Morocco hosts Africa coordinating office on Desertification and Drought
The Kingdom of Morocco will host the Africa Regional coordination Unit of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
This will provide the secretariat with vital support services that the Parties to the Convention need to effectively implement the Convention in Africa.
This was announced by Mr. Abdeladim Lhafi, Morocco’s High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight against Desertification and Commissioner of the 22nd session of Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Conference (COP22), currently under way in Marrakesh.
“Africa is experiencing some of the severest droughts in the world that are increasing in frequency and spreading to new areas, and requires a strong Regional Coordination Unit. I am sure that with the help of the Moroccan Authorities, and by drawing on their knowledge and expertise in this subject, we will have a very effective Regional Coordination Unit,” said Ms. Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, when accepting the offer.
Mr. Lhafi said that “in response to the Executive Secretary’s invitation of May 2014 to African governments to submit proposals to host the regional coordination unit in conformity with the appropriate conditions and comparable to other regional coordination units, Morocco presented its offer during the 12th session of the [UNCCD] Conference of the Parties in October 2015 in Ankara. Morocco’s offer was also favorably received following informal consultations during the 15th session of the Committee for the Review of Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15), which was held from 17-20 October 2016 in Nairobi.”
The Convention has five regional implementation annexes that provide a coordinated regional approach both in tackling desertification and drought effectively and in mobilizing all the relevant stakeholders to take actions to implement the Convention.
The Convention’s other regional coordination units are based in Thailand, for the Asia region, Chile, for the Latin America and Caribbean region, Turkey, for the Northern Mediterranean region, and in Germany, for the Central and Eastern European countries.
About the UNCCD
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement on land issues. The Convention works, with partners, to promote good land stewardship. Its 195 Parties aim to combat desertification, mitigate drought and achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN). By achieving LDN, we will secure the health and productivity of the land, mitigate the effects of drought and make people and ecosystems more resilient to climate change.
Experts transform agriculture and nutrition amid climate change
Agricultural experts and leaders from all over the world have developed an ambitious plan to transform global agriculture, as a response to the challenge of climate change and real threats to the production of the planet’s major crops in a hotter world.
This is an outcome of a recent round table interaction held in Nairobi seeking to create a roadmap that will implement the Global Action Plan for Agricultural Diversification (GAPAD)
Leaders and experts who deliberated on the initiative included representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), the Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa and the Australian High Commission, representatives from research and development organisations and a host of journalists drawn from different media organisations.
GEPAD is a declaration agreed upon by world leaders during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 21) in Paris in December 2015.
The initiative had earlier been designed to support the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, and to responds to the Declaration on Agriculture Diversification before it was adopted by the United Nations in September 2015.
“Currently, over 7 billion people depend on just four major crops to supply three-quarters of their food,” said Dr Dennis Rangi, the Director General, Development, at the CAB International. Studies project that the population will reach 9 billion by 2050.
According to Rangi “It is therefore becoming increasingly accepted that in a hotter world, options for agricultural diversification are needed that include a wider range of crops and cropping systems,”
He said that there was need for increased species diversity and more resilient agricultural ecosystems that include new crops for food and non-food uses.
The GAPAD initiative is addressing six of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 2 ‘zero hunger’, 7 ‘affordable and clean energy’, 12 ‘responsible consumption and production’, 13 ‘climate action’, 15 ‘life on land’ and 17’ partnerships for the goals’. Agricultural diversification will also eventually contribute to achieving SDG 1on ‘no poverty’.
According to Ruth Oniang’o, a Kenyan Professor in Food Science and Nutrition, agricultural diversification can improve nutrition, enhance food security and help alleviate poverty amongst other benefits.
The experts have therefore developed GAPAD targets based on each of the eight SDG2 targets but focused on the role of agricultural diversification, and have identified the priority activities needed to achieve these targets.
The next step will involve a small group of eminent, respected and highly qualified individuals who will distill and refine the output of the Nairobi round table, and integrate these with the distilled and refined outputs from the round tables that addressed the other five SDGs being addressed by GAPAD.
The result is expected to be a compelling, credible, inclusive, authoritative and investable global plan for agricultural diversification in a hotter world, which has the support of all the relevant institutions.
It is anticipated that GAPAD will be formally launched in mid-2017. At the same time the bold plan for agricultural diversification will be submitted to the secretariat of UNSDA 2030.
In the meantime, GAPAD will seek to build a network of experts, stakeholders, institutions, governments, regional and international organisations, and distinguished individuals to support and champion this urgent and important initiative.
PAMACC NEWS AGENCY