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FAO describes new vision to support GACSA at the third Annual Forum in Bonn


19/06/2019

15-16 June 2019, Bonn - As the international community descended on Bonn last weekend for the upcoming 50th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA) held its third Annual Forum. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been a long-standing member of the Global Alliance and hosts its Facilitation Unit at its headquarters in Rome.

The two-day GACSA Annual Forum opened with the Farewell Address of Mi Nguyen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to FAO. Mi had successfully fulfilled her full term as one of GACSA’s Co-Chairs alongside Co-Chair, Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda (AGRA and FANRPAN).

Mi addressed the members of GACSA and announced, “As I step down today, it is an honour to welcome the new co-chair, Ambassador Hans Hoogeveen, who, along with Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, will continue the implementation of the Strategic Plan, supported by a revitalized Facilitation Unit.”

The GACSA Facilitation Unit welcomed its new Coordinator Simon Leiva, last month. The position of Coordinator has been waiting to be filled, and with new funds pledged to the Global Alliance last year, the Facilitation Unit now has a Coordinator that can elevate GACSA’s work and leverage GACSA members to deliver on their work plans over the next year.

The FAO Deputy Director of the Climate and Environment Division, Zitouni Ould-Dada participated in the GACSA Annual Forum’s keynote reflection session on ‘Strategic Partnerships and transformational change in agriculture and food systems.’ New GACSA Co-chair, Ambassador Hans Hoogeveen opened the session posing the question to FAO, ‘how can FAO support GACSA and what will FAO do for GACSA in the next year?’

Zitouni Ould-Dada reiterated that FAO is in crucial position to continue its support of the Global Alliance for CSA, not only as the host of its Facilitation Unit, but as a powerhouse of technical knowledge and institutional know-how on Climate-Smart Agriculture across production and resource sectors at global, regional and local levels.

Before diving into specific examples, Zitouni Ould-Dada provided his reflections on where GACSA can reshape its climate action. He spoke about the recent IPCC report and urged all members to remember that we are in a state of emergency, according to the report’s findings and projections:

“Our work should be shaped with clear actions and outcomes that deliver change that will combat the crisis our world faces within the next ten years”.

FAO supports GACSA as a multi-stakeholder convener, connecter and communicator for climate-smart agriculture, but believes GACSA can play a larger role as an implementer for action.

Zitouni Ould-Dada explained, “Now is the time for transformational change and GACSA is in the position to deliver real results on its vision. GACSA has a vision and three clear pillars of climate-smart agriculture, to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes, adapt and build resilience to climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through climate-smart practices. Now is the time to deliver on these pillars to help achieve the vision.”

He outlined how GACSA can reshape its focus in the next year and how FAO will support GACSA on reaching these goals. The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture must elevate its position as the ‘global voice’ on climate-smart agriculture knowledge, projects, practices and solutions. This voice is not from one or a few members of GACSA but needs to be one clear voice of all 230 members acting together.

GACSA must ensure stronger linkages and coordination across its membership. After hearing about many successful examples and projects presented during the Annual Forum, Zitouni Ould-Dada urged GACSA to develop a clear plan for achieving actionable change on the ground. FAO will continue to support GACSA, by giving it space to convene and discuss the implementation of its work plan. FAO has two notable publications coming out this year that can provide GACSA with examples of scalable projects and knowledge of CSA in relation to youth and SDGs.

FAO is preparing to launch a new publication on youth, agriculture and climate change at the UN Climate Change Summit in September 2019. The FAO highlighted two upcoming publications; ‘Youth in motion for climate change: A compilation of youth-led initiatives in agriculture to face the effects of climate change’ and ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals’. FAO would like to work with GACSA on projects that are scale-able in countries different to those where the pilot projects were located, to bring real change worldwide.

Natural Resources Officer, Federica Matteoli of the FAO and member of GACSA Facilitation unit delivered a presentation on FAO’s work on Climate-Smart Agriculture and how FAO included CSA in its submission to the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture Decision 4/CP.23 on adaptation, co-benefits and resilience. She explained FAO’s vision for KJWA saying that the transformation of agriculture requires a long-term approach; raising ambition and generating political will is needed to scale up the process; and measuring the progress towards set goals is crucial especially in light of limited financial resources and their priority allocations. FAO’s strategy on climate change focuses on supporting countries towards adapting smallholder production and making the livelihoods of rural populations more resilient.

The FAO told GACSA that having more youth representatives in the room for events, such as the Annual Forum, would bring new ideas and innovations to the discussions. Ambassador Hans Hoovegeen echoed the need to have more youth memberships around the GACSA table at the next Annual Forum in 2020.