Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Sindiso Ngwenya.
Climate change was centre stage as the Chair of the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Sindiso Ngwenya, opened the network’s annual regional dialogue in Maputo, declaring, “there should be no deal without agriculture.”
Ngwenya, also the chair of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, urged over 200 delegates from 18 African countries, and the UK, U.S., Germany, the Philippines and Trinidad & Tobago, to lobby for increased and more accessible global funding for climate adaptation and clean development mechanisms”.
He declared that Africa can provide part of the solution to the global climate challenge, if all of its countries and the entire world endorse the “African Climate Solution” (ACS). The African Climate Solution proposes the reduction of green house gas emissions by forest resources and carbon sequestration through agriculture, forestry and land use. The ACS decided by a group of 26 African countries from East, Central and Southern Africa on 10th December, 2008, at the UN climate change talks in Poznan, Poland, to address issues relating to climate change.
The FANRPAN chair added that this position has been endorsed by the African Union and would be the position Africa will be taking to Copenhagen.
The FANRPAN Regional Dialogue is an annual meeting for senior officials of national governments, representatives of regional economic organisations, farmers’ organisations, agri-business, and development partner agencies.
Setting the pace for this year’s dialogue, which is themed “True Contribution of Agriculture to Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Southern African countries”, the FANRPAN chairman reminded African countries that they all face food insecurity.
The word “research” featured 27 times as he stressed the need for home-grown data collection and analysis, which he says will guide Africa towards lasting solutions to the food crisis.
He lamented that Africa has relied on “externally generated data and externally driven research agenda that does not effectively address our issues” whilst pointing out that Africa needs 4.4 billion annually for Agricultural research and development.
Like a doctor prescribing drugs for his patient after diagnosis, Ngwenya said that “as long as Africans do not collect their own data to tell the African story; (we) will not be able to benchmark ourselves against development targets”.
Since the Sierra Leonean Government has given priority to Agriculture this is a wake up call to identify itself with the African Climate Solution and begin to discuss how as a country they will fit into the African position at the talks in Copenhagen
By Mohamed Fofanah in Maputo