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FANRPAN Regional Climate Smart Agricuture Policy Dialogue

 

By Brenda Zulu

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)  regional Climate  Smart Agriculture  Policy Dialogue has commenced in Lusaka at the Intercontinental Hotel today.

 

FANRPAN is a multi-stakeholder policy research and advocacy network. The network engages with targeted constituencies at local and national levels, through its current 17 member countries in Africa. In each member country, the FANRPAN network operates through an inter-sectoral platform called a “node” comprising a diverse group of organizations including research institutes, farmer groups, government, media, parliamentarians, private sector and other civil society organizations that have a stake in Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) policies.

 

FANRPAN operates through five thematic thrusts and these are; (i) Agriculture Input and Output Markets, (ii) Food Systems and Nutrition, (iii) Institutional Strengthening, (iv) Natural Resources and Environment and; (v) Social Protection and Livelihoods.

Within its Food Systems thematic thrust, FANRPAN implements a number of projects including aspects pertaining to Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and Post-Harvest Management (PHM). The programme currently covers the following countries: Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Within its Natural Resources and environment portfolio, FANRPAN implements a number of CSA projects supported by Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The FANRPAN CSA programme currently covers the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Why the Focus on Climate Smart Agriculture

One third of the population in Southern Africa live in drought stricken areas, and over 200 million are at risk of seasonal water shortages due to climate variability. Most predictions suggest regional climate will be characterised by increased incidences of extreme weather events, including droughts and floods. Combined with increasing populations, particularly in urban areas, the Southern African Development Community Region faces a growing challenge in sustainably managing its water, food and energy demands.

 

CSA is agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals. CSA promotes agricultural best practices, particularly integrated crop management, conservation agriculture, intercropping, improved seeds and fertilizer management practices, as well as supporting increased investment in agricultural research. CSA encourages the use of all available and applicable climate change solutions in a pragmatic and impact-focused manner. While resilience is key, CSA is broader and calls for more innovation and pro-activeness in changing the way farming is done in order to adapt and mitigate while sustainably increasing productivity. CSA practices propose the transformation of agricultural policies and agricultural systems to increase food productivity and enhance food security while preserving the environment and ensuring resilience to a changing climate.

 

The objective of the Regional Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Dialogue

For some years, attention has been building on the links between agriculture and climate change, with debates building momentum within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and outside. At the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Durban, South Africa, Parties agreed to make agriculture an agenda item in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), moving it from the (Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action) LCA discussions. 

 

The significance of this move from LCA to SBSTA was that agriculture could be explored in a more politically neutral environment, by focusing on the scientific and technical aspects of the sector in relation to climate change. 

 

At CoP17 and CoP18, Parties stopped short of agreeing to create a work programme for agriculture, which would have initiated a series of Party-requested activities to further explore and exchange scientific and technical information on agriculture (e.g. technical workshops on priority topics, synthesis reports of country submissions on specific topics).  Without the decision for a work programme, Parties have continued discussions about whether to create a work programme and what the scope of a work programme would include.

 

However, progress on addressing issues relating to agriculture within the UNFCCC processes will need sustained lobbying from farmers, youth and other concerned citizens. A number of initiatives aimed at scaling up CSA and mobilizing stakeholders towards a unified position on agriculture at CoP 21 are underway. FANRPAN is actively involved in the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) launched during the UN Climate Summit held in 23 September 2014 in New York; and the Africa CSA Alliance launched on the 25th of June 2014 in Malabo.

 

The specific objectives of this regional policy dialogue are:

1. To solicit policy recommendations for advocating for CSA policies at  regional Level

2. To identify opportunities for scaling up CSA at national level

3. To provide a Regional perspective of the climate risks to crop production and post-harvest handling.

General overview; andSpecific focus on the Groundnut Value Chain and aflatoxin contamination

4. To chart a way forward on how best to develop synergies among different stakeholders and sectors, with the aim of scaling up and out CSA best practices and technologies and; maintaining continuous dialogue on climate risks to crop production and post-harvest handling including Aflatoxin issues

5. Concretise a unified position on African Agriculture ahead of CoP 21

 

