Reshaping Africa’s food security and climate resilience through leveraging Ecosystem based Adaptation Assembly Policy Framework
Offshoots from EBAFOSA Zambia National Branch Launch
Following the 2nd Africa EBA for food security conference convened on 30-31 July 2015 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) Africa Centre for Technology (ACTS) and other partners where over 1200 delegates from all across Africa adopted the Nairobi Action Agenda and the Constitution of the Ecosystems Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), the instruments establishing the Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly, the EBAFOSA Zambia was the first National Branch launched. EBAFOSA is an inclusive pan-African policy framework and implementation platform to ensure EBA driven agriculture and its value-chains, especially clean energy access to catalyze rural agro-industrialization, enhanced access to markets and enhanced access to affordable agro-financing, are up-scaled to being the norm in policy and practice across the entire continent and to ensure that grandeur development blueprints, especially Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, COP21 outcomes and the AU Agenda 2063 are adequately domesticated and implemented, - all these through a country driven process. The aim is to achieve 5 distinct benefits in countries, and ultimately across Africa – food & nutritional security, climate adaptation, enhanced ecosystems capacity and creation of income and job opportunities.
Article 7 of the EBAFOSA constitution establishes the structure of EBAFOSA and Country branches are the critical component where impactful activities are undertaken in a country led process. Country branches register local, continental and global actors within the country and facilitate their interactions and partnership to achieve implementation.
It is against this backdrop that the Zambia National Branch hosted by the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI) was launched at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) under the theme “Re-shaping Zambia food security through EBAFOSA”. The launch event under the leadership of the EBAFOSA Zambia officials, led by the EBAFOSA Zambia president, the bureau and the secretariat, and sponsored materially and in kind by stakeholders from the branch, the government, the private sector both large and small to medium enterprises, and the non-governmental, including ZARI, Hivos, Pelum, OPPAZ, Sylva group of companies among others attracted over 300 delegates from University of Zambia, Students from Copperbelt university, Lusaka University, Mulunushi University, Sylva university, Small scale farmers, representatives from NGOs, seed companies, Zambia National Services, Entrepreneurs and some Government departments across the country. The Guest of Honour at the launch was the Deputy-Minister of Agriculture who represented the Minister of Agriculture and indeed the endorsement of EBAFOSA by the government of Zambia. In his remarks, the Minister noted that farmers can protect their agriculture from the deleterious effects of climate change through Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) techniques that would ensure food and nutritional security, livelihood security and enhanced community climate resilience.
The minister said a climate-proof agriculture sector based on EbA techniques that work with nature and was augmented by linkages to commercial value chains would unlock income opportunities in the agro-value chain.
He said agriculture has the potential to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth in the country if its value chain was holistically optimized.
He said agriculture could create jobs for many of the unemployed 4 million plus youth, while simultaneously feeding the nation and the continent.
In appreciating the inclusive, cross-cutting partnerships for policy and action solutions that are the main thrust of EBAFOSA, the minister advised that the culture of taking food and livelihood security in silos and stand-alone initiatives and policies needed re-shaping. In appreciating the urgent need to prioritize ecosystems health as the foundation of agro-productivity, the minister cautioned against the dangers of deforestation which he said had remained a major concern in the country. He took cognizance on behalf of the Government, of the EBAFOSA Zambia leadership, that Zambia is the first country in Africa to launch their branch noting that as a nation, Zambia has scored a first in Africa by taking the lead in the formation of a national branch amid the 35 countries that are yet to launch.
The official launch was symbolized by cutting of balloons amidst splendor and gusto from the drama group’s traditional songs and dances.
The launch has provided 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.
Congratulations EBAFOSA Zambia!