UNESCO – UNU Chair on the Concept and Practice of Zero Emission in Africa
Report established by: PROFESSOR KETO E. MSHIGENI, Vice Chancellor, University of Namibia
2. MY INITIAL EXPOSURE TO THE ZERI CONCEPT
Zero Emissions Research Initiatives looks at a wide spectrum of materials which are normally discarded as waste, often polluting the environment, and transforming them to become raw materials for many new, marketable, value-added products. It is driven by the global concern that society must respond to the world’s growing needs for water, food, health care, shelter, energy, new jobs, sustainable productivity, and wise environmental management. It stands for the development of new technologies to enhance sustainable production. It embraces technologies, which will generate a dramatic increase in the productivity of raw materials. It stands for creative multidisciplinary research agenda, which blend old and new technologies. It offers a new framework for policy making. It provides new innovative approaches that address problems of ignorance, poverty, preventable diseases, unemployment, and environmental degradation. It is anti-waste. It mimics nature. It catalyses the up sizing of the economy…!
2. CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS THE PROMOTION OF THE ZERI CONCEPT AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ZERI PROJECT ACTIVITIES IN AFRICA UNDER THE UNU/UNESCO ZERI AFRICA CHAIR
The year 1997 saw significant achievements on ZERI in Africa. This was facilitated by the excellent working relationship between the UNESCO/UNU ZERI Africa Chair and the Founder and Director of ZERI, the Rector and the Vice Rector of the UNU, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Namibia, UNDP Namibia, and Namibia’s Private Sector. The then UNDP Resident Representative in Namibia, Dr. Stephen Adei, an accomplished economist, saw that the ZERI philosophy could transform the concept, "garbage-in garbage-out" into "garbage-in goods-out"! Indeed through collaboration between the University of Namibia, Namibia Breweries, the ZERI Foundation, the United Nations University, UNDP, and UNESCO, in January 1997, we were able to organize the First International Training Workshop on Zero Emissions in Africa. The Workshop was attended by participants from Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, The U.K., Japan, and China.
During the Workshop, the ZERI Breweries Plant in Tsumeb, Northern Namibia, which was the first private public partnership between the University of Namibia and any Namibian industrial establishment operating on Zero Emissions principles, was formally inaugurated by H.E. President Sam Nujoma, in the presence of the then Rector of the United Nations University, Prof. Heitor Gurgulino de Souza. Dr. Stephen Adei, Mr. Gunter Pauli, and myself, were co-organisers of this historic International Workshop.
The Second half of 1997 witnessed the hosting of the Third Annual World Congress on ZERI, which was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The then Indonesian Minister of Environment, and Mr. Gunter Pauli, and I (in my capacity as Chairman of the International Scientific Advisory Council on ZERI), were co-organisers of that important Workshop, which was attended by three Presidents and Heads of State: the President of Indonesia, the President of Fiji, and the President of Namibia. The UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair at the University of Namibia, jointly with the ZERI Foundation, assisted with the compilation, the editing, and the publication of the Congress Proceedings.
The year 1998 also saw significant growth of the ZERI concept in Africa. In April of that year, the then UNDP Resident Representative in Tanzania, Mr. Victor Angelo, facilitated the securing of funding support which enabled the UNESCO/UNU ZERI Africa Chair in Namibia, jointly with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), to co-host the Second International ZERI Training Workshop in Africa, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Workshop was attended by participants from Namibia, Tanzania, Australia, The Netherlands, South Africa, Ghana, Switzerland, and Botswana. The Founder of the ZERI concept, Mr. Pauli, the University of Namibia, UNDP Tanzania, and COSTECH, played a vital role towards the realization of the Workshop vision. During the Workshop (whose key theme was OPPORTUNITIES FROM AFRICA’S BIORESOURCES) a number of ZERI project activities for marketing to entrepreneurs were presented and discussed, as detailed in the published Proceedings of the Workshop. The UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, the University of Namibia, the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, and UNDP Tanzania, worked together as a team in the editing and the publication of the Proceedings.
