Africa expects deal on agriculture at COP 17

Pretoria – African negotiators at the upcoming COP 17 in Durban should push for a binding and responsible climate deal on agriculture.

Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) CEO, Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, said African negotiators should make it their priority to secure a deal that will promote food security for climate change not to wreak havoc any further in the African continent.

Addressing reporters in Pretoria about her organisation’s call, ‘no agriculture, no deal’ for COP 17, Sibanda said: “We are grateful that COP 17 is taking place in the African continent. Now we want African negotiators to come out of this gathering with a responsible, binding climate change deal on agriculture.

“Should they fail to clinch a deal at COP 17, civil society will rise and say, ‘any deal that does not have agriculture as a stand-alone priority sector is a betrayal to the farming sector and anybody who needs food to survive.”

COP 17 is the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and it will starts on November 28 until December 9 in Durban.

Sibanda is also urging African political leadership to hold accountable those who will be negotiating on behalf of the continent. She further said previous commitments made in Cancun must be sealed.

“Let’s not keep on changing … Our view is that COP 17 in Durban [should] produce concrete outputs that would be binding to everyone.

Regarding the “no agriculture no deal campaign”, Sibanda said: “We don’t embark on protest campaigns, but we advocate for evidence based dialogue. Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy, so we will use all our power to ensure that agriculture is put on the centre stage at the COP 17, [and not] through an exit door.”

Sibanda said it was disturbing that developed countries were still refusing to make a binding deal to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, adding that Africa would use COP 17 to push for a better global environment, improved agricultural productivity and land use.

FANRPAN will play a leading role in partnering with Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) to host Agriculture Day as a side event of COP 17 on December 3.

It will also advocate for climate-smart agriculture at COP 17. Climate-smart agriculture includes proven techniques such as agro-forestry, improved grazing, zero tillage and intercropping to mention but a few.

FANRPAN is an autonomous regional stakeholder driven policy research, analysis and implementation network that was formally established in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in 1997.

The organisation was borne out of the need by SADC governments who felt that comprehensive policies and strategies were required to resuscitate agriculture.

By Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews

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