A number of Professionals from the COMESA Climate Change Initiative and the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) were among participants at the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) and African Union Commission (AUC) consultative dialogue on operationalizing the Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation framework; that took place on 17-19 August 2011, in Durban, South Africa.
The AU-NEPAD Agriculture Climate Change Adaptation-Mitigation Framework is a response to the calls of the 13th AU Summit of 2009 which called for such an undertaking, and was the programme was formulated by the AU-NEPAD Agency as part of its continental mandates to coordinate and oversee implementation of CAADP as a delivery mechanism for agricultural development and this would lead to the achievement of food security in Africa. The workshop was organized as a first, in a series of steps towards operationalizing the AU-NEPAD Agriculture-Climate Change framework. As well as to look at salient issues related to the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties (COP 17).
With attendance of close to 60 participants, the meeting drew representation from the AUC, NPCA, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as COMESA, Member States, civil society organizations (CSO), regional and national farmers’ organizations, United Nations agencies as well as development partners. The participants reflected on the impact of climate change and variability in Africa in general and on agriculture in particular. The meeting discussed related and current adaptation and mitigation frameworks in Africa, with specific presentations from NPCA, COMESA, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), East African Farmers Federation (EAFF), Republic of Ethiopia and CAADP. Other presentations came from Action Aid, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (GM-UNCCD) and the Climate Negotiators.
The COMESA presentation which was hailed as highly comprehensive, showcased its climate change programme, and vision that goes beyond the provision of support to COMESA member states but to the tripartite arrangements between COMESA-EAC and SADC. COMESA has provided support for negotiators since COP 15. It has also engaged government ministries, parliamentarians, and civil society organizations with the view to make them participate in climate change adaptation and mitigation in different fora.
The Durban meeting, among other things, called for strengthening of the capacity of African negotiators through research as well as supporting experts at the regional and national levels. The need for the continent to be proactive on engaging in negotiations on transnational issues effecting agriculture was voiced. It was emphasis that Africa has to have its own scientific, statistics and research findings rather than using documentation from competitors from other continents.
They further underlined the need for a collective African position on agriculture in climate change negotiations at COP 17 as this presents an opportunity to put agricultural issues on the negotiating table. Africa has to have a clear position going into COP 17 negotiations.
The outcome of the above meeting will be presented to different ministerial platforms such as the Africa Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) meeting in Bamako from 12 to 16th September 2011, and the Pre-COP 17 meeting of ministers of Agriculture scheduled in South Africa at a date and venue to be announced. The COMESA Climate Change Initiative is currently financed by the European Union Commission.