The second half of 1998 witnessed the hosting of the 4th Annual World Congress on Zero Emissions, in Windhoek, Namibia, under the auspices of H.E. President Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia. This historic World Congress, the first to be held in Africa, also received messages of support from the Presidents of Malawi, Fiji, Colombia, from the UN Secretary General, from the Director General of UNESCO, from the Rector of the United Nations University, etc. The University of Namibia, the United Nations University, UNESCO (Nairobi), the Rockefeller Foundation, Namibia Breweries, UNDP Namibia, and the ZERI Foundation, were amongst the contributors to the funding of the World Congress, which was attended by participants from all continents, except the Antarctica.
During the year 1999, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, together with Mr. Pauli, and Dr. Stephen Adei, worked towards marketing the ZERI concept to UNDP Africa. Indeed, in February 1999 we were invited at a UNDP consultative meeting in Cotonou, Benin, where we jointly presented the ZERI vision to all the UNDP Resident Representatives based in Africa. The outcome of the Cotonou meeting was very encouraging. It was agreed that we develop a comprehensive ZERI project proposal for Africa, which should map out strategies for developing Africa differently. This was done. Towards the end of that year, the project proposal was approved by UNDP Africa.
Another important ZERI activity during the second half of 1999 was the hosting of the 5th Annual World Congress on Zero Emissions, in Colombia, Latin America, with the ZERI Foundation in Geneva, the ZERI-Office for Latin America, and the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, as co-organisers. My involvement was by virtue of the fact that I was then still serving as the Chairman of the International Scientific Advisory Council on ZERI. The Congress was attended by participants from around the world, also with a good representation from Africa (viz., Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, The Gambia, Mauritius, Sudan, and Tanzania). Amongst the participants from Africa were a Cabinet Minister from The Gambia, a Deputy Minister from Namibia, and the President of the African Academy of Sciences (who is also Executive Director of the Third World Academy of Sciences).
During the Congress, we held some of the functions inside the impressive bamboo infrastructure in Maninzales, Colombia. This was the prototype of the bamboo ZERI pavilion that was subsequently built for EXPO-2000 in Hannover, Germany. The impressive structure was built by a renowned architect, Simon Velez of Colombia, with funding support secured through the tireless efforts of the Founder and Director of ZERI, Mr. Pauli. Also during the Congress in Columbia, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair handed over his leadership as Chairman of the International Scientific Advisory Council on ZERI to Prof. Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, the former Rector of the United Nations University. This was after the UNESCO/UNU ZERI Africa Chair had successfully completed his three-year term as Chairman.
In November 1999, through financial support from UNDP Africa in New York, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair hosted the First International ZERI Training Workshop in West Africa, thanks to Dr. Thelma Awori, the then leader of UNDP Africa, for her interest in our work. The Workshop was co-organised by the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin, and the University of Ghana, Legon. It was attended by participants from both Anglophone and Francophone Africa. It had also benefited from inputs from Mr. Pauli, from Dr. Stephen Adei (then UNDP Resident Representative, Namibia), from Father Godfrey Nzamujo, Director of the Songhai Centre, Benin; and other contributors from Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Nigeria, etc.
During the year 2000, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair continued to direct its energies towards the implementation of the ZERI vision for Africa. This was facilitated through funding support received from UNDP Africa, as outlined in paragraph (21) above. This was following the appointment of the UNESCO/UNU ZERI Africa Chair as the Regional Co-ordinator of the UNDP-funded Regional Project for Africa, RAF/99/021, whose Project Management Unit (PMU) is based at the University of Namibia. During the year, the process of compiling and editing the Proceedings of the Fourth Annual World Congress on Zero Emissions for publication was begun. A narrative Report on the Congress was already submitted to the United Nations University in November 1998.
3. LIST OF PUBLICATIONS GENERATED BY THE UNU/UNESCO ZERI AFRICA CHAIR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NAMIBIA
In his capacity as Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Discovery and Innovation (Journal of African Academy of Sciences), the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair published several Editorials describing some of the breakthrough opportunities relating to the ZERI concept. These include:
A joint Editorial by K.E. Mshigeni and Grant Wardell-Johnson, published in Discovery and Innovation, Vol. 8(2), June 1996, pp. 101-104, titled: "WELWITSCHIA MIRABILIS: AN ENIGMA FROM THE NAMIB DESERT".
