Co-written by: James Kinyangi and Maren Radeny
Following the conclusion of the COP17 Durban talks on Climate Change in December 2011, Parties agreed to mandate the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) to consider issues related to agriculture and to prepare a decision to be adopted at COP18 later this year in Qatar. Consequently, Parties and Observer Organizations are expected to make submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat on issues relating to agriculture as well as on agricultural elements of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) by 5 March 2012. Read more »
Story by Christine Negra.
Following the release of The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change report “Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change: Summary for Policy Makers”, the Commissioners brought their recommendations to the climate change meetings in Durban.
On December 2, at a side event hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on “Climate-Smart Agriculture – a transformative approach to food security, adaptation and mitigation,” Ethiopian Commissioner Prof Tekalign Mamo, talked about the challenges farmers encounter in taking up agro-ecological approaches. Despite widespread recognition that these approaches are key to building climate resilience, practices such as soil-building through organic material residues can be hard to implement when these materials are needed also for fuel and fodder. As pointed out by the Commission, Prof Mamo emphasized that one-size-fits-all solutions are not the answer given the specific needs and lifestyles of farmers, households and communities. To achieve feasible, integrated solutions, the critical elements are knowledge sharing, institutional support, and gender-focused extension services that interact with empowered farmers organizations. On December 5, Prof Mamo again shared his experiences and the Commission’s findings as a panelist at a climate-smart agriculture side event at the Africa Pavilion, where African farmers, researchers and high-level politicians joined to share opportunities and challenges for Africa.
At Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) at COP 17 in Durban, IFAD teamed up with Cafédirect and Fairtrade Africa to offer a learning event on “Getting Climate-Smart Smallholder Products to Market.” The case study was based on an IFAD public private partnership in São Tomé and Principe with the Government, communities, Cafédirect and other private sector companies. Read more about the project, the objectives of the event, the moderator and speakers. The two main questions posed by moderator extraordinaire Matthew Wyatt of DFID, were simple. Can smallholders offer climate-smart products? Will consumers pay for them? He led a lively and focused discussion – thanks Matthew! Read more »
Speech by Dr. Mary Robinson, President, The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
Thank you for inviting me to speak here today – over lunch I had the opportunity to hear about the discussions you had in the working sessions this morning and I look forward to learning more from you all this afternoon.
COP17 is a vital test of the international community’s willingness to tackle the issues that result from the impact of climate change, including the most fundamental issue of food security. We are having these discussions on the continent of Africa – where hunger and under nutrition are ever present threats. The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that 925 million people in the world go hungry every day. And every year 3.5 million children die from under nutrition, while 11% of the total disease burden is attributable to maternal and child under nutrition.As we meet today, over 13 million people in the Horn of Africa continue to be in desperate need of assistance. The region has had eight of the hottest years ever in succession, resulting in devastating drought. Since the food price crisis of 2008, food security has again been high on the agenda of donors, NGOs and multilateral aid agencies as they recognised the central role that agriculture plays in helping people to escape from dire poverty and famine. The more recent scenes from the Horn of Africa brought home the terrible vulnerability of the people living there to weather and climate shocks. It reinforced the imperative of sustaining efforts and attention on food and nutrition security, and the urgency of tackling the problem. Read more »
African farmers, researchers and high-level politicians join to push climate-smart agriculture to the forefront at COP17 in Durban
“We must deliver the resources poor farmers need to sustain their lives,” said Honourable Professor Jumanne A. Maghembe, Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture to a crowded room at the Africa Pavilion. He spoke to the opportunities and challenges of climate-smart agriculture for African farmers, one of the hottest, and sometimes contentious, issues at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Durban.
Prof. Maghembe was joined by Professor Tekalign Mamo, a State Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia, as well as the leaders of African farmers unions’ from Southern, Eastern and Western Africa; the common message was clear – negotiators at COP17 must put agriculture up front and centre. The UNFCCC has largely ignored agriculture, especially the adaptation benefits. Climate smart agriculture can help African farmers adapt to climate change and safeguard their food security and livelihoods, while enhancing their ecosystems and supporting mitigation.
In Africa, the biggest threat to poor farmers is the increase in unexpected extreme events that come with climate change. Prof. Maghembe described the vicious cycle of droughts and floods that are currently affecting areas of East Africa, killing livestock and destroying farms. “Where are the priorities for agriculture faced with these conditions?” he asked.
There are solutions Read more »
Before the closing session of Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Durban, South Africa, a high-Level Panel of experts charted the way forward with climate-smart agriculture. Summarized below are their main conclusions from a discussion facilitated by Laurie Goering, editor of the Thomas Reuters Foundation’s AlertNet Climate, which acted as media sponsor for the day. Read more »
Adapt or die is a resonating reality that is coming out of Agriculture and Rural Development Day and many of the COP17 side events. Farmers, especially subsistence farmers in Africa, have already started adapting. A coordinated effort on adaptation initiatives is needed. The challenge then is figuring out what information is needed to make adaptation decisions. This inevitably provokes the questions of whose knowledge in included and whose perspectives are predominant. Read more »
Over 500 farmers representatives, scientists and development practitioners were out in force today at the third Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) in Durban. They are determined to put agriculture on the COP 17 agenda.
Their arguments are clear:
Any serious effort to reduce green house gasses must include agriculture. And COP 17 is the chance for Africa to shape the agenda and establish an agriculture work program that is informed by science and covers adaptation and mitigation. And even for some `No agriculture, No deal’.
And today these voices are being heard. Read more »
FAO led a learning event looking at what tools and policies are required to bring food security, adaptation and mitigation together at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day taking place in Durban, South Africa on the sidelines of UN climate change talks COP17. Read more »
African smallholder farmers are in the eye of the climate change storm. Increased flooding and droughts have seen crop yields diminish as many farmers struggle to support their own livelihoods. With over 70 percent of the continent’s populations dependent on agriculture, this is a problem which cannot be ignored. While Africa contributes less than 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it stands on the frontline of the economic and social consequences of climate change.At his keynote presentation on Saturday 3rd December at the third Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD), President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze urged that “negotiators must recognize the critical importance of enabling smallholder farmers to become more resilient to climate change and to grow more food in environmentally sustainable, climate-smart ways.” Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)