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FANRPAN attends the COMESA 4th Joint Meeting of the Ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources
Ezulwini Swaziland
18 July 2011 - 22 July 2011



The Ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources in the COMESA Member States met under the theme "Climate Smart Agriculture: Towards Sustainable Agricultural Development" in Ezulwini, Swaziland from 21-22 July 2011 to review progress on the agricultural sector in the region. The Ministerial meeting was preceded by the fourth joint meeting of the Technical Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources which was held from 18-20 July 2010. The purpose of the technical meeting was to review the implementation of the regional agricultural, environmental and natural resources development programmes in the COMESA region and prepare a report for Ministers.

The two-day meeting was attended by delegations from all 19 COMESA member states as well as from co-operating partners such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Africa Conservation Tillage (ACT), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Department for International Development (DfID), Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) and the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). FANRPAN was represented by Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Dr. Sepo Hachingota and Ms Sithembile Ndema.

Speaking at the Official Opening of the meeting, Honourable Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Prime Minister of Swaziland, challenged African states work together to build the continent's capacity to participate in bio-carbon markets. He acknowledged that the COMESA region has been faced with challenges of climate change as well as the negative impact of the global financial crisis. He said the choice of the theme for the meeting "Climate Smart Agriculture: Towards Sustainable Agriculture Development" was a reminder of the undeniable challenge presented by climate change, and the need for innovative national and regional efforts to deal with the challenge.

FANRPAN CEO, Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda in her remarks to the 4th Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, commended COMESA for convening the meeting and the selection of the theme. She urged COMESA member states to push for a win at the UNFCCC COP17, one in which a dedicated work programme for agriculture is identified within the UNFCCC process. She also appealed to COMESA to consider the provision of financial support, and to utilize the services of its sub-regional partners with whom it has signed MOUs. These partners include Farmer Organisations (East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) and Southern Africa Confederation of Agriculture Unions (SACAU)); Association of Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central (ASARECA); Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and FANRPAN.

At the end of the meeting, the Ezulwini Declaration was adopted by the Ministers. The Declaration calls for the COMESA Secretariat to mobilise resources for strengthening capacity of key stakeholder groups in the member states, including women and youth, to effectively participate in the CAADP implementation process and for member States to fully incorporate gender issues in their national agriculture, environment and natural resources development programmes in line with the existing regional and international Gender declarations.

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