A joint Editorial by Alvaro Israel and K.E. Mshigeni, published in Discovery and Innovation, Vol. 9(1/2), June 1997, pp. 1-3, titled, "SEAWATER-BASED AGRICULTURE: POSSIBILITIES OF SALICORNIA CULTIVATION IN AFRICA’S COASTAL VILLAGE COMMUNITIES".
An Editorial by K.E. Mshigeni, published in Discovery and Innovation, Vol. 10 (1/2), June 1998, pp. 121-126, titled, "AN OVERVIEW OF AFRICA’S MARINE RESOURCES: THEIR UTILIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT".
An Editorial by Gunter Pauli and K.E. Mshigeni, published in Discovery and Innovation, Vol.11 (3/4), December 1999, pp. 115-117, titled, "GROW YOUR OWN HOUSE FROM GIANT GRASSES: OUTSTANDING CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL".
An Editorial by S.T. Chang and K.E. Mshigeni, published in Discovery and Innovation, Vol. 12 (3/4 ), December 2000, pp. 97-101, titled, "GANODERMA LUCIDUM: PARAMOUNT AMONG MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS".
The UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair also served as Editor-in-Chief or as a facilitator in the compilation and publication of the following ZERI Training Workshop/Congress Proceedings:
"A NEW HOPE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA: ZERO EMISSIONS AND TOTAL PRODUCTIVITY OF RAW MATERIALS" [Proceedings of the First International Workshop on the Zero Emissions Research Initiative (ZERI) in Africa, Windhoek, Namibia, January 28-30, 1997, funded by UNDP, edited by K.E. Mshigeni, et al. 1998, published by the University of Namibia, ISBN 094733899, 222 pp].
PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRD ANNUAL UNU WORLD CONGRESS ON ZERO EMISSIONS, JAKARTA, INDONESIA, July 31-August 2, 1997 [Edited by Gunter Pauli, Keto E. Mshigeni, and Michael O’Regan, published by the University of Namibia, Windhoek, 1998: ISBN 0-947433-97-X, 260 pp, plus 33 pages of Annexes].
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC: ZERI Integrated Biomass Systems and the Case of Montfort Boys’Town, Fiji, May 5-9, 1997 [Funded by UNDP and the ZERI Foundation, organized under the direction of George Chan, published by the University of Namibia under UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, Windhoek, 1998: ISBN 0-9474 33-98-8, 87 pp.].
"TOWARDS FIVE YEARS OF THE ZERO EMISSIONS RESEARCH INITIATIVE, 1994-1999" [Compiled and edited by Gunter Pauli and Keto E. Mshigeni, published by the University of Namibia and the ZERI Foundation, Windhoek, 28 pp.], ISBN: 999 16-53-00-7].
OPPORTUNITIES FROM AFRICA’S BIORESOURCES: Proceedings of the Second International Training Workshop on the Zero Emissions Research Initiative (ZERI) in Africa, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, April 21-24, 1998 [Funded by UNDP, compiled and edited by K.E. Mshigeni, Samuel Asman, and Elifas Bisanda, 2000, published by the University of Namibia: ISBN 99916-53-01-5, 250 pp].
"THE ZERI TUNWENI BREWERY VIDEO: TSUMEB, NAMIBIA" [Produced by the University of Namibia, the ZERI Foundation, and Namibia Breweries: a ZERI Brewery success story, October 1998]
4. CURRENT ACTIVITIES UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE UNU/UNESCO ZERI AFRICA CHAIR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NAMIBIA
The good progress attained towards the dissemination of the ZERI concept to various stakeholders in Africa, led to complementary funding support from UNDP Africa. Several ZERI Project activities for implementation in selected seven countries in Africa, were developed and prioritized. The seven selected countries are Namibia (which also hosts the Regional Project Management Office), Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Senegal, and The Gambia.
