Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly

One speaker, Mr. Michael O’Brian of Green Peace Africa said “If there was an Olympics Competition for Policy drafting between continents, Africa would win hands down”. All conference participants burst out in laughter, but not because it was funny. The reason is because it is true. We are very good at drafting policy documents, but devoid of action.

The Plenary_2nd Africa EBAFOSC
The Plenary_2nd Africa EBAFOSC
Delegates__2nd Africa EBAFOSC
Delegates__2nd Africa EBAFOSC
The Drafting committee_2nd Africa EBAFOSC
The Drafting committee_2nd Africa EBAFOSC

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like I had informed you earlier, the ‘2nd Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Conference 2015’  ended with adoption of  “Nairobi Action Agenda on Africa”   and a “Constitution of the Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly” symbolized the official start of the “Ecosystem-Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA)”. We hope this time we are going to be a continent of action.

Follow the links below to read the declaration and constitution:

  1. THE NAIROBI ACTION AGENDA ON AFRICA 31072015.pdf
  2. CONSTITUTION – EBAFOSA FINAL 31072015.pdf

Ecosystem Based Agriculture for Food Security Conference 2015

I had the opportunity to attend the ‘2nd Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Cnference 2015’ held at the UN complex Gigiri, Nairobi Kenya on 30th and 31st July 2015. There were over 1200 invited attendees, comprising of dignitaries, professionals, farmers and students.

2nd Africa EbA Conference
2nd Africa EbA Conference

A Major concern of the conference was addressing the continent’s transecting challenge of

hunger and malnutrition in the growing and increasingly young unemployed population, in the face of climate change. The conference intended to showcase how, by investing in its ecosystems and working with nature, Africa can climate proof its food production systems and achieve sustainable agricultural productivity hence enhance food security under the changing climate; and how, by investing in value addition process along the agro-value chain, potential opportunities for employment for the youth are created.

Here are some powerful quotes from some of the speakers;

“Imagine Africa without hunger, poverty, malnutrition, obesity…” Dr. Patrick Kormawa , FAO SRC Eastern & Rep to AU, ECA

“It is not the analysis that we need at this time, we need to go beyond that. We need to take action.” Dr. Cosmas Ochieng, Executive Director, ACTS

”It is within the power of our generation to sort out the challenges of food security in Africa” Dr. Cosmas Ochieng, Executive Director, ACTS

”From a youth perspective? It is our time now. The youth should take over” Youth Delegate from South Africa

”Let us not just speak about what the government can do for us, what the private sector can do for us.. We must be self determining” Alice Kaudia , Environment Secretary. Min. of Environment Kenya

The Drafting Committee_2nd Africa EbA Conference
The Drafting Committee_2nd Africa EbA Conference

Food Security, as defined by World Food Summit is the condition where all people at all times have social, economic and physical access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary and preferential needs for an active and healthy life. Africa has an immense agricultural potential. It is estimated that about 65% of the world’s arable land and 10% of internal renewable fresh water sources are in Africa, yet;

  • About 240 million people (25%) in Africa go to bed hungry and over 200million people suffer the debilitating symptoms of chronic to severe malnutrition. (UN-FAO)
  • 6million tones of grain annually are lost due to degraded ecosystems. These are enough to meet annual calorific needs for 30million people.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa loses food worth up to USD4billion annually (about 23% of field harvests), enough to feed 48million people per annum in Post harvest losses (PHLs) due to inadequate financial and structural resources for proper harvesting, storage and transportation, as well as unfavorable climatic conditions for food storage. (UN FAO)
  • Africa’s annual food import bill is over USD35 billion. Imports exceed exports by 30%.
  • In Africa, a 10% increase in crop yields translates to approximately a 7% reduction in poverty, according to the World Bank.

Very interesting facts there. The road to Food Security in Africa, it is believed, lies with the adoption of the Ecosystem based Adaptation driven Agricultural strategies that aim not only at maintaining but also improving the fertility and productivity of ecosystems which often include traditional practices such as conservation agriculture, crop rotation, inter-cropping and biological pest control.

The delegates summarized the conference with strong resolutions to achieve Food Security in Africa, adopting the “Nairobi Action Agenda on Africa’s Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security” declaration. The chief guest  H.E. Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the Africa Union Commission closed the conference with a strong message; ”Together we can build the Africa we want”.

