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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Climate change: Can Africa feed Africa?

The African continent, regarded as one of the most vulnerable regions to the impact of climate change, has taken up a campaign to utilise climate knowledge to transform agricultural production systems in order to sustainably feed herself and improve the people’s socio-economic wellbeing.

Marrakesh in Morocco, the conference venue
Marrakesh in Morocco, the conference venue

Consequently, key stakeholders will gather next week for three days from Wednesday at the fourth edition of the Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-IV) conference in Marrakesh, Morocco to deliberate on: “Africa Can Feed Africa Now: Translating Climate Knowledge into Action”.

The theme selection is in recognition of 2014 as the year of agriculture, and the spotlight will be on climate knowledge opportunities that can transform agricultural production systems to feed Africa sustainably.

The CCDA conference series is a policy influencing space organised each year under the auspices of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme. ClimDev-Africa is a consortium of three leading pan-African institutions – the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

According to the organisers, the overall objective of the conference is to provide a platform for deliberating on how Africa can utilise climate knowledge to transform agricultural production systems in order to sustainably feed itself and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of its people.

To continue on a trend that commenced during CCDA-III, CCDA-IV will lay focus on impacts of climate change on vulnerable groups and also integrate strong participation of civil society groups, with the aim of perceiving the realities, opportunities and challenges faced at the grass-root level, for which policy makers and researchers in attendance can begin to design interventions. The targeted vulnerable groups include farmers, women, the youth and pastoralists.

The promoters describe CCDA as a forum where stakeholders come together to discuss the interrelationships between climate change and development, with Africa as the main focus. “ClimDev-Africa partners, as well as other stakeholders, share their programmes’ achievements as well as challenges they face on key climate change issues and seek new knowledge on ways to better cope with them in the interest of Africa’s development. Further, it builds a consensus amongst policy makers, academicians, researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders on best approaches of integrating climate change opportunities in policies, strategies, planning and practices in Africa,” a source explains.

To realise the overall objective, the following specific objectives will guide deliberations:

  • To understand the role of climate data and information services and climate knowledge in transforming and managing risk and opportunities across the agricultural value chain.
  • To examine the implications of recent climate trends and projections on agricultural production systems and related infrastructure.
  • To better understand the importance of natural capital and ecosystem services in agricultural performance and sustainability.
  • To identify finance and technology challenges and opportunities for climate resilient agriculture value chains.
  • To build on CCDA3 recommendations and the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) climate research frontiers identified in the African Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013).

The following subthemes are the pillars that will guide deliberations during the breakout sessions, and for which presenters will be invited to submit papers:

  • Sub-theme I: Improving and harnessing climate data, information, and knowledge for agricultural production, water resources management, and food security in Africa.
  • Sub-theme II: Agricultural opportunities for renewable energy development in Africa.
  • Sub-theme III: Enhancing Africa’s capacity to mobilize, access, and implement climate finance for agricultural development.
  • Sub-theme IV: Innovation and technology to enhance agricultural transformation in a changing climate.

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