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ACCRA, Ghana (PAMACC News) - The erosion of trust in South Sudan’s public institutions is hindering humanitarian work in the war torn country, a UN agency has said.Hsiao Wei Lee, the senior strategy advisor and head of programme at World Food Programme (WFP), South Sudan, said during the 2019 AGRF in Accra, Ghana, that it is becoming problematic to rebuild the country due to weakened trust among the people and institutions there.According to Lee, military institutions in the country have taken over key decision making activities, there, leaving out its people. Yet the people are the ones mostly affected by sporadic conflicts in South Sudan.“Livelihoods in South Sudan depend highly on free movement but this is being constrained by conflict. People are not able to keep up with coping strategies,” said Lee.Latest research conducted by her agency indicated that over 90 per cent of the population in South Sudan would like chiefs and communal groups to be wholly involved in peace building.This is because even short term conflicts have long term impacts on communities, especially when it comes to food insecurity.Agnes Kalibata, the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said climate change is being blamed for food insecurity in the country, yet it is conflict that is leading to worsening hunger there.According to her, two thirds of the people of South Sudan are going hungry due to conflict, yet there are attractive investment opportunities in the country that can make it prosper.“South Sudan is in a better position compared to about a decade ago. AGRA’s programs there have proved that there are agriculture investment opportunities that can be a game changer for the country,” said Kalibata.Over 400,000 people in the war torn country have died due to conflict since 2013. Two million more live in neighbouring countries as refugees.While this is the case, over 85 percent of the population live below the poverty line, while 60 percent of these depend on humanitarian assistance.But this situation can be improved. All that is needed is to tie peace building with humanitarian aid and development, according to Patrick Diskin, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) deputy mission director in South Sudan.“It is impossible to provide humanitarian assistance where there is no peace. The people also need to be educated and exposed to formal jobs,” said Pierre Vauthier, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) South Sudan country representative.However, Henry Taban, the executive director and chairman of the Rural Action Against Hunger in South Sudan, said the Partnership for Recovery and Resilience (PfRR) programme in South Sudan is helping restore the social fabric in the country.This, he said, is being done through building partnerships with community groups, NGOs and UN agencies.“Building partnerships is the best model to help in the recovery process of South Sudan,” said Taban.
Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation has restated its commitment to scaling proven technologies capable of driving digital growth in African agriculture. Dr Chrys Akem, Programme Coordinator of Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) made this known at the ongoing 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) holding at Accra International Conference Center (AICC), Accra, Ghana. The Forum, which brings together more than 2,500 delegates and high-level dignitaries, including current and former Heads of State and Government; Agriculture and Finance Ministers; eminent leaders of global and regional development institutions; is considering the theme “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.” According to Dr Akem, given unprecedented growth and adoption of digital technologies across the continent, Africa has an opportunity to leapfrog the agricultural transformation trajectory of the past and revolutionize life by overcoming isolation, speeding up change and creating jobs of the future. “But all these cannot happen if we don’t take digital solutions to scale in African agriculture and that is where TAAT comes in,” Dr Akem said. Funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), TAAT’s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA). The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected value chains including rice, aquaculture, maize, cassava, wheat, and livestock. Others are sorghum and millet, orange-fleshed sweet potato and high iron beans. This year’s forum, according to Dr Akem, is paying particular attention to issues relating to TAAT’s mandate especially with regards to leveraging digital tools comprising of precision agriculture, sensor technology, digital financial services, data-driven agriculture, and ICT-enabled extension services to transform agriculture. “TAAT is therefore using its exhibition booth at the forum to showcase how it is deploying proven, digital technologies to transform African agriculture. Some of the success stories on display include decision support tools for farmers, cassava business connector, RiceAdvice, the free Android-based decision-support tool for providing farmers with guideline on field-specific crop management practices for rice to improve rice productivity and increase profitability amidst others. “There is no green revolution in Africa, yet so many technologies exist,” said Jennifer Blanke, Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development.” “With these technologies, Africa should be able to leapfrog, but this can only happen if projects are scaled up,” she said Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of African Green Revolution Alliance (AGRA) echoed similar sentiments while kick-starting a week of discussions. “By using digitalization to leapfrog traditional development pathways, we can make the decade to 2030 the last mile of delivering Africa’s green revolution”. The 2019 AGRF features digital technologies and platforms transforming agriculture across the continent and globe. It seeks to identify and catalyse the enabling policies, programs, and investments needed to further leverage this digital transformation for sustainable African food systems.
OPINION The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land that was released on the heels of its Special Report on 1.5 degree left no one (except climate denials) in doubt of the bleeding planet and the pending planetary crisis or what others call climate breakdown ahead of us. The Report also came with some information on what happened and what needs to be done, why we find ourselves in this situation and why we need to act, when it all started and when we need change, and then how we can address the crisis. While I acknowledge that in the Report’s to-do-list of possible interventions, most of which were not entirely new practices but what have been the norms over the years and are well collated and synthesized in the Report, it goes to say that after all, we are not short of solutions to address the problem. The challenge remains inadequate and in most cases lack of the ‘will power’ be it political and/or moral to do so and in other cases the passing of bulk and finger pointing.It was good that the Report demonstrates how we can go about acting on the proposed solutions and acknowledges that this has to be done “at scale”. Could this then be the ‘game changer’ at least in the meantime? I would in my view think maybe, but the question that readily follows is what then needs to happen to take the actions to ‘a scale’ and where would the resources comes from to undertake the needed actions ‘at scale’? All these brings to mind Article 9, 10 and 11 of the Paris Agreement, the over two decades of goal-post shifting climate negotiations, the avoidance and shying away from the emotive topics such as the Common But differentiated Responsibility/Respective Capacity (CBDR) and Transparency (of actions) Framework in climate negotiations.Acknowledging that everyone and every country has a role to play to a certain degree of responsibility and respective capacity through each countries’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) and also as enshrined in Article 4 of the Paris agreement, it’s now time to draw a clear line between climate rhetoric, pledges, commitments and concrete actions. The best time to match words with actions was yesterday, a better time is today.As the world approaches the red-line where impacts of climate change (not only on land and agriculture but in all other sectors) are already outpacing the needed actions and making adaptation to climate change much harder and costlier, there is a continent that is already at the edge of the Climate Red-line and taking more than its fair share - the Africa continent. In Africa, about 97% of the crop land is rain-fed (climate sensitive) and the agriculture sector employs a labour force of between 60% and 65% contributing over 20% to the the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agriculture featured prominently (about 80%) in the NDCs submitted by African countries as priority areas.The Special Report on Climate change and…
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PAMACC News) - Climate change experts, policy makers, Africa Union, representatives from the United Nations among other players attending the 8th edition of the Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference ( CCDA), in Addis Ababa in Africa have agreed to fast track efforts to meet climate change commitments in line with the Paris Agreement. "It is very evident the different stakeholders in the fight against climate change in Africa have ambitious programs to walk the climate talk. But we are conscious that not much can be achieved in this direction if we work in isolation,’’ noted PACJA executive secretary Mithika Mwenda at the opening of the conference. The different speakers at the conference corroborated the view that there has so far been a lackluster approach to implementing the Paris Agreement necessitating a more results oriented approach.“One of the main objective of this conference is to come up with concrete actions and a common position to better make Africa’s voice heard in the upcoming UN Climate conference in the US,’’ said Linus Mofor, senior environmental affairs officer in charge of energy, infrastructure and climate change at the African Climate Policy Centre of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.The 2019 CCDA 8th conference accordingly is c o-organised by the Economic Commission for Africa of ECA, the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance,PACJA. This year’s conference accordingly is organized under the theme: “Stepping Up Climate Action for a Resilient Africa: a Race We Can and Must Win”.Opening the conference, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Energy Water, Irrigation and Energy, Frehiwot Woldehanna noted with satisfaction that many African countries have submitted ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions to Climate Action – NDCs - showing that African leaders have made strong commitments to tackle climate change while striving to meet their national development agendas. He however remarked that the implementation phase was rather slow with insignificant impacts, calling on the different stakeholders to fast tract the implementation of their actions.He cited the example of Ethiopia, whose electricity system is dominated by hydropower and was one of the first countries to submit its NDC ahead of the Paris Agreement and was one of the first countries to ratify the agreement.He however regretted that despite efforts on the ground, climate change effects like droughts are putting our energy security and reliability at risk, with significant economic and social impacts.‘’Without urgent actions to tackle these climate challenges Africa will not meet the targets of the different sustainable development goals,’’ the minister cautioned.“As countries raise their climate ambition, we must remember the fundamental principle of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which calls for wide cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions,” he said.Experts agree Africa contributes least to global emissions but suffers the most adverse impacts from climate change. Statistics…
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