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Mithika Mwenda lecture on climate justice at Climate Change and Development Conference, Morocco, 7 October

Africa Can Feed Africa Now: Translating Climate Knowledge into Action

October 7, 2014, Marrakech, Morocco


Ms. Fatima Danton, the Director of Special Projects at UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre;

Colleagues Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols observed;

We are here, once more, to exchange our views and analysis to interrogate the progress we achieved over the past year with regard to climate change responses to our countries and regions and sectors

For the last four years, stakeholders from across African have been meeting in a converge that has solidified our resolve to address climate change, and us as the civil society, we find it very fulfilling that the CCDA space continue to provide an opportunity for us to exchange ideas, interrogate emerging issues and extend our conversations with other stakeholders in a one-stop-shop in the unique CCDA sessions.

The CCDA-IV comes at the heels of the NY Climate Summit, and am sure you know what was achieved in terms of ambitions announcements by world leaders. My sense is that CLIMDEV Africa Programme, which leads the African continent into consolidating our voices and coordinating our actions on climate change, should be having reservations on the true outcome of the much-publicised Leaders Summit.

But to us as the Civil Society, NY was once again a hype just like Copenhagen was in 2009, though this time round, the negligibly augmented the Green Climate with a total pledge of US$1.3 Billion, which falls short of what is required to finance adaptation, leave alone mitigation in Africa.

What inspired us despite the evident disinterest by World Leaders to genuinely address climate change, was the hundreds of thousands of people who populated the streets of Manhattan in a show of might and solidarity never witnessed before in the history of climate processes. That around 400,000 Americans could brave the summer heat to pour into the streets is a strong statement to our leaders that citizens are becoming impatient with their inaction, and are ready to steer the wheel towards climate-free world without them.

That the growth of climate justice movement, even in industrialised countries where citizens remained indifferent to what has been happening at their midst is an indicator that sooner rather than later, they will compel their policy makers to act, and act decisively.

This workshop, thus, will add more humus into the tree of climate justice which is rapidly growing. Other stakeholders who will be joining us later from 8th will be doing the same – forging unities with us to find a solution to problem whose diagnosis we very well know, but because of our selfishness, we have refused to act.

We believe that African countries are doing their best in accordance with the Climate Change Convention to respond to climate change impacts. Such collective unities like CLIMDEV, along our counties individual efforts are demonstrations that we even exceeded what it is for us to do. The CCDA and other spaces provides us opportunities to look back and see where we are. And as the Civil Society, we will work with other stakeholders in such efforts as we believe this the only way to defeat the challenges presented by the growing climate threats.

This workshop thus builds on the theme of this year’s CCDA, which focuses on agriculture with the them: African can feed itself. It will provide an opportunity for us to exchange ideas about how to better support vulnerable men and women and discuss strategies to carry the voice of African peoples forward, especially framing the narrative of climate compatible development. We will also interrogate climate smart agriculture as a subject that has evoked significant interest around the Sector which accounts for the Africa’s largest share of GDP.

More specifically, we will:

1. Share information, analysis and strategies on the progress of UNFCCC and related processes in the countdown to COP20 in Lima and COP21 in Paris.

2. Deliberate upon experiences of adaptation in Africa and the opportunities and challenges of meeting the adaptation needs of vulnerable men and women;

3. Provide farmers and other civil society representatives with the opportunity to exchange ideas on the ways in which researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders can effectively engage with and respond to the needs of farmers and other vulnerable groups

4. Deepen and broaden our understanding, analysis and advocacies on climate change and emerging sectoral issues in international dialogue processes and particularly what climate smart agriculture means for the African continent.

As we are lucky to have Dr. Fatima Denton and getting the ear of CLIMDEV-Africa, we should be sure that our recommendations will not end just here, but will be presented to the main plenary of CCDA-IV.

I thank you all for availing yourself, and hope that our contributions will make a difference in CDA-IV.


The fourth edition of the Conference (CCDA-IV) will be convened in Marrakesh, Morocco from 8-10 October 2014 on the theme: "Africa Can Feed Africa Now: Translating Climate Knowledge into Action". The theme selection is in recognition of 2014 as the year of agriculture. For this reason, the spotlight will be on climate knowledge opportunities that can transform agricultural production systems to feed Africa sustainably.

The Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) conference series is a policy influencing space organized each year under the auspices of the Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme. ClimDev-Africa is a consortium of three leading pan-African institutions i.e. the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The overall objective of the conference is to provide a platform for deliberating on how Africa can utilize climate knowledge to transform agricultural production systems in order to sustainably feed itself and improve the socio-economic wellbeing of its people.

To continue on a trend that commenced during CCDA-III, CCDA-IV will lay focus on impacts of climate change on vulnerable groups and also integrate strong participation of civil society groups, with the aim of perceiving the realities, opportunities and challenges faced at the grass-root level, for which policy makers and researchers in attendance can begin to design interventions. The targeted vulnerable groups include farmers, women, the youth and pastoralists .

CCDA is a unique space where stakeholders come together to discuss the interrelationships between climate change and development, with Africa as the main focus. ClimDev-Africa partners, as well as other stakeholders, share their programmes’ achievements as well as challenges they face on key climate change issues and seek new knowledge on ways to better cope with them in the interest of Africa’s development. Further, it builds a consensus amongst policy makers, academicians, researchers, practitioners and other stakeholders on best approaches of integrating climate change opportunities in policies, strategies, planning and practices in Africa

To realise the overall objective, the following specific objectives will guide deliberations:

  • To understand the role of climate data and information services and climate knowledge in transforming and managing risk and opportunities across the agricultural value chain.

  • To examine the implications of recent climate trends and projections on agricultural production systems and related infrastructure.

  • To better understand the importance of natural capital and ecosystem services in agricultural performance and sustainability.

  • To identify finance and technology challenges and opportunities for climate resilient agriculture value chains.

  • To build on CCDA3 recommendations and the Climate Research for Development (CR4D) climate research frontiers identified in the African Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013).

  • The following subthemes are the pillars that will guide deliberations during the breakout sessions, and for which presenters will be invited to submit papers:

    Sub-theme I: Improving and harnessing climate data, information, and knowledge for agricultural production, water resources management, and food security in Africa.

    Sub-theme II: Agricultural opportunities for renewable energy development in Africa.

    Sub-theme III: Enhancing Africa’s capacity to mobilize, access, and implement climate finance for agricultural development.

    Sub-theme IV: Innovation and technology to enhance agricultural transformation in a changing climate.

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