By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) returns to Africa after six years, a delegation of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is calling on international support, for sustainable, locally-driven agriculture solutions to address the climate crisis.
AFSA, representing more than 200 million farmers, calls for increased financing for agroecology and engagement with smallholder farmers in climate adaptation negotiations
The Alliance which is Africa’s largest civil society organisation represents over 200 million farmers, pastoralists, fisher-folk, indigenous peoples, women’s and youth movements, and faith groups across the continent, will attend COP27 to ensure negotiations strengthen Africa’s resilience to the climate crisis by integrating agroecology into regional and national climate policy spaces.
Leader of the delegation, AFSA General Coordinator and Panel Expert with IPES-Food Dr. Million Belay, says “Ignoring agroecology is ignoring Africa’s farmers and sidelining the planet’s most vulnerable people who are being hit first and worst by the climate crisis,”
He maintains that “Africa could feed itself many times over. But agroecology cannot and must not be overlooked by decision-makers as the most effective means to build resilience and enable small-scale farmers, pastoralists, and fishers to adapt to climate change.”
AFSA will also host an exhibit, Opportunities for Directing Climate Finance towards Resilient & Agroecological Food Systems, at COP27 on November 14, where they will present data conveying the urgent need for government climate investment in agroecology and food system efforts. The presentation will be followed by a panel with speakers from the African Development Bank, Green Climate Fund, AFSA, representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), He adds
AFSA Program Coordinator, Bridget Mugambe said “Africa is enduring the effects of the climate emergency every day—the climate crisis doesn’t wait, and neither can our people,” said. “It’s time for both African and international leaders to listen to our demands and prioritise agroecology as an African-led solution to feed our communities while also adapting to the climate emergency.”
Executive Director of Togo’s Young Volunteers for the Environment and Chair of AFSA’s Climate and Agroecology Working Group, emphasized Sena Alouka, adding to their position urges Leaders at COP27 to prioritize food systems in Africa’s climate adaptation plans and integrate agroecology into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate negotiations.
“We don’t have time to fritter away. COP 27 provides a global opportunity to begin a just transition away from high-emitting industrial agriculture, corporate food system monopolies, and false climate solutions and toward agroecology, food sovereignty, and self-sufficiency” he said
The delegation will build off of AFSA’s ongoing advocacy, including a meeting in September of this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where AFSA announced their demand that COP27 put agroecology at the centre of Africa’s climate adaptation, creating resilience for Africa’s small-scale farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities and their food systems.
A statement signed by AFSA Communications Officer, Kirubel Teshome, recalls that ahead of the conference, AFSA had submitted a position paper that outlines a clear path forward for leaders and policymakers to prioritise climate adaptation through agroecology.
The paper, which outlined five key demands including Agriculture, Climate adaptation, Climate action on land, Finance, and Gender is calling on the UNFCCC to Prioritise agroecology by including it in COP27 climate decisions and institutionalising it, to centre and meaningfully engage small-scale food producers in climate adaptation, including the utilisation of Indigenous knowledge, to focus on the protection of land from degradation due to large-scale agriculture and establish/restore community-based management of natural resources, to direct new and accessible climate financing to small-scale farmers, in the form of grants rather than loans and operationalise the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan to enable women and girls to make the best economic decisions to sustainably steward their lands