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Africa Pavilion visitors deciding which panel to attend

The following side events were covered by ENB+ on Wednesday, 2 December 2015:

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, is providing web coverage, including photos and video, of selected events from the Africa Pavilion at COP 21.


Economic Opportunities in African Drylands for Climate Change Adaptation Presented by: SOS SAHEL and the Committee of Pan African Institutions




Salifou Ouedraogo, Director of Operations, SOS SAHEL

Christian Eboulé, Journalist, TV5MONDE

Maguette Kaire, Forestry Expert, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)


This side event focused on the benefits and challenges of utilizing non-wood forest products for climate change adaptation and food security in the Sahel region in Africa, as well as on the challenges of desertification and food security. Christian Eboulé, Journalist, TV5MONDE, opened the session and moderated the panel.

Salifou Ouedraogo, Director of Operations, SOS SAHEL, delivered a presentation showcasing the work of SOS SAHEL on promoting the linkages between climate change and non-wood forest products. He said that non-wood forest products, particularly gum, resin and sap, are opportunities for food security and income generation. For example, he said, Acacia gum is a natural ingredient used in thousands of food products globally. Gum, he said, contributes up to 65% of income for some households, but that challenges remain in utilizing this resource such as distance to the forest, deforestation and lack of organization among producers. He recommended helping communities harness new production technologies, improving storage, developing regional and national strategies in gum-producing countries and organizing gum producers into unions or federations so that they can face problems together.

Maguette Kaire, Forestry Expert, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), highlighted major climate change risks in the Sahel including droughts, rainfall variability, flooding and coastal erosion. He also noted threats to the agriculture, fishing and forestry sectors. He said that demographic growth in the Sahel is among the highest in the world, and that CILSS has worked to scale up sustainable land management to fight deterioration and degradation of agricultural land and ecosystems. He hailed France’s recent pledge of US$2 billion in climate finance for least developed countries, and said that Sahel countries need to lead by prioritizing climate in their own national budgets. By mobilizing national resources, he said, it is easier to access outside funding.

Elvis Paul Tangem, Coordinator, Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWISS), African Union, said that the Great Green Wall Initiative came about as a result of the disastrous impact of drought in the Sahel from 1960-1990, an environmental disaster epitomized by images of starving Ethiopian children that continue to haunt policymakers today. He said the Great Green Wall Initiative aims to sustainably manage water and build resilience to climate change among residents of the Sahel. He went on to describe the importance of non-timber forest products, saying that such products lie at the nexus of carbon sequestration and forest protection. He underscored this point with the example of the Acacia tree that is found only in Africa and provides one of the main ingredients for Coca-Cola.

During the ensuing discussion, participants brought up the issues of technology transfer, land degradation and restoration, the need to involve Sahel countries in initiatives to combat desertification and the need for contract-based reforestation to ensure survival of saplings.


+ More Information:

http://www.sossahel.org/en/

+ Contacts:

Helene Lo Presti (SOS SAHEL) - helene.lopresti@sossahel.org


Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) Presented by: African Union Commission (AUC)

Amedy Camara, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritania


Amedy Camara, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritania, and Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), moderated the session. The theme of the session was on the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) and involved a wide range of government ministers and development partners.

Amedy Camara opened the session by stating that climate change is a major threat to rural communities as it can increase political radicalization and migration. He said that he is convinced that the Great Green Wall Initiative, in collaboration with technical, financial and private partners, can reverse the negative environmental trends in the vulnerable areas of the Sahel, ensure economic development and help people return to their lands.

Akinwumi Adesina argued that there is a link between environmental degradation, loss of livelihoods and migration. He said that unless policymakers can light up and power Africa with energy then all the trees that are planted will be cut down for charcoal.

Abdoulaye Dia, Executive Secretary, Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall Initiative, outlined that the prevention and management of the impact of climate change on local communities, people and national resources is at the very heart of socioeconomic development for the countries of the Great Green Wall region.

