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Morocco climate conference fuels further discussions on impacts and economy

Africa’s poorest populations and smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable groups susceptible to climate change impacts. Creative Commons: CIAT, 2010

Africa’s poorest populations and smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable groups susceptible to climate change impacts. Creative Commons: CIAT, 2010

The Fourth Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa wraps up in Morocco today, spearheading longer-term discussions on climate change knowledge and socio-economic security for the continent.

The two-day conference entitled Africa Can Feed Africa Now: Translating Climate Knowledge into Action was coordinated by the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme, a consortium of the African Union Commission (AUC), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Highlighting the relationship between climate change and economic development, the conference was a hub for discussions about sustainable solutions that minimize the impacts of climate change — particularly on vulnerable groups such as women, farmers, and young people. Currently, land degradation, water stress and desertification are some of the biggest challenges posed to the continent.

Speakers called for participants, which included members of society, academia, policy intergovernmental organizations, to keep “Africa in mind” in the lead-up of Paris 2015 talks.

“Africa and the rest of the world will not gain from a weak agreement in Paris in 2015. We cannot bend history,” said Dr. Fatima Denton, Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre and Director of Special Initiatives Division at the UNECA.

The African Development bank took this opportunity to announce that they would launch the €33 million ClimDev Africa Special Fund that would be used towards capacity building and information gathering and dissemination on climate issues. This would allow public sector officials to use this funding to create “viable, reliable and regular climate information sources.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation also called for small-scale farming support and agricultural reform in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, requesting US$ 30 million in aid this week.

“As a result of climate change, there will be a lowering of the among of production that farmers are able to achieve. That in turn will impact unfavourable on nutrition levels and then lead to larger incidents of hunger,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC.

Africa’s poorest populations and smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable groups susceptible to climate change impacts, including the threat of malnutrition, which is currently faced by one in every four people throughout the continent. This event leads into the African Development Forum beginning on October 12, where climate financing talks are expected.

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