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East African Community Leaders Pledge To Combat Climate Change To Promote Development, Food Security

Leaders of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) on Friday at the 12th Summit on Food Security and Climate Change issued a declaration pledging to combat climate change to reduce its impact on development, PANA/Afrique en ligne reports.

The summit called for the immediate implementation of the EAC Food Security Action Plan and encouraged the development of a regional climate change policy that would include strategies aimed at “determining how surplus food in one country can be shared in countries that are worst hit,” according to the news service. “Meanwhile, each partner state has committed to increase its budget allocation to the agriculture sector to a minimum of 10 percent of national budgets by 2015, as per the Maputo Declaration of the African Union, directing them to give priority to programmes and projects for enhancing food security and poverty reduction,” PANA/Afrique en ligne notes. The declaration commits members to use the EAC Common Market Protocol to ensure regional food security and calls for the development of “critical infrastructure, especially in the rural areas, to facilitate production, handling, storage, bulking and transportation of strategic food products across the region at minimal marketing cost,” the news service reports.  

Also ahead of the the summit at a one-day retreat, the presidents of Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania called for a regional approach to climate change. The presidents noted that the EAC region “is capable of producing adequate food for consumption, as well as for export, given the natural resources potential that could be exploited for increasing agriculture production,” the news service writes (12/4).

Agriculture Projects Promote Food Security, Reduce Carbon Emissions

“Global agriculture contributes in the region of 17 percent to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, but according to the World Bank, climate smart agriculture techniques can both reduce emissions and meet the challenge of producing enough food for a growing world population,” Inter Press Service writes. “Agriculture experts are punting a scenario in which farming delivers a ‘triple win,’ sequestering carbon in soil and biomass, gaining greater resilience to drought and higher temperatures, and improv[ing] food security and farmers’ incomes,” IPS reports. The article highlights projects in Burkina Faso, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger and Zambia in which local farmers use sustainable agricultural approaches. 

“As much as agriculture is part of the problem, it is also part of the solution,” Inger Anderson, the World Bank’s vice president on sustainable development, said at Agriculture and Rural Development Day, a side event at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, last week.

The article includes quotes from Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, the chief executive officer of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, Diana Liverman, a researcher from the University of Arizona, and Josue Dione, the director of food security and sustainable development division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Phakathi, 12/5).

The Standard examines efforts to promote the adoption of agriculture practices that cut carbon emissions among farmers in Western Kenya (Jamah, 12/5).

AlertNet looks at the discussion during last week’s climate change conference of how climate change affects the poor (Goering, 12/5).

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