It is not always the lack of solutions but rather a lack of partnerships to bridge gaps and ensure proven solutions are implemented at scale that perpetuates the policy-implementation action gap. Bridging these gaps requires partnerships to blend the strengths of cross-cutting stakeholders from government, private sector, researchers & academia, non-governmental, as implied in goal 17 of the SDGs. The lack of these partnerships constitutes a significant aspect of the problem.
It is against this backdrop that the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA) is setup to address these challenges simultaneously by leveraging cross-cutting partnerships between stakeholder groups – from government, private sector, academia, non-governmental at country and continental levels. EBAFOSA seeks to address food insecurity and ecosystems degradation in Africa in a transformative and significant way that entrenches Ecosystems Based Adaptation approaches (EBA) to agriculture to ensure not only food security but also nutritional security, build climate change resilience, enhance ecosystem productivity and combat poverty by creating additional income opportunities through linking on farm ecological approaches to supply and demand side value chains especially enhanced market access, affordable agriculture financing, and processing using clean energy etc. It also seeks to integrate this holistic approach to relevant agro and other policies for sustainability and so the entire agro-value chain is optimized
To ensure effective update and rollout, country national branches are cells of innovation and uptake is happening already in 25 African countries where national branches have been set up. To officialize these branches the national launches are essential to ensure country ownership.
This Policy framework and an implementation platform premised on building partnerships for effective implementation actions as implied in SDG17 was launched last Friday 11th March in Cameroon coming after similar launch in Zambia to be followed by another in Nigeria.
As an EBAFOSA national processes, the national launch was organized using a national entry point, the EBAFOSA National Branch secretariat as the host and working closely with the National government especially Ministries crucial to optimizing agro-value chains i.e. of Environment, Agriculture, Finance, Industrialization etc., and also involved the UNDP country office towards actualizing the “delivery as one UN in countries”. The engagement of cross-cutting actors from government / public sector institutions & policy makers, private sector, academia & research, UN partners, representatives of international / bilateral / intergovernmental bodies, Civil society, NGOs, and individual persons in a country lays the ground work to forge mutual partnerships towards achieving EBA policy integration and concrete implementation for food security, job creation, climate adaptation, and ecosystems enhancement. These partnerships for policy & implementation target optimizing agro-value chains using EBA, prioritizing clean energy application for agro-processing & value addition and enhancing access to affordable agro-value chain financing. EBAFOSA also seeks to support country governments in domesticating high level continental and global declarations on food security, climate change, sustainable development, and poverty reduction, primarily the AU Agenda 2063, COP21 outcomes and the SDGs & Agenda 2030 on sustainable development. All this through country driven processes coordinated across the continent.
The launch of the EBAFOSA Cameroon National Branch orchestrated an innovative idea of entrenching into policy and legislation, a "NATIONAL DAY OF RESILIENCE AND FOOD SECURITY" to coincide with their branch launch date. This will be commemorated annually, on the date of their branch launch. The day will have the specific aim of bringing to the fore, the critical & interrelated challenges of food insecurity, degradation of ecosystems, climate change, poverty & unemployment, and how an optimized agro-sector can be a potential "silver bullet" solution to these nexus challenges.
Cumulatively this day is to be a reminder to all country stakeholders - from government & policy makers, to private sector, academia & researchers, non-governmental partners, international development partners, of the necessity and importance of an optimized agro-sector leveraging EBA to achieving not only food & nutritional security, but income generation, job creation & combating poverty, combating climate change, and enhancing health of ecosystems towards realizing environmentally sustainable, economically inclusive growth in Africa
The buildup of national and regional interest and the mobilization of the national governments, civil societies, together with other stakeholders following the national branch launch provide the type of enabling environment for country and regional EBAFOSA implementation, i.e. partnership building among cross-cutting stakeholders for policy and implementation. The launch is also an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum generated by the interest and heightened awareness on EBAFOSA to mobilize country stakeholders to expedite the stakeholder mobilization and partnership building, critical activities in the EBAFOSA strategy towards actualizing policy and implementation actions for optimizing agro-value chains. When fully optimized, Africa’s agro-value chains can ensure not only food security, but build climate resilience, enhance ecosystem capacity and create additional income opportunities and millions of jobs for youth in the continent.