Push to have agriculture at heart of COP22 climate change negotiations
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21 September 2016
Author :   Wamaitha Ngotho
Aziz Akhannorch, minister for agriculture and marine fisheries in Morocco : >> Image Credits by:Agatha

MARRAKECH, Morocco (PAMACC New) – African agriculture ministers will be meeting on 29-30 September in Morocco to lobby for agriculture issues to be at the heart of the upcoming climate change meeting.  

If it comes to pass, COP22 will become the first meeting of its kind where agriculture is proactively involved in climate negotiations. Previously, environmentalists have always agreed that agriculture is important both in emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, despite of it being the ain area for adaptation especially in the developing world.

Recommendations made following such discussions have always been imposed on the agricultural sector to implement, without actively involving the stakeholders in the negotiation process.

Led by the minister for agriculture and marine fisheries in Morocco, the more than 27 agriculture ministers from Africa will be pushing to have a share of the proposed $100 billion climate fund to go towards agriculture adaptation by 2020.

“The initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) to climate change aims to award a substantial share of the climate funds, which developed countries committed to provide to developing countries within the framework of the COP21 negotiations in Paris last year,” said Aziz Akhannorch, the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries.

According to the minister, the initiative also aims to promote and foster the implementation of specific projects to improve soil management, agricultural water control, and climate risk management.

The AAA  initiative was launched in April 2016 with an aim of reducing African agriculture vulnerability to climate change.

Currently, there is a delegation visiting different African countries to popularise and make the initiative a solution from Africa, and for Africa.

Road map to COP22 and beyond

The AAA initiative has four targets namely, soil management, farming water management, climate risks management and agriculture financing.

“A continent long neglected, Africa can no longer be ignored. The era during which our Continent was treated as a mere object in international relations is over. Africa is progressing and is asserting itself in the international arena,” said Akhannorch.

The legislator said that time has come to place the adaptation of African agriculture at the heart of COP's challenges, and obtain an equitable distribution of climate funds between adaptation and mitigation.

“We will defend the position of our Continent, which is greatly affected by climate change and sustainable development issues in the Conference of Parties 22 climate change negotiations,” said Akhannorch.

Response to climate change and food security

Africa is only responsible for 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions yet 65 percent of its population is greatly affected.

According to the 2014 Climate Change Vulnerability Index,  the most at risk countries are in Africa and Asia, with six of the ten most affected countries being from Africa.

Some of the countries include Bangladesh, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Haiti, South Sudan, Nigeria, DR Congo, Cambodia, Philippines and Ethiopia which was added in the list last year due to its vulnerability to drought, crop failure and famine.  

The indicator further states that the greatest increase in risk levels are felt in West Africa and the Sahel, whose political terrain is already dominated by food insecurity issues.

Projections up to 2040 indicate a 2 degree rise in average temperatures combined with substantial changes in rainfall and humidity.

Africa already has over 10 million climate refugees  due to a decrease in agriculture  yields which could reach 20 percent by 2050 even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees celsius. This is despite the fact that 65 percent of the world's unused arable land is in Africa.

Climate change experts say that with a population that could double by 2050 and two thirds of the world arable lands, Africa should get committed to tackling food security challenge combining sustainability and efficiency.   


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