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African Ministerial Conference Releases Johannesburg Communiqué on Climate-Smart Agriculture

A call to action14 September 2011: The African Ministerial Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture concluded with the adoption of the Johannesburg Communiqué, which underscores the need to put climate-smart agriculture high on the political agenda.

The conference convened under the theme "Climate Smart Agriculture: Africa - A Call to Action," and took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 13-14 September 2011. It was organized by the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, with the support of the African Union (AU), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank. At the meeting, African ministers and the FAO called for using climate-smart agriculture to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and build resilience to environmental pressures by helping farmers adapt to climate change while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Communiqué recognizes the need to integrate solutions to climate change, food security and poverty challenges and that climate-smart agriculture is important in building resilient landscapes and increasing adaptation. It recalls the series of committees, commissions and conferences that have made commitments to fund agriculture, adaptation, food security and climate mitigation objectives in Africa. The Communiqué further calls on African Countries to implement and mainstream climate change into the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). It urges African countries to invest in facilitating adaptation and climate-smart agriculture.

On the international level, the Communiqué: calls on the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 17) to establish an agriculture Programme of Work that covers adaptation and mitigation; describes the aim to launch an Investment Platform for African Climate-Smart Agriculture at COP 17; calls for scaled-up, new and additional, predictable and adequate financial support to developing countries; emphasizes government-led partnerships with non-State agencies; and encourages countries to leverage public-private partnerships.

Ministers also agreed to: call on COP 17 to design the Green Climate Fund in a way that recognizes adequate financing for agricultural adaptation and mitigation; urge synergies among national and regional organizations with Ministries of Environment; and request the African Union (AU) Commission to consider establishing a technical working group to give direction and content to a programme of work.

The objectives of the conference were to share leadership perspectives, explore challenges, and grasp new opportunities for climate‐smart agriculture in Africa. Discussions focused on learning from country strategies, financing climate-smart agriculture, and agriculture within the UN climate negotiations. The conference background paper, prepared by the South African Agriculture Ministry in collaboration with FAO and the World Bank, argues that Africa's poverty alleviation and food security goals will not be reached without measures to adapt food production to climate change challenges. [FAO Press Release] [African Ministerial Conference Website] [Publication: Policy Brief: Opportunities and Challenges for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africa]