The world will suffer dire consequences if food security was not placed on the agenda at November's COP17 climate-change meeting in Durban according to South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson, a strong advocate for confronting the climate change threats to agricultural development. With a backdrop of continued famine in the Horn of Africa and impending climate change challenges to agricultural productivity in Africa, Ms. Joemat-Pettersson invited Africa’s agricultural ministers to the "African Ministerial Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture” held in mid-September, on the theme “Climate-Smart Agriculture: Africa - A Call to Action”.
The purpose of the meeting was to share experiences and to develop a common understanding on how to advance climate-smart agriculture, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of including agricultural adaptation and mitigation in any outcomes of the upcoming COP 17, hosted by South Africa in Durban later this year. The meeting was hosted by the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, with the support of the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
CCAFS co-authored the background paper (PDF) for the conference, which argued that Africa's poverty alleviation and food security goals will not be reached without measures to adapt food production to climate change challenges.
Gerald Nelson, who leads the CCAFS research on policy analysis for decision making attended the event and held informal discussions with participants on hotspots of climate induced food insecurity in the tropics and concrete actions needed to halt deforestation and promote climate-smart agriculture (PDF).
The Outcome of the Minister Conference
The agricultural ministers concluded the conference by releasing the Johannesburg communiqué (PDF), which underscores the need to put climate-smart agriculture high on the political agenda. The communiqué recognizes that food security, poverty and climate change are closely linked and should not be considered separately, and urges African countries to invest in facilitating adaptation and climate-smart agriculture. It also recognizes that climate-smart agriculture offers integrated approaches to green growth, food security, adaptation and mitigation, and is important in building resilient landscapes and communities’ adaptive capacity.
For COP17, the ministers urged for an establishment of agriculture Programme of Work that covers adaptation and mitigation and for the Green Climate Fund to be designed in a way that recognizes adequate financing for agricultural adaptation and mitigation. The communiqué also stresses the importance of approaching and conducting the negotiations at COP17 in the context of sustainable development.
Said Nelson: “This meeting is very timely. By coming together with one voice, the agricultural ministers and their delegates are signalling a strong position in Durban, one that will not let agriculture be the missing word in any COP17 outcomes.”
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)