Rusty Radiator Awards, 2014 – SAIH

SAIH – The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund are at it again at rustyradiator.com 🙂

In their video, did you recognize any familiar stereotypes about how the African continent tends to be portrayed, and the image of the “white hero” and the “exotic other”?

Hunger and poverty is ugly, and it calls for action. However, they argue, that we need to create engagement built on knowledge, not stereotypes. We need to change the way fundraising campaigns are communicating issues of poverty and development. This is why they are awarding creative fundraising campaigns with the Golden Radiator Award, and stereotypical campaigns with the Rusty Radiator Award. An international jury has nominated seven videos, and the winners are chosen through an internet poll. What are you waiting for? Go and vote now.

Not sure how to vote? Read a little  first to get you in the mood.

Gullies of Poverty; Baringo and Kerio valleys

Soil erosion, environmental degradation, desertification, climate change all sound synonymous. But are they? Not really, but they are all parasites that feed almost the same way.

Exposed roots due to extensive erosion
Exposed roots due to extensive erosion

I’ll let pictures speak for Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties. Degradation there, and particularly soil erosion, is at massive scales. The rills have turned into death traps for livestock and the larger gullies highways for the nutrient rich top soil that ends up in the Kerio River and the Lake Kamnarok. Poverty level continues to rise in Kerio Valley.

Deep gullies are highways to the Rivers and Lakes
Deep gullies are highways to the Rivers and Lakes

 

 

The results? Siltation and the subsequent effects. As we speak the lake is becoming smaller, and a less favorite spot for the wildlife (elephants especially) that loved to quench their thirst there for fear of getting stuck in the muddy shores.

 

High siltation in Kerio River
High siltation in Kerio River

Is hope really lost here? Is this place damaged beyond repair? Really? The degradation has been going on for years, but no one seems to notice. I see people run to rehabilitate other places that aren’t really bad and I’m left wondering why they keep neglecting this. UNCCD has it’s focus on prevention of land degradation and desertification. World Agroforestry Center is a close partner. We have the Vetiver Network in our midst. The UNEP headquarters is in our city? Let us pool resources and convert this place into one breathtaking sight of nature.

THE GREEN STORE CHALLENGE FELLOWSHIP

WHAT’S THE CHALLENGE ABOUT?

The goal of this DO School Challenge is for the selected Fellows to create a Green Store prototype in ten weeks.
This prototype must be sustainable in terms of materials, construction, energy, operation and other aspects and will be realized in Germany
. It should be scalable to H&M stores worldwide, be economically beneficial and make the idea of sustainability tangible for customers and employees.

 

By answering to the Challenge, you will have learned hands-on how to turn an idea into action during the ten-week Incubation Phase. This process is supported by participation in Challenge Lab, a course which offers the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to successfully solve the Challenge.

Successful candidates may come from, but are not restricted to the fields of engineering, architecture, fashion and design, as well as environmental activism, retail and human resource management.

 

While solving the Challenge, you work on turning your own venture idea into a viable social venture plan which will be ready for implementation during the following ten-month Implementation Phase.

WHAT’S THE PROGRAM ABOUT?

The DO School offers offers a unique one-year fellowship program for emerging social entrepreneurs who look for training, mentoring and empowerment to start their own ventures. Selected Fellows receive a full scholarship covering the tuition fee for the year.

From September 2013 to January 2014 the DO School invites applications from motivated individuals aged 18 to 28 from around the world to participate in the DO School Green Store Challenge. Successful applicants will show exceptional motivation to contribute to solving the Challenge and developing and starting their own social venture.

Selected Fellows will spend the first ten weeks of their one-year program on the DO School campus in Hamburg from April to June 2014, and the following ten months in their home countries implementing their own ventures.

THE DO SCHOOL

The DO School is an innovative educational institution. We offer a unique one-year program enabling talented emerging social entrepreneurs to launch their own innovative and sustainable ventures. The program allows its participants – our Fellows – to learn from passionate peers, engage with current leaders and experts, and create change by implementing their social start-ups in their home countries.

Learn more about the DO School here.

WEBSITE

Please click here to find out more about the Green Store Challenge  on our website and to apply!