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Fired Clay Bricks are one of the main construction materials in Africa. These are usually artisanlly produced. Rapid urbanisation in the region has created a high demand for construction materials and has to to the rise of an informal brick making sector, which is having a serious impact on the environment. Brick making is an important factor in deforestation and an important source of anthropogenic emissions from the region. Brick kilns are estimated to be one of the largest stationary sources of black carbon, (or soot) a powerful short-lived climate pollutant, which is a component of dangerous fine particulate (PM2.5) air pollution, cardio-respiratory diseases, land degradation and deforestation, and climate change. However, little national or regional data exists in Africa and the sector is largely invisible.
The first meeting to find regional solutions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants from the brick sector was held in Rabbat, Morocco from September 1 -2. Approximately 50 representatives from nine African countries discussed policy and technical actions that can be taken to reduce SLCPs, in particular black carbon, from the brick sector. Hosted by Morocco's Ministry of Environment as part of the lead up to COP-22, the workshop's objective is to support the Paris Agreement goal to keep global warming well under 2°C through regional cooperation to improve the efficiency and reduce emissions from Africa's brick sector.
The Bricks initiative is an important CCAC effort and aims to make the traditional brick kiln sector cleaner and more sustainable in Asia, Latin America and Africa while providing local economic development, improved health, and better working conditions. During the first two years of the Bricks Initiative, the Coalition made great progress in each of its original objectives to: 1) support development and implementation of policies, and 2) build capacity to convert or replace brick kilns with lower-emitting technologies and practices in a way that improves climate, air quality, working conditions and health, while producing higher quality bricks.
Participants exchanged information about their national brick sectors, providing an overview of needs and challenges in the areas of training, technology improvements, and private sector and public policy level engagement. Countries also had the opportunity to communicate their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) related to improved efficiency in the brick making sector.
Rajae Chafil, Director of Observations, Education and Planning at the Moroccan Ministry of Environment said the event is hosted within the context of COP-22 in Marrakech and ensured that Morocco’s presidency will seek to create linkages with the ambitious strategy to reduce GHG emissions by 2020. The meeting is an opportunity to reinforce the contribution of the brick sector to the Paris Agreement.
Morocco produces around 5 million tonnes of clay brick per year. Emissions are primarily generated during the drying, burning, heating and combustion phases of the manufacturing process and directly liked to the quality of fuels used. Morocco is preparing a National Strategy to improve the energy efficiency of its brick sector, preserve natural resources, protect the environment, improve brick quality, and reduce health impacts from air pollution.
Representatives from Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, India, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Rwanda, and South Africa attended the conference. Ministries, state institutions, academia and research intitutions, international development community, and the press were represented. Lead Partners of the CCAC Bricks Initiative include the Center for Human Rights and Environment (CHRE), Colombia, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD), Mexico, Switzerland, World Bank.
The two- day regional meeting was co-organized by the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment of Morocco, and Bricks Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). It was held 1st -2nd September, 2016 in Rabat, Morocco.
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