How can we make climate-smart agriculture work and what are the problems facing Africa at the COP21? Experts at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) discussed this and more last week.
As global leaders converge on Paris for the COP21 summit, the world’s farmers and their allies in the development community may wonder why they’re once again sidelined.
“Until now the position of agriculture in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been weak,” said Dr Hanne Knaepen, policy officer of the food security program at the European Centre for Development Policy Management. The farming-climate debate has been held largely under the umbrella of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, she explained, but “now there’s a new dynamic, and people are trying to push agriculture on the UNFCCC agenda.”
Agriculture is “both a potential victim of climate change and a vector of improved sustainability,” noted Francesco Rampa, head of the food security program at ECDPM.
The Seychelles is, as a low-lying coastal country, inherently vulnerable to climate change, just as the other 51 small island developing states — formally known as the SIDS — spread across the oceans. They all share the same challenges: a hurricane can almost wipe away an entire island, crossing the limits of socio-economic resilience.
The government in the Seychelles understands that the little farming land available should be cultivated in a “climate-smart” way. It was one of the first African countries that, in 1993, started mainstreaming climate change into its development policies. By now, it has embraced climate-smart agriculture as the way forward — combining an increase in production, while adapting to climate change and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
Hanne Knaepen speaks to BBC Worldwide, Newsday, on the problems facing Africa at the COP21 including the issues involved in deciding on a common position and the impact of climate change in Africa.
Dr Hanne Knaepen, Policy Officer and expert on climate change, will be attending COP21 on 1st December for Agriculture Action Day. She will be available for comment throughout the COP21.
Alisa Herrero-Cangas, Policy Officer for the Strengthening European External Action Programme, is also available for comments.
The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) is an independent foundation, which aims to facilitate efforts to revitalise and deepen relations between Europe and Africa beyond aid. It has been working on EU-Africa relations for over 25 years.