NEPAD should push for smart agric techs in fight against Climate change effects

Climate change will have serious and adverse consequences for many development sectors in Africa, and threatens the economies and livelihoods of many African countries, noted NEPADS agency leaders at a side event they organized during COP21.

NEPAD Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination, Mrs Estherine Fotabong-Lisinge

NEPAD Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination, Mrs Estherine Fotabong-Lisinge

This admission is good for one can only solve a problem he recognizes and accepts. The only worry is the reluctance to effect rapid defensive action to neutralize the threat.

Mohamed Abdel-Monem, Special Adviser to the AMCEN (African Ministerial Conference on the Environment) President, couldn’t be more right. Obviously there is urgent need to multiply efforts on combatting climate change as African economies depend heavily on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture.

But he fell short of offering practical solutions to the problem. We all agree that keeping global warming below 2°C and minimizing the negative impact of climate change requires more than talk and more talks.

It would be asinine for African leaders to simply wait for help from the so-called-developed north. They must allocate resources now to fight this challenge. Africa is very reach but for corruption.

In the three original East African countries alone, trillions of dollars are looted annually from public coffers. If you doubt me, ask the new beloved no-nonsense President Magufuli of Tanzania; or simply undertake a simple media content analysis of corruption cases reported in Kenya. The money is enough to finance climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in the whole of Africa.

During the event, the NEPAD Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination, Mrs Estherine Fotabong-Lisinge , rightly observed  combating climate change is complex and requires the effort of all players at all levels.

To succeed, smallholder farmers will need to be given smart, climate resilient seeds to play their rightful role in this fight. For example, the AU/NEPAD High-level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology made very useful recommendations in Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa’s Development report on the need adopt GM crops to help as one way to fight climate change.

To date, the Agency is mute about this excellent report. We don’t see NEPAD pushing harder for implementation of recommendations of the panelists that included the renowned Prof Calestous Juma.  No wander only three African countries (South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Sudan) have so far commercialized GM crops.

African Green Economy Partnership (AGEP); Sustainable Land Management, Desertification, Biodiversity and Ecosystems-based Adaptation to Climate Change (LDBE); Partnership for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Africa; African Programme on Sustainable Energy Development; and Africa Integrated Environmental Assessment for Sustainable Development are good grand plans, but they need the buy-in of the people. And they risk failure if idealistic environment NGOs (whose language is all over the programs as outlines) are allowed to dictate terms. Crop scientists, seed traders and farmers needs to be consulted and their suggestions taken into account.

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