO2 emission in rebuilding the area.
Building Resilient Systems to Long Term Drought in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan an estimated record of 28.3 million people will need humanitarian assistance. The collapse of institutions and of the economy in the country converge into a catastrophic drought generated by the climate change, all drivers for an increased food insecurity where people do not have access to food nor to incomes.
We are now in the third consecutive year of persistent drought conditions affecting the majority of the Afghanistan’s provinces which is destroying the livelihoods and the food availability in the rural areas where 80% of the family income depend on agricultural activities.
Humanitarian assistance to make it through the drought is an insufficient solution and a non-sustainable one. The droughts are recurring and there is an imperative urgency to support the communities to adapt and cope with changed climate patterns.
Climate change modify the climate pattern and seasonality in the northeast provinces where Mission East is working. Local communities are used to agricultural seasons and cycles that are now modified and more difficult to predict and deal with.
Programme Manager for Mission East Irene Bronzini
Mission East climate action to address these climate vulnerabilities in the northeastern provinces of Afghanistan, consists of a threefold strategy that aim to build a resilient ecosystem in the long-term.
The first is to train the farmers in drought resilient and organic farming methods that will improve the soil health and promote regenerative agriculture practices.
The second is to create alternative opportunities for the improvement of the community livelihood that are climate sensitive – like making bio briquettes composed by organic waste to serve as fuel for heating and cooking in the house of local communities or the setting up solar veranda to warm the houses through the solar hitting power.
This feeds into the third areas of action, which is the natural resources management through a reforestation program, watershed creation, and solar water system that aim to conserve and preserve the environment and its resources.
The locals are now taking full ownership and are participating actively to create a system which is working with nature, not against. A system that allow them to be more resilient against flooding and landslides, to restore the CO2 cycle within forest and to keep protecting the water sources – Irene Bronzini says.
This strategy relay on the local engagement to care about the environment. It’s a change in the vision at the community level and we saw already how the results in the preservation of the environment has already changed their thinking. But the final goal will be decades in the making. I believe it will give big results. It’s a long-term strategy.
Advocating for climate justice at COP28
Unusually heavy rains led to a landslide in the isolated Karnali region in Western Nepal last year. The harsh consequences of the climate crisis in this region expose communities to heightened vulnerability and highlight the urgent need for sustainable solutions.
“We’re experiencing a huge amount of loss and damage,” says Geeta Panday, policy advocacy director of KIRDARC. Mission East and KIRDARC are working on a report which will map lived experiences of loss and damage inselected geographies in Karnali: “It’s climate-induced landslides and in the lowlands it’s the floods. What is the economic loss? And what are the non-economic losses?”, says Geeta Panday.
“Around 1,000 households were damaged in the landslide. People lost their crops, their houses, their livestock. Roads were damaged”, says Ujjwal Amatya, country director for Mission East in Nepal, who also points to the non-economic losses.
This includes displaced families, children having to work instead of going to school, and loss of lievlihoods and respect for the families who lost their land. And then there’s the uncertainty and stress that it can happen again. “They really worry. They didn’t expect those things in that area,” he says.
To address these challenges and the region’s demanding geography, Mission East and KIRDARC are working with communities to actively engage and develop their knowledge and skills, embrace sustainable farming practices, and engage in initiatives designed to enhance their adaptive capacity and resilience to the challenges of climate change, ultimately enhancing their socio-economic status.
Another important element of the work is bringing local voices to the fore at COP28. Mission East and KIRDARC will be participating, sharing the experiences of the communities, and advocating for a comprehensive and effective loss and damages fund to support the people experiencing loss and damage, including in Nepal.
We do this “to pressurize all the developed countries to show them how much we are suffering,” says Geeta Panday.