Climate smart agriculture in the context of COP 23

While COP 23 is currently being held in Bonn, I thought it was interesting to present an update on one of our programs to support the fight against global warming, and aims to increase resilience to this phenomenon, which unfortunately our countries are facing as the first victims although they are in no way responsible for this situation.

Launched in 2014, this program, named Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is derived from the policies defined and put in place by the African Union, including the ComprehensiveProgram for Agricultural Development in Africa (CAADP). Our organization, NEPAD, is in charge of coordinating and implementing this platform, which should directly benefit the States involved.

Climate Smart Agriculture* is an agriculture that increases productivity, resilience and adaptation over the long term, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program is therefore aimed at global food security and improving nutrition in the face of climate change. The CSA program plans to strengthen the capacities of agricultural stakeholders at all levels, especially small farmers and concerned institutions. It has an ambitious goal: to reach the target of 25 million African farmers practicing climate smart agriculture by 2025.

To this end, Africa and NEPAD are leading a country-driven and regionally-integrated initiative that provides the tools and platform for hosting partnerships that deliver tangible results. The structure has borne fruit: today we have developed several successful alliances with international NGOs like CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Concern Worldwide, Oxfam and World Vision, but also with four technical partners including FAO, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), for example.

Every year for the past three years, NEPAD has been bringing together experts, representatives of our Alliance’s countries and regions, and our partners to discuss and adress the important role of agriculture in combating climate change. Today, through this program, NEPAD is seen as a source of information, innovation and knowledge production on climate change in Africa. Our platform also helps to find international funding and partnerships for states that wish to develop effective resilience policies to climate change, based in particular on agriculture. We are therefore enrolling in a concrete action that is bearing fruit.

It remains to create the tools to measure the results of this new approach in the field. The transition of agriculture sectors (including crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture) to more sustainable and climate-smart production systems is indeed starting and without doubt on the ground. We therefore first need to assess the current and future impacts of climate change in each African state, identify current and future adaptation strategies, and create a favorable environment for farmers. We must continue our efforts and launch new projects as we have done already with success in states like Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

We are facing a long struggle, but the time has not come to give up. It’s about our future and the future of our planet.

* From the English term smart agriculture, this is an agro-ecological agriculture that not only adapts to climate change but also emits low greenhouse gas.

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