Senior Technical Cluster Leader/Innovation Systems Specialist
The process for the elaboration of the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Framework (ACSAF) was launched in a high-level event held at the Africa Food Pavilion at the CoP27, Sharm El Sheik, Egypt. The hybrid event was jointly organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, The Government of Liberia, the government of Egypt, the Africa Union Commission, One-CGIAR, AMCOW, AfDB, SROs etc.
The event featured high-level opening remarks by the Chair of FARA, Dr. Alioune Fall, and Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh, the Director of the Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In their opening remarks, the dignitaries emphasized the need to have an instrument that will ensure good coordination of the efforts to foster prosperity as well as the sustainability of African agriculture. Indeed, Africa can no longer wait, as this kind of effort should have taken place more than a decade ago.
In her keynote presentation, the H.E Hon. Jeannine Cooper, the Minister of Agriculture in Liberia and the champion of Climate Smart Agriculture and ACSAF reiterated the need to put together a coherent partnership instrument like ACSAF to ensure that all partners move together in a direction that allows for progress, unity of purpose and accountability, these essential progress attributes seem to be slipping away in the Africa approach towards its agricultural development. We can no longer afford an incoherent multiplicity of voices at negotiation; we need to tidy up our acts at home so as to have a one-Africa voice in the committee of nations; ACSAF will help in this direction. Dr. Akinbamijo, the Executive director of FARA in his keynote presentation indicated the current and the projected harm of climate change in Africa; he indicated that we could avert the poor projection by acting in a coherent manner now. He further indicated that the ACSAF is an alliance of the willing that strives to leverage on the power of partnerships and strategic alliances to put CSA into practical use in a coherent version to deliver the African agriculture we want. The elaboration of ACSAF will be all-encompassing and will strive to be a practical instrument to coordinate the different initiatives; track progress and accountability; ensure stewardship, joint learning, and strategic planning; facilitate scaling of successes with minimal transboundary disturbances. Facilitate Partnerships for delivery of CSA; Chart the direction for continental development on CSA, foster active knowledge management; Improve policy design and decision-making and mobilize financial resources and accelerate scaling.
Responding to questions during the panel discussion HE Hon Jeannine Cooper, spelled out the need to define Climate Smart Agriculture with an African lens; imported models, strategies, and pathways from other parts of the world have failed the continent, she opted that Africa needs to think outside the box and come up with her own model and that needs to be done speedily. On the issue of resources to fund the rekindling of the climate-smart agriculture transition, the Honorable minister noted the difficulty in accessing climate change funds by African countries, while the interest rate is low for the developed nation, the rate for African countries is 8-10 times that of the more advanced nation, she opined that negotiation should go in this direction to ensure that Africa can fund its science and infrastructure need for CSA transition.
Dr. Mark Smith the Director General of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) a member of the one-CGIAR responding to the issues of water as a key production resource that is battered by climate change. He reiterated that available technologies for irrigation and drainage need to be leveraged for change if Africa will smartly adapt to climate change. He expressed the willingness of its institute to cooperate with others under the ACSAF instrument to leverage resources and activities for the African smallholder system.
The Executive Managing Director of the one-CGIAR, Dr. Claudia Sadoff in a closing remark indicated the willingness of the CGIAR to back up the process and contribute from the knowledge and technology angle to the good work the ACSAF portends to carry out.
The ACSAF framework will endear a consultative process, and best partnership practice and will swing into action as early as things are done for its launch at CoP27 in Dubai by 2023.