FAO, Partners Launch 3 New Initiatives at COP22

FAO, Partners Launch 3 New Initiatives at COP22

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Partners, including The Kingdom of Morocco and the Food and Agricutural Organization (FAO) have stepped up climate action in agriculture with the launched of three new initiatives: Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA), Global Framework on Water Security and the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.

Launched at the Agriculture and Food Security Action Event last Wednesday during the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech (COP22), the initiatives were designed to assist small-scale farmers into building their adaptive capacities, to help urban citizens in dealing with the impacts of climate change and to support countries in fulfilling their climate commitments.

The Action Event is part of the Global Climate Action Agenda led by France and Morocco, which aims to boost concerted efforts by the public and private sectors to cut emissions rapidly, help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build a sustainable future.

Most countries consider agriculture among their adaptation or mitigation priorities to help limit global temperature rise, in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement. 95 percent of all countries include the sector in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Practices such as the use of nitrogen-efficient and heat-tolerant crop varieties, improved water harvesting, zero-tillage and sustainable soil management lead to improvements in food security as well as resilience to climate change, according to UNFCCC.

“This is an initiative which seeks to act as a voice for African agriculture in the climate arena,” said Aziz Akhannouch, minister for Agriculture and Fishery of Morocco.

“The AAA initiative aims to build the resilience of farmers in Africa by promoting sustainable soil management, better water management and risk management,” added Mohamed Badraoui, chair of the Scientific Committee of the AAA Initiative.

Aligned with the African Adaptation Initiative (“AAI”), the AAA already has the active support of 28 African countries, several national and private sector entities as well as of the FAO.

“In many countries, adapting to climate change and finding ways to ensure food security and nutrition are part of the same challenge,” said FAO director general, José Graziano da Silva, noting that the widespread adoption of climate-resilient practices would boost productivity and farmers’ incomes and lower food prices.

Maria Helena Semedo, FAO deputy director general, said: “Higher temperatures, increasing variability of rainfall, more frequent droughts and floods, and sea level rise are all disrupting the amount of water available for crops, livestock, forests and fisheries, seriously affecting livelihoods.”

To speed up and scale up climate action, the third new initiative discussed at the Agriculture and Food Security Action Event involves public participation in urban and peri-urban areas. Introduced last year, the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP) calls for sustainable food systems that foster the accessibility of healthy food to urban citizens, biodiversity protection and food waste reduction. The pact was signed by the mayors of 130 cities around the world.

by Bekai Njie in Marrakech, Morocco