Africa asked to prioritise agriculture at COP27
Participants at the Science and Partnerships for Agriculture Conference (SPAC) have asked the African Group of Negotiators to push for structural support for the sector at COP27 to be hosted in Egypt.
They said the impacts of climate crisis on the continent’s food systems were enormous and contributing to hunger and poverty and must be addressed.
The value chain actors have also called for the creation of a dedicated subsidiary body on developing countries and on agriculture and food security to ensure that agriculture and food security would lead the forefront even beyond COP 27.
Dr Portia Williams Adade, a Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (STEPRI-CSIR), who made the call on behalf of the participants, said they had proposed “key messages” for Africa ahead of the event.
The three-day conference, which was organised by the Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), sought to strengthen research and develop action on topical issues in African agriculture to ensure productivity and competitiveness in the sector.
It served as the platform for key actors to update the continent’s preparedness to cope with and mitigate the impacts of climate change in African agriculture as well as contribute to the delivery of continental instruments like Agenda 2063.
The conference, attended by more than 350 delegates (comprising researchers, experts, and policymakers) from across more than 40 countries, was on the theme: “Introspection on climate smart agriculture actions to strengthen accountability, resource use, and impact in Africa.”
Dr Adade said Africa must go to COP 27 very much prepared with crucial findings, the right voices, and be more astute and resolute on its position.
She proposed the establishment of a local taskforce that would make sure that developed countries honoured their financial commitments towards adaptation and mitigation strategies in developing countries.
The scientist said the actors in unionism urged African governments to ensure that the continent promoted “meaningful representation” of specific transition needs that it wanted.
The participants emphasised the need for the mainstreaming of youth and gender in climate smart agriculture adaptation actions in Africa, and the provision of incentive participatory education and training, specifically for women.
In an interview, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA, said Africa must move beyond the talk, and urged the leadership of the continent to prioritise agriculture to achieve the agricultural transformation agenda.
He said FARA, as part of its efforts to push for action, had put together the Africa and Climate Smart Agriculture Framework, pursuing an unorthodox method to help transform agriculture on the continent.
“We look back at 10 years ago when COP was held in Africa; what have we gained since then and what lessons have, we learnt? So, we are now saying that from 2022 to 2032, we must avoid the errors of omission and commission in the last ten years and put together the framework that will help us,” Dr Akinbamijo said.
A closing report titled: “Good practices to facilitate lessons learning and advocacy,” was outdoored.
It seeks to facilitate the development of a continental “Good-Practice Guidance Notes” based on Agricultural research for development (AR4D) Institutional Partnerships and Collaborative experiences among the core organisations in the last two decades.
Although African countries have contributed to less than four per cent of global emissions, its citizens are the most affected by climate change.
Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy and accounts for the majority of livelihoods across the continent.
According to The State of the Climate in Africa 2019 report, major cereal crops grown across Africa will be adversely impacted by climate change by 2050; projecting a reduction in mean yield of 13 per cent in West and Central Africa, 11 per cent in North Africa, and 8 per cent in East and Southern Africa.
Africa will host the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 27), which would be the second time the continent is hosting the global climate talks after hosting COP 17 in South Africa in 2011.