Building capacity related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP MEAs 3)

Under MEAs 2, participants at a regional workshop on “Addressing pesticide use and identification of common issues in managing and reducing pesticide risk in Southern Africa.”

Africa is home to 25 percent of the world's biodiversity. The continent depends on its wealth of biodiversity and on its associated traditional knowledge to address challenges such as climate change, food security, nutrition and food safety, and to support sustainable and resilient agricultural production systems.

Africa’s biodiversity is alarmingly under pressure. In an effort to feed growing populations, the region is intensifying agricultural production: the challenge lies in being able to produce more from the same area of land while conserving resources, reducing negative impacts on the environment and enhancing natural capital and the flow of ecosystem services. Central to these challenges are the environmental and health hazards created by the expanding use of pesticides across the region, exacerbated by the suboptimal capacity for regulation throughout the pesticide life cycle.

African member states have committed to fostering the interaction between biodiversity and agriculture by integrating measures for the sustainable use, management and restoration of biological diversity across policies, programmes and activities. Similarly, to optimize scarce resources, regional collaboration for sound pesticide management is considered a priority in Africa.

ACP MEAs 3 regional level activities in Africa will focus on scaling out best policy initiatives and ecosystem based approaches to mainstream biodiversity into agriculture. The work will be achieved through strong collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and regional bodies, namely the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The programme will build on the strides made in the previous phases to strengthen regional collaboration, harmonize pesticide regulation, and finalize and implement the regional strategies on HHP risk reduction. Resources developed under ACP MEAs 2, namely the technical guidance document Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services and biodiversity into Agricultural Production and Management in East Africa and the Agrobiodiversity Training Manual for Farmer groups in East Africa will enhance the adoption of ecosystem based approaches and practices and contribute to the sustainable management of agricultural biodiversity in the region.  

The programme provides intensified support to four focus countries: Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. A further ten countries have been prioritized for scaling out best practices: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, and Zambia.