The African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) coordinated by Dr. Fatima Denton, organized the Third Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-III) at the UNECA Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 21 – 23 October, 2013. The Conference is organized each year under the auspices of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme. ClimDev-Africa is a consortium of key African development institutions including the United Nations Economic Commission (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and African Development Bank (AfDB). The theme of this year’s Conference was: Africa on the rise: Can the opportunities from climate change spring the continent to transformative development?
Africa’s economic progress since the start of the 21st century has been on a positive trajectory, underscoring the huge potential that the continent has to improve the welfare of its populations and lift millions out of poverty.
At the macro level, many African countries have embarked on conscious economic and political transformation and are implementing strategies and programmes aimed at promoting economic growth, poverty reduction and general improvement of citizens’ welfare. However, sustaining the momentum requires African countries to studiously confront a number of challenges.
The Conference addressed five sub - themes that aimed to share experiences and disseminate research results and assess how Africa is coping with impacts of climate change. It also discussed ways of strengthening Africa’s ability to take opportunities from climate change to better prepare the continent for transformative development.
The sub-themes under which the objectives were discussed included:
• Climate science, data and services for Africa’s adaptation and mitigation
• The role of policy in building Africa’s resilience to climate change impacts
• Climate Finance: what are the unexplored options?
• Is the concept of green economy relevant for Africa? What are the opportunities? And
• Is the global climate change framework working for Africa?
The African Climate Policy Centre invited researchers, scientists, policy makers and practitioners. The Focal Point for Farm Radio International Cameroon, James Achanyi-Fontem, attended the conference to submit original research evidence on key issues related to the work of smallholder farmers in Cameroon. The pre-conference event brought together stakeholder involved in the promotion of smallholder farmers’ livelihoods from Benin, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.
The African Farmers Forum during the 3rd Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA -III) representing farmers in Agricultural sectors in Africa, discussed Crop Farming, Fisheries, Livestock, Forestry etc) on the 19th& 20th Oct, 2013 and unanimously agreed on a call for action by the organizers of the Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa, governments and other stakeholders. The call emphasized on the following:
• That the UNECA/ACPC should facilitate the formation of an African Farmers Permanent Forum for Dialogue on Climate Change and Development in Africa (AFPF-DCCDA) by using the existing representatives of the African Farmers present at the conference as starting point.
• That there is need to enhance the knowledge, management and capacities of smallholder farmers to use both local and social media in understanding and addressing the climate change challenges within their communities and regions.
• That there is need for collaboration between UNECA/ACPC, AUC, AFDB and other stakeholders of climate change and development policies in Africa, to facilitate and create a support mechanism for the promotion of projects on Youths’ Involvement and Occupational Activities in Climate Change and Development in Africa (YIOA-CCDA).
• Training and support programs should be implemented for rural smallholder farmers and fishing communities on vulnerabilities and protection in cases of disasters, so that communities are better organized to respond to emergencies, to protect and rehabilitate rural, coastal and inland areas prone to floods or reduction of water levels.
• Industries should take responsibility for compensating farmers on the damages caused directly or indirectly through pollution by their activities in the environment, creating global warming.
• Governments should formulate policies and institutional frameworks for disaster mitigation and adaptation to climate change for the small scales farmers in Africa.
• Re-forestation of deforested areas should be incorporated into better post-harvest processing and programs created to ensure re-planting of trees, from which wood is used in drying and smoking fish in some regions as a long term project of cyclical replanting.
• That action should be taken to safeguard the waters of the Lake Chad Basin and other disappearing lakes in Africa, as this in turn will contribute to maintaining biological diversity, income sustaining, livelihoods improvement and food security in Africa.
• For the maintenance of a healthy resilience ecosystem, mangroves, dunes and coastal lagoons, which provides protection of the coast and river banks from erosion and effects of floods should be rehabilitated.
The farmers’ forum finally called on participants at the conference to facilitate restitution sessions in their respective countries on the relevant issues regarding climate change and development discussed by the over 700 delegates.
During the plenary sessions, the UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Carlos Lopes, tried to answer the question about how Climate Change can spring Africa’s Transformative development, while H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Diamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African union Commission affirmed that Africa is on the Rise with concrete examples.
The key messages from the Climate Financing sub-working group are that:
• various funds have been established to support climate financing in developing countries,
• The need for climate financing by developing countries is greater than the funding currently available,
• Developing countries desire more control over access and use of funds and that the Green Climate Fund is promising, assuming significant finance passes through the ClimDev Africa mechanism.
The challenges, opportunities and recommendations of Climate Change and Water in Africa received a lot of attention, as it was made clear that many vital water resources in the continent are already under pressure. Climate change plus population increase is adding to the pressure on Africa’s water resources, while a wide variety of options exist to help Africa adapt its water management systems to a changing climate. The key message was that integrated water resources management is the key to effective and efficient management of water resources.
It was noted that observing networks in Africa have been deteriorating and need to be improved. On the other hand, participants made the call for rescuing and using historical data, which are of great value for analyzing climate situations on the continent.
The African Climate Policy Centre, ACPC, which is an initiative of the UN Economic Commission for Africa has a key role to play in facilitating improvements in Africa’s climate observing.
Some observations from participants:
• Africa needs its own research to inform appropriate positions to "sing their own songs" at the climate change negotiations
• Dr. Carlos Lopes was honoured to meet with H.E. Mary Robinson on #climatejustice & receive a copy of the Climate Justice Declaration
• It was a prime opportunity to showcase groundswell of gvt, biz & civil society action to underpin 2015 agreement http://
• "There are 3 areas that need attention, equity in achieving objectives of the convention as no. 1. "Equity must be seen as multi-dimensional in order to achieve #climatejustice #CCDA
• Mr. Augustine from Cameroon presented the need of having a protocol that demand compliance from member states, achieving #climatejustice
• "Allow appropriate technology and stop the introduction of technology that has more harm than good" - Ms. Annabel on #climatejustice
• "It has become a trade discussion rather than an attempt to save the future." - Mrs. Mary Robinson comment at the Pre #CCDA on #climatejustice
• "The big question lies in who is going to do what?" Mr. Xolisa's comment on #climatejustice in the Pre #CCDA meeting
• Focus should be on capacity building of people in developing countries in view of new technology to reduce effects of climate change #climatejustice
• The establishment of eco schools and eco clubs that inform the youth and the next generation in issues of climate change is necessary.
• Ms. Annable Waititu said, The campaign to empower women to become active in the adaptation and climate change issues has been fruitful.
• "We need full participation of both the youth and indigenous people to present a strong case." Ms. Aeshatou pic.twitter.com/mWRJPfyAO8
• "Only 10% of women own land in Kenya, thus not many have access to credit facilities." Ms. Waititu Annabel
Farm Radio and Cameroon Link use this opportunity to send kind regards to Thierry Amoussougbo of the ACPC office who facilitated the Youths and farmers working groups in the management of issues during side events discussions.
For more information, click on the following links - http://youtu.be/J1oYTaa9xsY
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.