Amongst the key breakthrough achievements of the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, which enabled the University of Namibia to secure complementary funding support from UNDP Africa (to take us beyond the initial funding support provided by UNESCO and the United Nations University under the ZERI Africa Chair), the following are noteworthy:
Jointly with Namibia Breweries, with UNU, and with the ZERI Foundation, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair at the University of Namibia successfully demonstrated that from spent grain generated by a Sorghum-based brewery, and also from other organic wastes (including spent water) emanating from the Brewery, we can generate the following series of value-added products:
Biogas (mostly methane), which is renewable energy.
Oyster mushrooms, which are edible, popular, nutritious, high protein, and rich in vitamins.
Livestock feed supplements.
Mineralized effluents from the biogas digester, which support a luxuriant growth of algae downstream, which photosynthetically release oxygen that cleans up the system.
Jointly with the University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, with funding support from UNDP Namibia, undertook trials on oyster mushroom farming activities, using tough wild grass occurring in abundance, as a substrate. The oyster mushrooms that were produced proved to be very robust as illustrated in various advocacy materials which the ZERI Africa Chair subsequently published, to show what is possible with ZERI, even in dry countries such as Namibia.
Encouraged by these developments, UNDP Namibia, during the year 2000, provided funding support to the tune of US$ 150,000 to the University of Namibia, towards the implementation of a Public Private Partnership ZERI activity, involving the University of Namibia, Namibia Breweries, Meat Companies based in Windhoek (Meatco and Hartlief) and Windhoek City Council, whose primary objective is to clean up the various organic wastes generated by various industries in Windhoek, using appropriate ZERI-based scientific approaches. In the process, we envisage the production of new value-added products. The new products include biogas energy, purified and mineralized water that is safe for peri-urban agriculture downstream and nutrient-rich slurry, which is excellent for vermi-composting, for earthworm farming, and also for use as an agricultural fertilizer. When successfully implemented, this ZERI project, which is under the scientific leadership of the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, will serve as a model for Africa’s cities of the future.
Throughout the pilot phase of the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, the University of Namibia continued to receive excellent support and encouragement from His Excellency, President Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia, towards the implementation of the University’s ZERI project aimed at promoting Namibia’s and Africa’s seaweed and related marine and coastal resources, using ZERI-based technologies. Indeed, since the establishment of the ZERI Africa Chair, the support from His Excellency, President Nujoma towards the development of a Marine ZERI Centre of Excellence at Henties Bay along the Namibian coast, has already attained very promising results [e.g., see paragraph (30), publication (i)]. During 1999/2000, UNESCO, Paris, provided funding support to the University of Namibia, to complement the efforts of the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair and the Government of Namibia towards marketing the ZERI Henties Bay Project for additional funding support. As a result of these efforts, the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, during the year 2001, have kindly agreed to provide technical support to the project, in the form of an expert in the field of marine engineering, who will be seconded to the University of Namibia, for a period of two years, to give inputs towards the realization of the Henties Bay vision.
One of the selected highest priority ZERI activities for implementation during 2000/2001 within the framework of the UNDP funded ZERI Regional Project for Africa (RAF/99/021) is mushroom farming. As stated earlier, this Regional project saw the light of day as a result of the initial funding support from UNU and UNESCO, under the ZERI Africa Chair. Several advocacy materials have been produced by the ZERI Africa Chair and published by the University of Namibia, to inform the public about the vision and mission of these initiatives. The advocacy materials which were published during 2000 are listed below:
"REVITALISING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOCUS IN AFRICA: A NEW HOPE FOR LIBERATING THE CONTINENT FROM THE POVERTY TRAP": August 2000, 69 pp. [edited by K.E. Mshigeni, G.E. Kiangi, and E. Bisanda, University of Namibia, with a FOREWORD from the UNDP Resident Representative, Windhoek; with a Section on Henties Bay Marine Research Centre vision, e.g., see pp. 53-66 of the booklet: ISBN: 999 16 -53-45-0:. Published by the University of Namibia.
"PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA through optimal use of Africa’s biota, other natural resources, and waste: total productivity and zero emissions research initiative for Africa" [Highlights on selected high priority projects of regional interest for implementation in Africa], compiled and edited by K.E. Mshigeni; University of Namibia, October 2000, 27 pp. , ISBN: 999 16-53-44-2.
"A GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL MUSHROOM FARMING: an agenda for developing Africa differently", by K.E. Mshigeni and S.T. Chang, published by the University of Namibia, December 2000, 41 pp., ISBN: 999 16-53-49-3.
During the first half of 2001, the following ZERI-related activities were also undertaken by the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, within the framework of the UNDP/UNOPS-funded Regional Project for Africa, based at the University of Namibia:
Organising a UNDP-funded Regional Mushroom Farming Training Workshop, jointly with UNDP Lilongwe, Malawi, and Bunda College of Agriculture of the University of Malawi, Lilongwe, Malawi, Feb. 12-16, 2001:
This Workshop was attended by 28 participants from 10 African countries, viz.: Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, The Gambia, Zambia, Swaziland, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe. Prof. S.T. Chang, Professor Emeritus from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was the key resource person.
The Workshop was aimed at training trainers who will help to pioneer mushroom farming ventures in their respective countries. At least two participants were selected from each country.
The compilation, the editing, and the publication of the Workshop Proceedings were effected in April 2001. The information was disseminated in the form of a 150-page booklet. It will be distributed to relevant stakeholders who will be involved in the implementation of the mushroom farming vision.
During the first quarter of 2001, the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair, jointly with Prof. S.T. Chang, developed and edited a new booklet, as part of our advocacy materials, titled, "MUSHROOMS AND HUMAN HEALTH: their growing significance as potent dietary supplements". This has now been published by the University of Namibia (79 pp.), within the umbrella of the UNDP/UNOPS Regional Project RAF/99/021, as one of our advocacy materials for popularizing the cultivation and use of mushrooms: as vegetable relish, as dietary supplements, as tonic, as medicine, and as a good source of cash income.
On March 9, 2001 the ZERI Africa Chair was honoured and requested by the current Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), His Excellency, President Sam Nujoma, to deliver an address to SADC Presidents and Heads of State and Government, giving some key highlights on ZERI-related activities within the framework of the UNDP-funded Regional Project for Africa (whose genesis began with the establishment of the UNU/UNESCO-funded ZERI Africa Chair). The address was well received. It has since been published as a small, 31- page advocacy booklet.
Another recently published booklet, within the framework of UNESCO/UNU ZERI Africa Chair based at the University of Namibia, is a booklet titled, "AFRICA’S BAOBAB RESOURCES: unlocking their economic potential". This 27-page booklet abundantly demonstrates that Africa’s baobab biota have tremendous socio-economic benefits, which we often take for granted. Actually, baobab biota offer many pleasant surprises, as detailed in the boolet.
5. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In my personal assessment, the funding support which the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo and UNESCO Paris provided towards the establishment of a joint ZERI Chair for Africa, has successfully generated a broad awakening on the Zero Emissions concept. But the work is far from complete. The encouragement and the inspiration recently received from Presidents and Heads of State of the 14 SADC member states (as stated above), have served as a source of renewed inspiration and energy towards carrying on the work that I have begun. I have been invited to prepare another presentation (which will involve selected leading scientists and technologists based in Africa and elsewhere) at the next SADC Summit, scheduled to take place in Malawi, in August 2001. This would not have happened if UNU Tokyo, jointly with UNESCO Paris, had not provided the initial funding support. I therefore take this opportunity to both thank and commend UNU, and UNESCO, and the University of Namibia, for the confidence, encouragement, inspiration, and support.
Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to state that with effect from the second half of the year 2000, I stepped aside as Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs and Research) at the University of Namibia, and since then I have been working on the promotion of the ZERI vision on full-time basis, within the framework of the new UNDP-funded project, based at the University of Namibia. This has enabled the UNU/UNESCO ZERI Africa Chair to generate the advocacy publications relating to ZERI.