Marking of 2014 as the year of Agriculture and Food Security coincides with the release of working group reports for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) which strongly predict extreme climate events such as drought and floods. These impacts will increase vulnerability of Africa’s economies that depend on agriculture. The report will no doubt clearly illustrate the intricate linkage between climate change, agriculture and water, and the need for Africa to understand this link in order to formulate appropriate responses to climate change and develop programmes that build resilience to impacts of climate change and avoid derailment of the growth trajectory Africa enjoys today.
Coupling with this, is the challenge to produce enough food to satisfy an increasing population and ensure food security, which is one of the key objectives of Africa’s transformative development that cannot be achieved without sufficient and reliable energy to drive this transformation. For example, in the face of climate change, increased agricultural performance will demand energy to drive transformation across the agricultural value chain. The UN Climate Summit 2014 provides a great opportunity for stakeholders from Africa to assemble for deliberations that will bring to the fore Africa’s particular challenges and opportunities presented by climate change interventions.
It is in this context that The Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa), a partnership of The Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) through its African Climate Policy Center (ACPC), African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), is organizing a climate change side event at the UN Climate Summit 2014. The theme of the event will be:
Africa’s growth potential is evident, and climate change can affect this growth if such current constraints are not translated into opportunities.
Climate change is undoubtedly the defining challenge of the 21st century. As demonstrated by the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), rising temperatures pose serious challenges to Africa’s social and economic development because most countries depend on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture, energy, fisheries, water and tourism. Countries need to build their capacity to address these challenges.
Participants will include policy makers, scientists, scholars, media, civil societies and the private sector. They will deliberate on options to increase agricultural productivity, develop and increase energy uptake from renewable sources to maintain Africa’s growth momentum.
Water is a key input in agriculture production processes across the value chain and to the improvement in agricultural production. It is the source of energy required in powering agricultural transformation, as well as sustaining human lives and the environment. Policies that conserve water sources, reservoirs and efficient water use will be critical in keeping the growth momentum of Africa alive.
Africa’s transformation is heavily dependent on its ability to transform the agriculture sector. Climate resilient agricultural practices will increase crop yields, preserve biodiversity, reduce deforestation, soil loss and ensure ecosystems integrity and guarantee food security for a growing population. Knowledge of climate change and its linkage to agriculture, water and energy will drive the adoption of agricultural practices that build resilience to impacts of climate change.
The objectives of the side event are:-
- In the face of mounting scientific evidence of current and expected climate change impacts, underscore the urgency of making needed investments and interventions to address challenges facing vulnerable groups.
- To bring together African policy makers, researchers, African group of climate change negotiators, partners and other stakeholders to deliberate on climate change opportunities available to transform agriculture, taking into account its linkage to other key economic sectors of energy and water resources.
- To create understanding among policy makers that climate change does not only bring challenges, but opportunities to transform Africa, and the need to focus on these opportunities in order to bring about long term resilience to impacts of climate change and development.
- Based on knowledge generated by AR5, create understanding that Africa’s transformation and poverty reduction cannot be achieved without appreciating the nexus between agriculture, water and energy.
- To contribute in strengthening the capacity of African group of negotiators to better articulate Africa’s position in the negotiation processes and to ensure that Africa’s interests are considered in the post 2015 climate change arrangement.