Africa Day Focuses on Agriculture and Climate Change

africa-days-event19 November 2013: Africa Day, a full-day event held on the margins of the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, brought together African leaders, scientists and other stakeholders to discuss climate change and agricultural development on the continent. Presented by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the event aimed to reach African development partners as well as negotiators from other regions.

Emmanuel Dlamini, President, African Group of Negotiators, noted the significance of the theme given that African agriculture is rain-fed, with droughts and floods becoming more intense and unpredictable as a result of climate change.

This session, moderated by Adebe Haile-Gabriel, AUC, explored how the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) could support climate change adaptation, and provide a platform for sharing information and knowledge about initiatives on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

A panel discussion, moderated by Fatima Denton, UNECA, discussed emerging issues concerning climate change and agriculture. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture (REA), AUC, addressed the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that notes the adverse effects of climate change on African agriculture. Recalling that Africa is not the main polluter, she called for polluting countries to continue committing to their pledges. Fred Kossan, AGN, stressed that agriculture lies at the core of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), noting that adaptation, which includes agriculture, is very important for Africa. Anthony Nyong, AfDB, said that agriculture should not be seen as a social service, but addressed in its business dimension. Ayalneh Bogale, AUC, addressed the links between agriculture and the environment, calling for an integrated approach. Tom Owiyo, UNECA, African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), said that considering future productivity challenges, agriculture needs to be seen as something different than a social engagement for the poor and the sum of ecosystem services should be considered.

In the ensuing discussion, participants focused on, inter alia: livestock farming; water management to address food security; and women subsistence farmers. [IISD RS ENBOTS coverage of Africa Day] [UNECA Press release]