Dr Theo de Jager, president of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), and of the Pan African Farmers Organisation (Pafo), spoke, this week, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, Morocco at COP 22.
Adressing delegates, Pafo’s president told the convention that food security is part of the UN’s sustainable development agenda, which is directed at physical and economical access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. De Jager said the expansion of food production should not be compromised by climate change, but that it was a phenomenon which “threatens food security and our ability as primary producers, especially that of the small farmers, to feed a growing, and increasingly affluent, global population.”
The Paris Agreement recognised the difficulties that climate change presented in the field of food security, de Jager said.
“It accepted the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of
food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change.” Aims had been set out at COP 21 to strengthen global response climate change threats by increasing adaptability to its adverse impacts, fostering climate resilience and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
With the Paris Agreement entering into force on 4 November, countries are taking ownership of their carbon emissions, and would join forces in this global initiative to bring nations together for the common cause of fighting climate change.
De Jager said various elements were necessary to improve productivity and resilience and to implement the nationally determined contributions (NDC).
These were “innovation and technology transfer, investment in research and extension, farm business profitability, an ambitious financing framework particularly for farmers in developing countries and empowering farmers by putting them at the centre of discussions and action.”
Climate change in the African landscape
Agriculture had been given a position of some importance at COP 22 for the first time in COP’s 21 year history. Another highlighted initiative was the Adaptation of African Agriculture to climate change, adopted in Marrakech on 30 September and signed by 27 countries. The general thrust of the initiative is to promote and support the implementation of specific innovative projects in Africa to manage soil, control agricultural water, manage climate risk, build capacity and fund solutions.