COP 27: Investment in agroecology’ll address climate crisis

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) returns to Africa after six years, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) is calling on international support for sustainable, locally-driven agriculture solutions to address the climate crisis.

AFSA, Africa’s largest civil society organisation representing more than 200 million farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, women’s and youth movements, and faith groups across the continent, will attend COP27 to ensure negotiations strengthen Africa’s resilience to the climate crisis by integrating agroecology into regional and national climate policy spaces.

The delegation will build off of AFSA’s ongoing advocacy, including a meeting in September of this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where AFSA announced their demand that COP27 put agroecology at the centre of Africa’s climate adaptation, creating resilience for Africa’s small-scale farmers, fishers, pastoralists, and indigenous communities and their food systems.

Ahead of the conference, AFSA has submitted Adaptation, Resilience and Mitigation Through Agroecology, a position paper that outlines a clear path forward for leaders and policymakers to prioritise climate adaptation through agroecology.

In the paper, AFSA outlines five key demands as:

Agriculture: Prioritise agroecology by including it in COP27 climate decisions and institutionalising it UNFCCC climate adaptation: Centre and meaningfully engage small-scale food producers in climate adaptation, including the utilisation of Indigenous knowledge.

Climate action on land: Focus on the protection of land from degradation due to large-scale agriculture and establish/restore community-based management of natural resources.

Finance: Direct new and accessible climate financing to small-scale farmers, in the form of grants rather than loans Gender: Operationalise the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan to enable women and girls to make the best economic decisions to sustainably steward their lands.

AFSA General Coordinator and panel expert with IPES-Food Dr. Million Belay, said ignoring agroecology is ignoring Africans farmers and sidelining the planet’s most vulnerable people who are being hit first and worst by the climate crisis.

“Africa could feed itself many times over. But agroecology cannot and must not be overlooked by decision-makers as the most effective means to build resilience and enable small-scale farmers, pastoralists, and fishers to adapt to climate change.”

AFSA will also host an exhibit, Opportunities for Directing Climate Finance towards Resilient & Agroecological Food Systems, at COP27 on November 14, where it will present data conveying the urgent need for government climate investment in agroecology and food system efforts.

The presentation will be followed by a panel with speakers from the African Development Bank, Green Climate Fund, AFSA, representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

AFSA Program Coordinator, Bridget Mugambe, said Africa is enduring the effects of the climate emergency every day—the climate crisis doesn’t wait and neither can our people.

“It’s time for both African and international leaders to listen to our demands and prioritise agroecology as an African-led solution to feed our communities while also adapting to the climate emergency.”

Executive Director of Togo’s Young Volunteers for the Environment and Chair of AFSA’s Climate and Agroecology Working Group, Sena Alouka, emphasized the same point.

“Leaders at COP27 must prioritize food systems in Africa’s climate adaptation plans and integrate agroecology into UNFCCC climate negotiations. We don’t have time to fritter away. The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 27) provides a global opportunity to begin a just transition away from high-emitting industrial agriculture, corporate food system monopolies, and false climate solutions and toward agroecology, food sovereignty, and self-sufficiency.”

As part of efforts at COP27, AFSA is launching a week-long social media campaign to promote agroecology as Africa’s solution to the climate crisis using the hashtag #Agroecology4Climate, AFSA invites the global community to join campaign and follow along with the week’s events.

It is the biggest continental voice for food sovereignty and agroecology in Africa. It is the largest network of networks in Africa, with more than 30 network members with a combined potential reach of 200 million Africans. Its membership embraces farmers, indigenous communities, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fisher folk, consumer networks, women and youth networks, faith-based organizations, and civil society organizations (CSOs).