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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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16 November 2016


COP22

Event on AAA initiative

 

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The impacts of climate change are beginning to mount.

No continent is more affected than Africa.

The imperative of adapting African agriculture to climate change is clear.

Two-thirds of Africans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Most of them work on small family farms that depend on variable weather and rainfall that is becoming more uncertain with climate change.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Africa’s population will double by 2050. This means twice as many mouths to feed, and twice as many people to employ.

Already, African youth make up 60 percent of the population, and are chronically underemployed.

To address these challenges, we must transform the agriculture sectors. And the key to doing so lies with Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Many African countries already recognize the importance and potential of the agriculture sectors.

They are among the foremost priorities in these countries’ INDCs and NDCs.

I commend countries for their commitments.

We must now work together – as one international community – to help bring these commitments to life.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The launch of the Adaptation of African Agriculture – or Triple A – initiative could not be more timely.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Kingdom of Morocco, and in particular my dear friend, Minister Aziz Akhannouch, for his leadership in this important initiative.

Triple A will drive action in precisely the areas we need to transform the agriculture sectors:

sustainable land and soil management;

better water management; and

comprehensive climate risk management.

These are areas in which FAO is also very active, and we look forward to collaborating with the Kingdom of Morocco to push this work to scale.

Triple AAA also highlights the need for international resources, including financial resources, to accomplish this.

We must scale up climate finance flows for adaptation, and for agriculture in particular.

At the Agriculture and Food Security event this morning, we heard from the representative of the World Bank that only 2% of climate finance is being directed at the agricultural sector.

That is extremely low, and quite below our needs.

But FAO is committed to working with the Kingdom of Morocco and other African countries to take action in these areas.

Indeed, I am pleased to note that FAO is rapidly scaling up its support for NDC implementation.

As a newly accredited agency to the Green Climate Fund, FAO will be there at country level to drive the transformational change that is so urgently needed.

And as a new member of the NDC Partnership, FAO will ensure that the needs of the agricultural sectors and stakeholders are well represented, and that their voices are heard.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We must all work together to make this vision for a productive, sustainable and resilient African agriculture a reality – and do so now.

We are rapidly running out of time.

Thank you.