Constructing Africa’s narrative on agriculture and gender in global climate change discussions

A farmer in Nyando. For robust agricultural systems across the African continent there is need for strong gender inclusive strategies that enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation while improving regional productivity. Photo: K. Trautmann (CCAFS)
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Apr 7, 2016

by

Catherine Mungai, Solomon Kilungu and Mary Nyasimi (CCAFS East Africa)

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A working session held in Nairobi brought together researchers, policy makers, and gender experts to deliberate on agriculture and gender submissions for the upcoming Bonn climate change conference.

During the upcoming Bonn climate change conference (SBSTA 44) scheduled to take place from 16 to 26 May 2016 in Germany, two in-session workshops dealing with adaptation measures in agricultural systems and agricultural practices and technologies to enhance resilience, food security and productivity will be held. In preparation for these workshops, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been invited to submit their views on these issues.

On 21 and 22 March, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) convened a working session for agriculture and gender negotiators and experts to prepare submissions on the issues related to agriculture. The two-day meeting was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), United National Economic Commission for Africa/African Climate Policy Centre (UNECA/ACPC), Africa Development Bank (AfDB), and AfricaInteract through the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The working session was informed by technical material developed by CCAFS and the African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES).

See the photos from the African Group of Negotiators meeting in Nairobi:

The working session comes at a time when Africa is grappling with its increasing population that is expected to double by 2050. Agriculture is important for Africa, as the sector is crucial for food security, livelihoods, jobs and sustainable development. It is therefore imperative that Africa deepens its understanding of the impacts of climate variability and change on agriculture and farming systems and ensures this knowledge is integrated into effective policy and decision-making processes. This is especially critical to inform ongoing global discussions on climate change, as this will influence the flow of financial and technical resources to address climate change at regional and national scales.

“Research suggests that Africa will be the world’s next bread basket. We should be able to determine how we do this as a continent,” said Dr. George Wamukoya, Policy and Institutional Adviser, DFID supported Regional Climate Smart Agriculture Programme (CSAP), Pretoria, South Africa.

Adaptation measures in agricultural systems

In their submission, the AGN is urging for adaptation measures that could open up opportunities for total agricultural transformation, with critical implications on local and national planning, financing, governance, policy frameworks, value chain development, economic incentives, research and database development, and knowledge processes which could bring incremental gains and changes, including technical interventions and technological changes. These adaptation measures can be supported by resilient agricultural technologies and practices such as crop breeding focusing on varieties which are drought-tolerant, can withstand flood and water logging problems, heat tolerance and improved pest and disease resistance, improved seed supply systems, livestock breeding technologies to support identification and breeding for traits resilient to climate hazards (drought and heat stress), water and land management plus supportive infrastructure, agro-processing technology to reduce post-harvest waste, integrated pest and disease management for agriculture, enhanced insurance packages and financing for reducing risks to farmers, and climate information services and application for agriculture.

Gender responsiveness

In order to prepare for the workshop on gender and climate change, the team also prepared a submission on 'Gender responsive climate policy with a focus on adaptation and capacity building and training for delegates on gender issues.' On the issues of adaptation, the submission stressed the provision of guidance for mainstreaming and integrating gender into policy making and on how to integrate gender into National Action Plans (NAPs), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Technology Needs Assessments (TNAs), National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and how to enhance monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks for measuring gender indicators, developing and transferring efficient, appropriate and environmentally sound gender responsive technologies with a special focus on women’s triple roles and development and provision of gender responsive climate services (including early warning systems to manage multi-hazard disasters and risks), whilst recognising the critical contribution of indigenous knowledge for adaptation.

“Adaptation actions should be country driven and gender responsive, this should also include socially and environmentally sound technologies. Furthermore, there should be gender balance in delegations attending UNFCCC negotiations and training on gender issues should be for both female and male negotiators,” said Stella Gama from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in Malawi.

Capacity building and training of more women as party negotiators is gaining momentum and the AGN is looking forward to the workshops urging for training of women in negotiations, leadership skills, and technical expertise, training for community groups to understand fiduciary processes and standards for climate financing and how to develop gender-responsive bankable projects and gender awareness training for all negotiators and civil society organisations.

The gender group gave two recommendations after recognizing that climate actions need gender conscious responses informed by differences in needs, capacities, responsibilities and unique contributions of both men and women:

  • The workshop should draw action points to advance the Lima work program on gender.
  • The workshop report accompanied by draft contributions should be compiled by the secretariat and discussed by parties at SBI 44 to support drawing of action oriented proposals towards furthering work on gender responsive climate policy for capacity building, adaptation and training.

Watch Prof. Hamilton Simelane, chairman of the African Working group on Gender and climate change talk about the importance of gender inclusion in global negotiations:


What next after SBSTA?

The stakeholders agreed that it was critical to develop a road map beyond SBSTA especially given that most African countries are now in the process of redrafting their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as informed by the 2015 Paris Agreement. Additionally, countries are developing National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) which are critical entry points where science can be used to inform policy development and implementation.

Read more:

Access the presentations shared during the meeting below:

CCAFS info notes:

Research highlight: