Reshaping Africa’s food security and climate resilience through leveraging Ecosystem based Adaptation Assembly Policy Framework
Offshoots from EBAFOSA Gambia National Branch Launch
Following the 6th Special Session of the Africa Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) supported the establishment of the Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), its’ Constitution and the outcomes of the process leading to the establishment of the Assembly, as the inclusive pan-African policy framework and implementation platform that brings together key stakeholders and actors along the entire ecosystem-based adaptation-driven agriculture value-chain
With this highest policy recognition by AMCEN countries have a big opportunity to build on the call for these partnerships to implement their INDCs/NDCs as well as ensuring Adaptation Mitigation projects are jointly implemented towards a transition to low-emissions and climate resilient development in order to realize 2030 Agenda for the SDGs and Africa’s Agenda 2063
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 mutual partnership to bridge gaps in policy processes, techniques, technology, markets, commercialization, and finance and achieve implementation.
It is against this backdrop that the Gambia National Branch hosted by the World Vision Gambia, was launched on 7th October 2016, under the theme “Re-shaping Gambia’s food security and climate resilience through EBAFOSA”. The launch event under the leadership of the EBAFOSA Gambia officials, and the government, academia, the private sector, and the non-governmental, attracted over 200 stakeholders representing multiple sectors from government, academia, NGOs, CSOs, individual professionals & citizens, farmers, resident UN agencies with strong media coverage to enhance awareness across the country.
The EBAFOSA Gambia was officially launched by the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural resources. In his statement the Hon Minister Pa Ousman Jarju applauded EBAFOSA noting that it is a bridge, providing the much needed platform to bridge both policy, ministerial level and operational level siloes toward ensuring coherent policies and actions towards climate proofing food systems through tested, accessible EBA approaches by bringing EBA to the mainstream. The honorable Minister noted that addressing food security/agriculture, environment and economic development are nexus priorities of the Gambia, applauding EBAFOSA as being timely. He noted that the innovativeness of EBAFOSA in bringing various actors together to complement and synergize each other toward a common end is critical and puts everyone on the driving seat towards realizing the National agenda and Regional development agenda as encapsulated in the AU Agenda 2063 and SDGs. He also applauded the value chain approach as crucial to ensuring the nexus priorities are achieved. As an example, the Minister noted the linkage of agro-produce to the tourism sector, a key economic sector in the Gambia. The minister noted that while the country depends on imported food, weaning it from imports presents a market for local farmers and through EBAFOSA, this means farmers using EBA get bigger market. This then translates to the country saving on its foreign exchange reserves, creates income and job opportunities locally along the entire agro-value chain, while incentivizing up scaled use of EBA, which builds climate resilience and enhances ecosystems. This is a triple win for the nexus priorities of the Gambia – food security, economic growth and combating climate change. He went further noting the need for standardization of EBA produce to enhance marketability both locally and for export. He thanked the UN Environment for supporting this timely initiative and pledged his support, noting that he will be EBAFOSA’s ambassador both nationally and regionally across the continent.
The Ministry of Agriculture,Echoing the Environment Minster, he noted that EBAFOSA represented a bridge between production, consumption, climate resilience and poverty reduction, key metrics for both the agriculture ministry and national development. He added that EBAFOSA is aligned with the Gambia’s agriculture development strategy as well as national development agenda and will be a priority implementation framework for his ministry towards ensuring meaningful actualization of the national priorities and the broader AU Agenda 2063 and SDGs. He gave the example of the urban agriculture initiative which is being run by his ministry to ensure job creation for the youth as one that will highly benefit from the inclusive EBAFOSA partnerships to achieve meaningful implementation and impacts.
The UN resident coordinator and entire country team comprising UNDP, UN FAO and WFP also participated in the launch. They collectively noted that the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is being finalized and EBAFOSA provides an opportunity to bring everyone together towards ensuring effective implementation of the UNDAF and further the delivery as “one UN” in countries. They noted that 70% of the work is significantly on environment and EBAFOSA is very timely to ensure effective implementation. They pledged their support for EBAFOSA and mainstream it as implementation framework in UN activities in the country.
