UN calls on Africa to enhance agriculture in face of climate change

Climate change threatens Africa

4 May 2010 – Warning of climate change’s potential to threaten food security in Africa, a new United Nations paper is urging the continent’s countries to take action to develop agriculture and manage natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Higher temperatures and more unpredictable weather could lower crop yields, up to nearly 7 per cent for maize, a staple crop, according to the publication, entitled “Climate Change Implications for Food Security and Natural Resources Management in Africa.”

The paper, which was presented at a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) regional conference in Luanda, Angola, this week, says that a ‘business as usual’ approach is no longer an option as it will not reduce vulnerability which is already being exacerbated by problems such as endemic poverty and limited access to capital.

Development policies are needed that target vulnerable groups, including women, it says, as well as policies to allow communities to manage and recover better from climate risks.

One-third of Africa’s people live in drought-prone areas, while six of the continent’s ten largest cities are located on the coast. Both of these areas are susceptible to climate change.

The report finds that climate change will affect poorer countries disproportionately, with the poorest people – especially subsistence farmers – in these countries suffering the most.

It calls for adaptation to climate change through sustainable practices, such as the protection of traditional and local foods as well as of agricultural knowledge.

African nations, the publication notes, have increasing potential to benefit from global programmes, including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing developed countries to reduce emissions and meet global warming commitments by investing in carbon reduction projects in developing countries.


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