Adamou Cheiffou, Minister of Environment, Urban Sanitation and Sustainable Development, Niger, noted that radical groups such as Boko Haram have benefited from environmental degradation as it causes loss of livelihoods and increases migration. He highlighted the need to restore and sustainably manage land to give people a reason to stay.

Souleymane Cisse, Conseiller Technique, Ministry of Environment and Sanitation, Mali, made an appeal to the international community to ensure resources are assigned to the main components of the Great Green Wall Initiative.

François Lompo, Minister for Agriculture, Water and Fisheries, Burkina Faso, emphasized that a participatory and inclusive approach will allow for local ownership which is crucial to the success of the project.

Moustapha Ali Alifei, Minister of Environment and Fisheries, Chad, noted that Chad has been scaling up efforts to implement the Great Green Wall Initiative by investing its own resources, but said that it is necessary to mobilize additional resources from the international community.

Mohamed Moussa Balala, Minister of Habitat, Urban Planning, Environment and Town Planning, Djibouti, highlighted that desertification is creating a rural exodus and crowded urban slums that are swelling with unemployed and unskilled people who are not able to gain employment.

Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said that talking about the GGWSSI only in the context of reforestation and afforestation is not enough to attract the political attention needed, rather it is necessary to talk about it in the context of economic and social development.

Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, highlighted the necessity to focus on soil restoration and the link between healthy soils and human wellbeing and announced that in two days FAO will launch a status of soil resources report.

Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank, said that land degradation does not have to be inevitable. She announced that the World Bank intends to allocate US$1.9 billion to GGWSSI projects and other climate change initiatives.

Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning, noted that the days of thinking in silos are gone and that there is a need for holistic and horizontal ways of communicating.

Mahama Ayariga, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana, outlined that Ghana is not yet a part of the Great Green Wall Initiative but that it has recently applied to join. He highlighted that if politicians treat climate change in the same way they treat political elections the fight would be won already.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), highlighted that Africa is facing a perfect storm with regards to climate change and food security that will affect its growing population. She outlined GEF’s newly launched food security programme for Africa.

Kebede Yimam, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia, encouraged all countries in the Sahel to implement their domestic GGWSSI plans.

Aliou Dia, Team Leader for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change, UN Development Programme (UNDP), said UNDP will scale up its interventions in all the GGWSSI countries.

Jose Soler-Carbo, Deputy Head of Unit, Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources, EU Commission, noted that this project cannot fail and that the EU has been supporting the project for many years.

Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC, closed the session by stating that the GGWSSI is a flagship programme for the continent.


François Lompo, Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources Sanitation and Food Security, Burkina Faso

Mohamed Moussa Balala, Minister of Habitat, Urban Planning, Environment and Town Planning, Djibouti


Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria, and UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning

Abdoulaye Dia, Executive Secretary, Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall Initiative

Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank

Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General, FAO

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF

+ More Information:

http://www.greatgreenwallinitiative.org

+ Contacts:

Leah Naess Wanambwa (AUC)- Wanambwal@africa-union.org


High-Level Panel on Water and Climate Change in the context of SDGs Presented by: African Union Commission (AUC)

Rudolph Cleveringa, Executive Secretary, Global Water Partnership (GWP)

Bai Mass Taal, Executive Secretary, African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW)

Ursula Schäfer-Preuss, Chair, GWP


This event was moderated by Bai Mass Taal, Executive Secretary, African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) who began by noting that water only entered the UNFCCC negotiations as a separate topic at Copenhagen in 2009 and that it now is receiving increased focus.

Amadou Mansour Faye, Minister for Hydraulic and Sanitation, Senegal, highlighted that water is the first medium to manifest climate change, either through floods or droughts. He argued for the creation of a “blue fund” for water management and infrastructure projects to increase the focus on and funding for water issues.

Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC, outlined that water is now considered to be a part of the political agenda of the African Union. She stated that water is at the heart of the development objectives across many sectors and that it is a core part of the SDGs and AUC’s 2063 Agenda.

Ursula Schäfer-Preuss, Chair, Global Water Partnership (GWP), noted that the GWP along with the leadership of AMCOW has made significant progress on its programmes and projects. She said that it is critical to galvanize communities and political support and provide targeted support on gender and youth in order to achieve success on water projects. She also noted that stakeholders on the ground deserve to be heard properly by decision-makers and during the design of water projects.

Rudolph Cleveringa, Executive Secretary, GWP, outlined that adaptation and mitigation have powerful co-benefits and that investing in water security pays “royal dividends” and gives a considerable boost to lagging economies. He emphasized that the more than 3,000 organizations in the GWP are ready to accelerate the delivery of the SDGs, water and climate resilience agendas to achieve transformative action.

Benedito Braga, President, World Water Council (WWC), stated that climate change is manifested with, by and through water. He outlined that the WWC is working with other important associations outside the water sectors to convey that water needs to be included in discussions.

Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water and Wildlife, The Gambia, outlined that water will be a part of the Paris Climate Agreement, either directly or implicitly.

Suleiman Adamu, Minister for Water Resources, Nigeria, said that Africa is not very good with regards to issues relating to conservation, and that there is therefore a need to talk about and look at these issues. He also stated that water conservation strategies are a way of mitigating the effects of climate change

Amadou Bocoum, Managing Director, Office of Lake Guiers, Senegal, outlined the work of this river organization and why it has been successful. He highlighted that they are going to lose ground due to climate change without quickly building new infrastructure.

Mohamed Soliman, Director, Coastal Research Institute, Egypt, outlined that Egypt’s challenges with climate change are primarily erosion, land loss, sedimentation and degradation of water quality and that the country is implementing an adaptation strategy to deal with these challenges over the next 50 years.

Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), provided some closing remarks and said that Africa suffers from the “paradox of the plenty” with regards to water as there is so much of it yet millions of people remain water insecure. She outlined that the problem in Africa revolves around management of water resources.


Amadou Mansour Faye, Minister for Hydraulic and Sanitation, Senegal

Suleiman Adamu, Minister for Water Resources, Nigeria


L-R: Mohamed Soliman, Director, Coastal Research Institute, Egypt; Ursula Schäfer-Preuss, Chair, GWP; Bai Mass Taal, Executive Secretary, AMCOW; Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Forestry, Water and Wildlife, The Gambia; Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC; Amadou Mansour Faye, Minister for Hydraulic and Sanitation, Senegal; Benedito Braga, President, World Water Council; Amadou Bocoum, Managing Director, Office of Lake Guiers, Senegal


 

 


+ More Information:

http://www.au.int

+ Contacts:

Leah Naess Wanambwa (AUC) - Wanambwal@africa-union.org


Climate Variability in Africa: Implications for Agricultural Transformation Presented by: African Development Bank (AfDB)

L-R: Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Chairman, allAfrica; Akinwumi Adesina, President, AfDB; Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission (AUC); Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, World Bank; Jacques Diouf, former Director-General, FAO; Jean-Luc François, Head of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity Division, Agence Française de Développement


Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Chairman, allAfrica, welcomed participants and opened the session by noting that there is an urgent need to transform the dire threats of climate change into an opportunity for hundreds of millions of people in order to save lives and improve livelihoods.

Akinwumi Adesina, President, AfDB, said that the future of Africa does not depend on oil, gas or minerals but rather it depends on agriculture. Africa, he said, holds 65% of the arable land left in the world, land that must be used to feed all of humanity. He argued that in order to unlock Africa’s agriculture potential, perceptions must be changed. “Agriculture is not a way of life,” he said, “it is a business.” He underscored that agriculture must be a sector that creates wealth, not a sector that simply manages poverty. “We must diversify away from oil and gas, and make sure that wealth comes from the soil,” he said. He concluded noting the very real danger posed by climate change, which is that Africa may not be able to feed itself.

Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission (AUC), described the AUC’s 2063 Agenda as it relates to agriculture development, noting that currently agricultural productivity in Africa is not increasing rapidly enough. She said that the 2063 Agenda makes agricultural development its top priority, and is also focused on increasing intra-Africa trade. She said that a deal in Paris needs to ensure access to modern technologies to develop agriculture.

Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, World Bank, said that Africa has had 10 years of growth primarily led by commodity prices that are now falling. This growth can be sustained, he said by diversifying African economies and increasing agricultural yield and productivity. He noted that increasing productivity improves macroeconomic stability. He said that one drain on African economies is using financial reserves to import food, and that decreasing food imports is crucial to improving global competitiveness. He linked this to climate change saying that climate change is a fundamental uncertainty affecting agricultural producers particularly regarding rainfall variability.

Jacques Diouf, former Director-General, FAO, said that human progress has been defined by increasing control over nature, not increasing dependency. Therefore, he argued, “smart agriculture” means not being dependent on rain. He underscored this challenge, noting that upwards of 90% of agricultural land in Africa is dependent on rainfall. He said that farmers plan their work carefully, from buying seeds to securing finance, but then they are left to the whims of nature and must pray for rain.

Jean-Luc François, Head of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity Division, Agence Française de Développement, said that policymakers need to spur and assist agricultural transformation in Africa. Describing a recent trip to Ethiopia, he said that landscape transformation is already underway in the western part of the country as farmers have increased their holdings and scaled up agriculture. He said that the process of scaling up is accomplished primarily with technological change. He said that UNFCCC negotiators need to be fully cognizant that agriculture is part of the solution to climate change, and underscored the importance of soil fertility.

Discussion focused on, inter alia: fisheries as a part of agricultural production in Africa, land rights, and lowering the risk of lending to agricultural operations for the banking sector


Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC

Jean-Luc François, Head of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Biodiversity Division, Agence Française de Développement


+ More Information:

www.afdb.org

+ Contacts:

Anthony Nyong (AfDB) - a.nyong@afdb.org


Other Events

Addressing Climate Change Adaptation in International River Basin: The Niger Basin Climate Investment Plan

Christine Gbedji-Vyaho, Minister of Water, Benin

Amadou Mahtar Ba, Executive Chairman, allAfrica


Jamal Saghir, Director, Sustainable Development Department for Africa, World Bank

Financing the Adaptation Gap: Lessons from the Climate Investment Funds Presented by: Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

L-R: Kurt Lonsway, Manager for Environment and Climate Change, African Development Bank (AfDB); Kate Hughes, Deputy Director, Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK; Barbara K. Buchner, Senior Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI); Mafalda Duarte, Program Manager, (CIF); David Kaluba, Principal Economist, Ministry of Finance, Zambia; Frank Fass-Metz, BMZ, Germany


Barbara K. Buchner, Senior Director, CPI

Mafalda Duarte, Progam Manager, CIF

Around the Venue



A participant tries on a VR headset at the Great Green Wall booth at the Africa Pavilion

The Africa Pavilion @ COP 21 Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This issue has been written by Dina Hestad and Brett Wertz. The Digital Editor is Liz Rubin. The Editor is Tomilola Akanle Eni-ibukun, Ph.D. <tomilola@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of the Africa Pavilion at COP 21 has been provided by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of the Africa Pavilion @ COP 21 Bulletin can be found on the IISD Reporting Services website at http://enb.iisd.org/climate/cop21/cdafrica-ap/. The IISD team at the Africa Pavilion at COP 21 can be contacted by e-mail at <brett@iisd.org>.


Funding for coverage of the Africa Pavilion at COP 21, has been provided by UNECA
UNECA