AVN's Rinaudo receives WHA, Nairobi
As illustrated in the following recent news items, AVN is now formally recognised, nationally and internationally, as a major player in sustainable development, eco-housing, and the fight to combat the effects of climate change on the most fragile populations of Africa. This recognition comes after 16 years of steady growth in the AVN programme in the Sahel, a growth enabled by your help. Please keep up your support for our work!
AVN receives the World Habitat Award (WHA) in Nairobi
AVN received the World Habitat Award on Monday May 8th in Nairobi, at the 26th plenary opening session of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat. During the entire week, this bi-annual meeting brings together representatives of member states for the implementation of the new Urban Agenda, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Objectives and the Paris Climate Agreement.
After the presentation of the laureates by David Ireland, Director of the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF), Joan Clos, UN Deputy Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat presented the trophy to Cécilia Rinaudo, AVN Deputy Director, for the programme « A Roof, A Skill, A Market» carried out by the Association in Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin, and Ghana over the last 17 years.
In his speech, Joan Clos emphasised that «affordable housing presents a tremendous challenge worldwide: in both developing and developed world, housing is unaffordable». The other Award winner, the programme of European cooperatives for eco-housing « More than housing » was also recognised and praised during the ceremony.
In the afternoon, during an event organised by BSHF, Cécilia Rinaudo presented the AVN programme, stressing that the long-term evolution of appropriate construction practices in Africa is only achievable if it takes on board the challenges faced by the populations concerned: decent housing, 'green' employment, adaptation to and attenuation of climate change, economic independence etc. Christophe Lalande, Head of the Housing Department, emphasised the support of UN-Habitat for AVN's programme as a major solution for access to affordable and sustainable housing for the many.
AVN at the World Economic Forum
At the beginning of May,Thomas Granier, Director General and co-founder of AVN, was invited by the Schwab Foundation to take part in the World Economic Forum on Africa, in Durban, South Africa. The meeting convened regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to agree priorities that will help Africa achieve inclusive growth through responsive and responsible leadership.
A four-day 'Solutions Summit' was organised alongside the Forum, uniting three networks brought together by the Schwab Foundation: the Young Global Leaders, the Global Shapers and theSchwab Social Entrepreneurs. Thomas Granier and Séri Youlou, as co-founders of AVN, were recognised in this last category in 2012, when AVN won the African Social Entrepreneur of the Year award.
AVN at UN Climate Change Conference, Bonn
Eighteen months after COP21 and the commitment of member states to combat the effects of climate change, delegations from the 196 member countries of the UN Climate Change Convention held discussions in Bonn this monthconcerning implementation of the Paris Agreement. This Agreement aims to commit the international community to act to limit global warming, in particular by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
AVN, present at the Bonn Conference as a major player in the adapted housing sector in Africa, ran a stand from May 15th -18th to raise awareness of the impact of the construction sector on greenhouse gas emissions, and to present the example of the Nubian Vault concept as a potential mitigation. The AVN Programme well illustrates the fact that simple and affordable solutions can contribute significantly to limit the effects of climate change, and at the same time improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable populations.
Cecilia Rinaudo, AVN's Deputy Director was also invited by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to contribute to a conference on May 12th on the themes of energy efficiency, green jobs, and low-carbon initiatives, along with three other laureates of the Momentum for ChangeAward.
AVN strengthens links with Burkina Faso Government and civil society
AVN took part in May in the Salon International des Énergies Renouvelables (SIERO) of Ouagadougou, along with some 30 NGO's who came to present their initiatives in promoting renewable energies and awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues. It was a golden opportunity for AVN to make participants aware of the NV concept as a contribution to attenuation of and adaptation to climate change, and the importance of integrating the adapted housing issue into Burkina Faso's public policies on sustainable development.
Marjolaine Bert, AVN's Operations Director in Burkina Faso and Boubacar Ouily, National Coordinator, presented the AVN programme during a conference in the presence of many ministerial, regional, and municipal representatives. Afterwards, the AVN stand was visited by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, and by a delegation of the mayors of Burkina Faso, a clear indication of their interest in the NV concept and its promotion by AVN. Many other visitors – including representatives of NGO's and other agencies and institutions, as well as potential clients and builders - crowded the AVN stand, showing their interest in the NV concept as a low-carbon sustainable option.
AVN has just been admitted as the latest member of Burkina Faso's Secrétariat Permanent des Organisations Non Gouvernementales (SPONG). This organisation brings together most of the NGO's, national and international development agencies, foundations, and R&D centres working in the country. It is also the focal point for the Réseau Sahel Désertification (ReSaD) in Burkina Faso, an initiative of the Centre d’Actions et de Réalisations Internationales (CARI), in which AVN is already involved in France, in the Desertification Working Group.
Membership of SPONG will strengthen AVN's role in promoting the sustainable housing and construction sector in Burkina Faso, in accordance with the objectives of the President's National Social and Economic Development Plan 2016-2020, and the Nationally Determined Contributions defined at COP21 in Paris.
Every little helps
A reminder about why the NV concept helps, in its small way, to attenuate and adapt to the effects of climate change and global warming:
- no trees are cut down for construction timber, so helping to check the increase in desertification in the Sahel,
- no tin roofing sheets or cement are used, so avoiding the high energy costs and impacts of their manufacture and transport, thus considerably reducing CO2 emissions,
- the basic construction materials (rocks, earth, water) are generally sourced locally, avoiding transport costs and pollution,
- the money saved through use of local materials and labour, and the creation of local markets in NV construction, means that more cash is available to help support the local economy in a sustainable fashion.
The fact that AVN's contribution to overcoming the challenge of global warming has been recognised at both international and national levels is a tribute to the conviction and hard work of all involved, especially AVN's teams in the Sahel and the hundreds of masons trained through the programme.
With your continuing support and help, we can scale up our work even further, and strengthen our commitment to the (almost!) universally recognised goals of the UN Climate Change Convention, and to the betterment of the living conditions of the poorest populations of the Sahel.
AVN workshop at UN-Habitat, Nairobi
Granier and participants at WEF, Durban
UN Climate Change meeting, Bonn, Germany
AVN stand at SIERO, Ouagadougou
SPONG participants, Ouagadougou