Africa eyes agriculture deal at COP 17

28 September 2011

African negotiators at the upcoming UN climate summit in Durban must push for a binding and responsible climate deal on agriculture, says Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network CEO Lindiwe Sibanda.

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) takes place in Durban from 28 November to 9 December.

Sibanda said African negotiators should make it their priority to secure a deal that promoted food security, in order to ensure that climate change did not wreak further havoc on the continent.

Addressing reporters in Pretoria this week about her organisation’s call, “No agriculture, no deal” for COP 17, Sibanda said: “We are grateful that COP 17 is taking place on the African continent. Now we want African negotiators to come out of this gathering with a responsible, binding climate change deal on agriculture.

“Should they fail to clinch a deal at COP 17, civil society will rise and say, ‘Any deal that does not have agriculture as a stand-alone priority sector is a betrayal to the farming sector and anybody who needs food to survive.'”

Sibanda said commitments made at the previous summit in Cancun, Mexico had to be sealed.

“Let’s not keep on changing … Our view is that COP 17 in Durban [should] produce concrete outputs that would be binding to everyone.”

Regarding the “No agriculture, no deal” campaign, Sibanda said: “We don’t embark on protest campaigns, but we advocate for evidence-based dialogue. Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy, so we will use all our power to ensure that agriculture is put on the centre stage at the COP 17.”

Sibanda said it was disturbing that developed countries were still refusing to make a binding deal to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, adding that Africa would use COP 17 to push for a better global environment, improved agricultural productivity and land use.

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network will partner with Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) to host an Agriculture Day as a COP 17 side-event on 3 December.

It will also advocate for climate-smart, which includes proven techniques such as agro-forestry, improved grazing, zero tillage and intercropping.

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network is an autonomous, regional, stakeholder-driven policy research, analysis and implementation network that was established in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in 1997.

Source: BuaNews