Expected Outcomes

Coming out of the Regional Policy Dialogue, it is expected that all FANR stakeholders attending the dialogue will recognize CSA as a ‘best potential way’ to steer agricultural research and development into a new era of global efforts to advance people’s food and nutrition security. Most importantly, FANRPAN hopes to:

 

Improve understanding of the potential of CSA in addressing the challenges of food security in the face of climate changeImprove understanding of the climate risks to crop production and post-harvest handling including Aflatoxin issues.Identify policy options and innovative approaches for early action to accelerate deployment of promising CSA technologies and, practices with a particular emphasis on strengthening adaptation and application in AfricaDraw up clear recommendations for Africa’s UNFCCC Negotiators on Africa’s position on agriculture and climate change

 

The Regional Policy Dialogue

The Regional Policy Dialogue will take place three months before the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France in December 2015. The Regional CSA Policy Dialogue presents a unique opportunity for African climate smart agriculture stakeholders to concretize a unified African position on agriculture ahead of CoP 21. The first two days (26-27th of August) of the dialogue will be dedicated to the CSA programme whilst day three (28th August) will be for the Post Harvest Loss Management programme.

 

On the 28th of August 2015, FANRPAN in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Platform for African - European Partnership in Agriculture and Rural Development (PAEPARD) will convene a side event on the Management of Climate-Related Risks to Crop Production and Post-Harvest Losses and reduction of Aflatoxin in the Groundnut Value Chain (GnVC).

The content and discussions of the regional policy dialogue will draw on research from the following CSA focused FANRPAN projects:

Strengthening Policy Advocacy and Research Capacity for Enhanced Food Security in East and Southern Africa – Funded by the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the project seeks to strengthen the capacity of FANRPAN to support development of FANR policies in East and Southern Africa sub-region. One of the key objectives is to enhance the capacity of FANRPAN member countries to undertake advocacy on CSA policy formulation.

Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the COMESA-EAC-SADC regions – Funded by the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA),  the programme aims to support the inclusion of Africa’s unified position on climate change into the post-2012 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) global agreement.  

 

FANRPAN Management of Climate-Related Risks to Crop Production and Post-Harvest Management Programme - Supporting Smallholder Farmers in Southern Africa to better manage Climate-related Risks to Crop Production and Post-harvest Handling is a project jointly funded by the European Union and the FAO, which spans from 2013 to 2015.  The overall objective of the project is to improve and sustain household and national food security in southern Africa through better management of climatic risks by smallholder farmers. The project was formulated to contribute to addressing the challenge of climatic hazards such as droughts, floods and cyclones, interacting with other factors such as food insecurity, and high HIV prevalence which lead to high vulnerability for millions of smallholders across southern Africa. Droughts alternate with floods and/or cyclones with devastating humanitarian effects, leading to loss of human life and assets in farming communities across the region. Climate change, with projected increases in the incidence and intensity of extreme climatic events, is likely to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities.

 

Stemming Aflatoxin pre- and post-harvest waste in the groundnut value chain (GnVC) in Malawi and Zambia to improve food and nutrition security in the smallholder farming families -  Funded by the PAEPARD, the project seeks to reduce pre- and post-harvest losses by reducing Aflatoxin in the Groundnut Value Chain (GnVC) for improved food and nutrition security of smallholder farmers by addressing main constraining factors of technology dissemination and adoption, knowledge and information sharing, and policies. The dialogue presents an opportunity for wide range of multi-stakeholders from the region to deliberate and amplify the voice of stakeholders in policy debates. 

 

Venue

Zambia is one of the three Africa CSA Alliance Fast-Track countries.  More than 70 percent of Zambia’s 13 million people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. The Zambian Government has recognized the potential of CSA practices to improve food security and contribute to sustainable development in its Revised Sixth National Development Plan of 2013. Zambia is also one of the focal countries for the PAEPARD Competitive Research Funded project.

 

Who will attend the Regional Policy Dialogue?

The Regional Policy Dialogue participants will include representatives from:

Relevant governments ministries and departments,civil society member/non-government organizationfarmers organizationsintergovernmental organization (including UN entities)research/extension/education organizationfinancing institutionprivate sectoryouth organisations

 www.fanrpan.org


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