Africa’s food systems hold global significance, impacting both worldwide food security and climate resilience. However, ensuring food resilience in Africa presents undeniable challenges.
The connection between climate resilience and food systems becomes evident as climate change poses threats to agri-food systems , resulting in crop failures, increased food prices, loss in job opportunities and heightened food and nutrition insecurity.
Within this complex scenario, a critical issue emerges—the climate finance gap, specifically addressing challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Africa.
Despite Africa contributing less than 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, its agricultural sector grapples with disproportionate challenges, worsened by droughts, floods, heatwaves, pests and diseases .
The Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 highlighted the severity, with smallholder farmers dealing with unprecedented temperatures. Alarmingly, only 35 cents of every climate finance dollar reaches these farmers, leaving them on the frontline of climate change impact.
Urgent intervention is essential, not only to address the immediate needs of over 33 million smallholder farmers but also to establish a sustainable model ensuring resilience amidst climate uncertainties. Bridging the climate finance gap for these farmers is not just a financial imperative but a moral one, necessitating a concerted effort to empower those pivotal to our collective food security and environmental stability.
Shaping Africa’s Climate Agenda at COP28
The cornerstone of sustainable climate action lies in adapting and building resilience, encompassing the active involvement of communities, ecosystems, and infrastructure but also addressing losses and damages caused by recurrent climate events.
This requires strengthening the adaptive capacity of African farmers, fortifying food supply chains, implementing inclusive policies, and developing crucial infrastructure.
Recognizing the inefficiency in resource deployment, where Africa receives $USD30 billion in annual climate finance flow which is a mere 11 per cent of the required annual amount, underscores the urgent need for effective action. Given their vulnerability, farmers require inclusion and empowerment for resilience building to advance mitigation , adaptation, loss and damage.
Fundamentally, it becomes imperative to acknowledge Africa’s unique circumstances on the global stage within the broader context of climate negotiations. Africa’s heightened vulnerability, distinct sensitivities, and lower capacity to cope necessitate urgent and inclusive action.
This acknowledgment lays the groundwork for a more equitable and effective approach in addressing climate change. To achieve the ambitious objectives outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, the global community must actively recognize and address the distinctive challenges that Africa’s food systems encounter.
Shaping a Sustainable Future: Advocacy, Collaboration and Finance
The Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 underscored the complex connection between agriculture, nutrition, infrastructure climate change, and resilience, providing guidance on how best to steer the continent towards a transformative strategy for food systems.
Addressing the climate crisis requires a restructuring of financial architecture to encourage climate investments. Giving special attention to the agriculture sector, which bears the greatest impact, it is crucial to renew commitments to green financing initiatives. Despite Africa receiving $30 billion annually, only a small fraction of its requirements, global leaders must uphold the commitment to furnish $100 billion in yearly climate finance to developing countries.
As the international community readies for COP28, it is time for collective action to mold a more robust and sustainable future, drawing global attention to these crucial issues.
Shared advocacy and collaboration emerge as fundamental principles, with a particular emphasis on ensuring active inclusion for African countries. Recognizing the challenges faced by these nations in addressing climate change, a collective effort that transcends geographical and economic boundaries is imperative.
This approach involves amplifying the voices of African countries, acknowledging their unique circumstances, and integrating their perspectives into the global climate dialogue.
Collaboration extends beyond traditional state actors to include non-state entities, civil society, and the private sector, recognizing their pivotal roles in driving sustainable solutions. Establishing platforms for knowledge exchange, facilitating technology transfer, and providing adequate financial support are vital components of inclusive collaboration.
The COP28 can serve as a catalyst for meaningful progress, ensuring that the concerns and contributions of African countries take center stage in the global climate action agenda.
The writer Amath Pathe Sene is Managing Director for the Africa Food Systems Forum
This article was originally published by: AGRA