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Building a resilient Eastern Africa in the face of climate change

The Eastern Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Platform transforms into an Alliance for more effective delivery

The workshop created a platform to coordinate activities of CSA and identify resource mobilization opportunities. Photo credit ©FAO/Tezeta Hailemeskel

26 July 2018, Addis Ababa. Eastern Africa’s farmers face an array of challenges related to climate change (e.g. drought and flood) with serious consequences for agricultural production. The FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa (FAOSFE) and its partners are supporting countries in the subregion to respond proactively to such challenges through supporting climate smart agriculture (CSA) activities.

Consequently, FAOSFE and platform members held a workshop aimed at reviving and operationalizing the Eastern Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Platform (EACSAP). The workshop also aimed at resolving the organizational, institutional and technical issues affecting the platform, and agreeing on the implementation plan for the year 2018/2019.

In remarks provided on behalf of David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator and Representative to the AU and UNECA, Abisola Alaka, Senior Administration Officer, noted that farmers in Eastern Africa face challenges related to climate variability and change that compound the problems of land degradation, poor soil fertility and lack of access to appropriate inputs and technologies. She stressed the need to strengthen the EACSAP in order to harmonize efforts in building a climate resilient subregion, adding that, “There is a need for the existence of functional and effective national and subregional CSA coordination platforms and information sharing, adoption of appropriate CSA practices, putting in place conducive policies and institutions, and mobilizing the necessary financial resources for sustained action to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.”

Opening the workshop on behalf of Dr Eyasu Abreha, Ethiopian State Minister for Agricultural Development, Esayas Lemma, and Director of Crop Production Directorate emphasised the need for adoption of CSA practices in a country like Ethiopia, which depends on agriculture as a mainstay of the economy. He added “The dialogue on CSA provides a platform to coordinate activities of CSA actors and identify synergies and resource mobilization opportunities.” Lemma also stated that operationalization of the subregional CSA platform is a key step towards reducing the burden of negative impacts of climate change.

Participants included representatives from ministries of agriculture in Eastern Africa, regional economic communities (EAC and IGAD), East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT), research institutions, and development partners working on CSA.

The workshop conducted a thorough analysis to identify key organizational, institutional and technical issues affecting the platform.  Moreover, participants shared ideas on how to revitalize the CSA platform and also identified partnerships for new CSA initiatives in the subregion.

Some of the major recommendations of the workshop include the need to transform the EACSAP into the Eastern Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (EACSAA) for more effective coordination and promotion of CSA activities in the subregion. A proposal was made for the alliance to be chaired by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre and co-chaired by EAC, as well as for an expanded Steering Committee to include all key CSA actors in the subregion such as universities, private sector, resource partners and the East African Legislative Assembly. Participants also agreed that membership would be open to any interested parties involved in CSA activities.

The Eastern Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Platform (EACSAP) was established in 2014 to promote and scale up CSA practices in the subregion in order to increase agricultural productivity and incomes, adapt and build resilience to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was officially launched in July 2015 with the purpose of coordinating CSA activities in the subregion.

Participants agreed that important actions to be undertaken in the short term include the drafting and validation of the EACSAA Strategy and Implementation Plan to allow for clear understanding of the alliance’s goals, objectives, modus operandi, as well as programme of work and budget.

High-level consultations between IGAD and EAC are envisaged regarding co-chairing of the EACSAA, while FAOSFE and UNECA are to discuss modalities for co-facilitation of EACSAA. Finally, participants agreed on the following key objectives to be achieved by the revived subregional CSA Alliance: supporting countries in the sub-region to have increased awareness on CSA and improved adoption of the approach through the establishment of multi-stakeholder platforms; strengthening linkages among subregional and national institutions and policy makers as well as the evidence base to promote scaling up of appropriate CSA tools and technologies; and supporting countries to have increased access to adaptation funds and other climate change financing sources and mechanisms through national and sub-regional investment frameworks for climate adaptation in agriculture, forestry and other land uses.

 

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