`Ahead of Climate Summit, African Leaders Discuss Fate of The Continent - Olive Oil Times

Ahead of Climate Summit, African Leaders Discuss Fate of The Continent

Oct. 5, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Desertification affects 45 per­cent of Africa, while 65 per­cent of pro­duc­tive land is con­sid­ered degraded, accord­ing to data released by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The FAO added that 700 mil­lion hectares of degraded land on the con­ti­nent could be restored. Every year, Africa loses three mil­lion hectares of forests.

For Africa, this is a gen­er­a­tional cri­sis and one we will have to adapt to… Africa must come together and chart a course to low-emis­sion growth that is good for all Africans and the world.- Sam Cheptoris, Ugandan min­is­ter of water and envi­ron­ment

These data points have been a cen­tral topic at the talks held dur­ing Africa Climate Week 2021 (ACW) last week.

See Also: World Failing to Meet Emissions Reductions Pledged in Paris Agreement

Leaders from across the con­ti­nent, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and a num­ber of com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pated in the elec­tronic work­shops, aimed at refin­ing the African agenda to com­bat cli­mate change and cur­tail its effects.

The projects, pledges and num­bers will be dis­cussed at the incom­ing COP26 cli­mate sum­mit, which will be held in Glasgow start­ing October 31.

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According to the U.N. news ser­vice, Sam Cheptoris, min­is­ter of water and envi­ron­ment of Uganda, which hosted ACW 2021, said that the 1.5 ºC global tem­per­a­ture rise fore­casted in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report increases risk of severe impacts at a moment in which we are look­ing to grow quickly.”

For Africa, this is a gen­er­a­tional cri­sis and one we will have to adapt to,” he added. In the face of the cli­mate cri­sis, Africa must come together and chart a course to low-emis­sion growth that is good for all Africans and the world.”

The UNDP regional direc­tor for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa, has empha­sized how the con­ti­nent has recently wit­nessed dev­as­tat­ing floods, an inva­sion of desert locusts and now faces the loom­ing specter of drought because of a La Niña event.”

In pre­sent­ing the FAO report Review of Forest and Landscape Restoration in Africa 2021,” Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of the African Union Development Agency, said the urgent need to reverse these neg­a­tive and dev­as­tat­ing trends has prompted African lead­ers to com­mit to the restora­tion of the continent’s ecosys­tems.”

Through its roadmap for devel­op­ment, Agenda 2063, the African con­ti­nent com­mits to ecosys­tem restora­tion by pro­tect­ing, restor­ing and pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able use of ter­res­trial ecosys­tems, sus­tain­ably man­ag­ing forests and com­bat­ing deser­ti­fi­ca­tion,” he added.

Calls for action have mul­ti­plied dur­ing the ACW 2021 vir­tual ses­sions hosted by the African Development Bank and many other inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the U.N. Environment Program and the World Bank.

Among the projects backed and financed by local gov­ern­ments and inter­na­tional sup­port insti­tu­tions, all of which are focused on cre­at­ing new oppor­tu­ni­ties for local and regional devel­op­ment, is the Great Green Wall.

Restoring land back to pro­duc­tive good health and pro­tect­ing forests is a huge and ben­e­fi­cial oppor­tu­nity for Africa. And it’s urgent,” said Moctar Sacande, an FAO expert and coor­di­na­tor of the action against deser­ti­fi­ca­tion in sup­port of the Great Green Wall.

The project aims to turn 8,000 kilo­me­ters of African land into a haven for bio­di­ver­sity, a lively eco­log­i­cal bar­rier against land degra­da­tion.

See Also: €100B in E.U. Spending Fails to Reduce Emissions in Ag Sector, Audit Finds

It’s much more than tree-plant­ing. It’s huge social and eco­nomic ben­e­fits for rural farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” Sacande said. It’s a bul­wark against cli­mate change. It’s bring­ing tech­nol­ogy to enhance tra­di­tional knowl­edge. It’s sup­port­ing dig­nity and pride.”

The work­shops have also focused on the oppor­tu­ni­ties for local pop­u­la­tions that come with the projects to adapt to and com­bat cli­mate change.

According to the African Development Bank Group, cli­mate adap­ta­tion responses also must be built on gen­der and health inclu­sion.

Current efforts to adapt to cli­mate change are sim­ply not suf­fi­cient,” said Bannet Ndyanabangi, the U.N. Population Fund’s interim regional direc­tor for east and south­ern Africa. Moreover, solu­tions are not always designed to pre­vent dis­pro­por­tion­ate impacts on women and girls, as well as other vul­ner­a­ble or mar­gin­al­ized pop­u­la­tions.”

Harsen Nyambe Nyambe, direc­tor of the cli­mate and land man­age­ment branch of the African Union, added, Africa is suf­fer­ing crip­pling effects of the cli­mate cri­sis. The lack of progress in the last COP25 on key arti­cles that rein­force equity such as finance, loss and dam­age, gen­der and mar­kets, is a major con­cern.”

While large infra­struc­ture com­pa­nies have pledged to quickly move toward car­bon neu­tral­ity, focus­ing on sus­tain­abil­ity and renew­able ener­gies, farm­ers remain the key dri­vers of change in Africa, and in the rest of the world.

FAO offi­cials said farm­ers have a piv­otal role to play since agri­cul­ture serves both a con­trib­u­tor to global warm­ing and a weapon to com­bat cli­mate change, depend­ing on the poli­cies and the prac­tices put in place.

Farming in har­mony with nature, its forests and bio­di­ver­sity main­tains land and land­scape pro­duc­tiv­ity and lessens degra­da­tion,” the FAO said. People can har­vest crops but also non-tim­ber for­est prod­ucts such as edi­ble fruits, nat­ural oils for soaps, wild honey and plants for tra­di­tional med­i­cine, food and feed.”

The degra­da­tion is still reversible, we can turn this sit­u­a­tion around,” added Nora Berrahmouni of the FAO Africa forestry office. The key is com­mu­nity engage­ment as well as equip­ment and tech­nol­ogy.”

ACW 2021’s orga­ni­za­tion com­mit­tee has pledged to dis­cuss the issues and the results of the work­shops at the COP26 in Glasgow.





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