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Africa expects deal on agriculture at COP17
1 December 2011
Ben Rootman
Junxion Communications


African negotiators at the COP17 UN climate change conference in Durban must push for a binding and responsible climate deal on agriculture.

"They should secure a deal that will promote food security despite the realities of climate change," says Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network Chief Executive Officer, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda.

FANRPAN is the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, an Africa-wide organisation advocating for sound agriculture. It also advocates for climate-smart agriculture which includes sustainable increases in productivity; strengthened resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems and efforts to mitigate climate change by using proven techniques such as agro-forestry, improved grazing, zero tillage and intercropping.

"No agriculture, no deal - FANRPAN's call at COP17 - will ensure that food insecurity no longer causes havoc on the African continent. We are grateful that COP17 is taking place in Africa. We want African negotiators to strike a responsible, binding climate change deal on agriculture.

"Should they fail to clinch such a deal, civil society will say any deal that does not have agriculture as a stand-alone priority sector with a dedicated work programme is a betrayal to the farming sector and anybody who needs food to survive."

Sibanda said in Durban today that African political leaders should hold those who are negotiating on behalf of the continent accountable.

"Now is the time for previous commitments made in Cancun to be sealed. Financial commitments should also be cemented to ensure that agricultural projects do not remain pipedreams but become realistic with measurable outputs. We should not keep on moving the goalposts - COP17 should produce concrete outputs that are binding to everyone."

"Whilst our call - no agriculture, no deal - is not a protest call, it illustrates how serious we are about a pressing situation. We don't embark on protest campaigns, but we advocate for evidence based dialogue. Agriculture is the backbone of Africa's economy and it needs a secure climate, so we will use all our power to ensure that the sector is put on the centre stage at COP17, and not through an exit door. I am also confident that Africa is well prepared for this conference and will sing from the same hymn sheet. As a matter of fact, Africa will use COP17 to push for a better global policy environment, improved agricultural productivity and land use," said Sibanda.

FANRPAN will play a leading role in partnership with South Africa's Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research programme for Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation and a host of international organisations to host Agriculture and Rural development Day as a side event of COP17 on Saturday, 3 December at the Durban University of Technology.

COP17 is the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which started on 28 November until 9 December in Durban.

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