Date: Thursday April 6 2017
Africa’s agriculture sector is at cross-roads. The climate is changing. But this is not happening in isolation from other significant pressures such as the burgeoning world and Africa populations that are expected to reach 9 billion and 2 billion people, respectively, by 2050. These are the challenges that must be overcome if Africa’s quest to achieve the long-term goal of a food secure continent. To achieve this goal it is imperative that Africa deepens her 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 will be crucial in shaping the future continental, sub-regional and national agricultural policies and interventions. Ensuring food security under a changing climate is therefore one of the major challenges that face Africa as her population of Africa is projected to reach 1.5 billion by 2030 and 2 billion by 2050.
Agriculture has been in the UNFCCC negotiations since 2009. Some progress has been since 2011 when at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP17) held in Durban, SouthAfrica, when the COP requested the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to consider issues related to agriculture. At SBSTA 40, Parties identified four critical areas and agreed to invite for submissions from Parties with four in-session workshops.
The four topics the subject of submissions and in-sessions workshops were:
- Development of early warning systems and contingency plans in relation to extreme weather events and its effects such as desertification, drought, floods, landslides, storm surge, soil erosion, and saline water intrusion;
- Assessment of risk and vulnerability of agricultural systems to different climate change scenarios at regional, national and local levels, including but not limited to pests and diseases;
- Identification of adaptation measures, taking into account the diversity of the agricultural systems, indigenous knowledge systems and the differences in scale as well as possible co-benefits and sharing experiences in research and development and on the ground activities, including socioeconomic, environmental and gender aspects; and
- Identification and assessment of agricultural practices and technologies to enhance productivity in a sustainable manner, food security and resilience, considering the differences in agro-ecological zones and farming systems, such as different grassland and cropland practices and systems.
At its forty-fifth session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 45), Parties discussed a combined draft COP decision on issues related to agriculture but could not agree. As a result, the issue was referred for consideration at SBSTA 46 to be held on 8-19 May 2017 in Bonn, Germany.
It is against the foregoing that the AGN in collaboration with AGNES is convening a strategy meeting that brings together agriculture negotiators and experts to reflect on the outcomes of SBSTA 45 with a view of adopting a common AGN position to guide the negotiations at SBSTA 46.
The objectives of the workshop are threefold:
- Reflect on the outcome of SBSTA 45 – Marrakech
- Consider the combined draft COP decision on issues related to agriculture and identify areas of convergence and disagreements.
- Agree on a common AGN strategy on issues related to agriculture at the upcoming SBSTA 46 to be held on 8-19 May 2017 in Bonn, Germany.