Individually, the UNRC noted the innovativeness of EBAFOSA being in its inclusive mutual partnerships and noted that it was a practical initiative to actualize the “delivery as one UN in countries” principle. A synergizing of UN actions to enhance coherent delivery in countries.
The UN FAO noted that utilizing the private sector is a key priority of their activities and noted the added value of EBAFOSA to this end. He pledged to leverage and work with EBAFOSA to enhance private sector actors in agro-value chains.
The secretariat liaison, who is the executive director of the World Vision Gambia noted that the fit between government nexus priorities of food security/agriculture, environment and economic development and EBAFOSA focus of policy and operational solutions to optimize food systems for food & livelihood security makes EBAFOSA a formidable partner of government to implement its policies and pledged EBAFOSA will not disappoint.
Private sector actors were also represented. Speaking, Mr. Mamadou Ceesay, the Managing Director of the Horticultural Enterprise of the Gambia, an umbrella body that represents various agro-value chain actors, both on-farm production and post-farm gate value addition in fruit processing, juice manufacture etc., noted the EBAFOSA value added to enhance both their operating profitability and climate compliance. For instance, he noted that small scale pilots of switching from diesel power to solar powered water pumps had saved them tremendous operating costs and increased profitability of members. He noted that through EBAFOSA they will mobilize for enabling policies and investments to enhance replicability across the country hence make use of solar pumps the norm across the country. In addition to profitability, this will also contribute to enhanced climate compliance. He also noted the need to standardize their products and noted that the inclusivity of EBAFOSA, provides them an opportunity to engage and mobilize adequate partnerships with both government and non-state actors and actualize appropriate standards and include them as part of their business chain.
On academia, the Sahel Academy, which focuses on livestock development, was also engaged. They applauded the value chain approach of EBAFOSA, as providing opportunities for increased collaboration with crop production and participation of livestock industry in both climate & environmental action, and optimizing agro-value chains, through both vertical and horizontal value chains
For instance, while livestock production is associated with ecosystems degradation, linking with crop-production provides an opportunity to ensure fodder and other crop waste can be re-used for livestock production hence reduce damage to ecosystems. On the other side, livestock would provide manure which is a crucial climate coping mechanism by enhancing ecosystems productivity by improving soil health. EBAFOSA provides the mechanism to ensure such inter-linkages are integrated at policy and ground operational level. They pledged their support for EBAFOSA.
The broad participation in the launch, especially cross-cutting policy level, UN and other development partners, academia, individual professionals & citizens, private sector coupled with significant media coverage was a crucial achievement for the EBAFOSA Gambia branch. This in ensuring the launch catalyzes progress in the EBAFOSA stakeholder promotion & mobilization and strategic partnership building, the crucial tenets towards EBAFOSA’s mandate of building targeted policy & action solutions for optimized, climate resilient food systems in the Gambia and Africa.
With the support of AMCEN and with the launch of EBAFOSA Gambia, the country squarely has a national policy driven niche for its currently rolled out Assembly and national branches of EBAFOSA to domesticate the EBFOSA branches at national level. The uptake into policy will ensure enhanced EBA uptake and integration into national plans, development processes and decision making frameworks in countries easily gain its way.
As next steps, with guidance from the continental secretariat hosted by the UN Environment and partners, EBAFOSA Gambia will embark on activities to ensure the promotional aspects and awareness created by the launch event are leveraged to catalyze expedited progress in implementing the EBAFOSA roll-out strategies. A follow up of new contacts from policy level, private sector, academia, NGOs, and resident UN agencies and other International / intergovernmental organizations etc., established at the launch event will be made to ensure their registration and involvement in EBAFOSA Gambia activities. This will be underpinned by multi-stakeholder mobilization & registration across sectors in Gambia and fomenting of mutual multi-level, cross-sectorial partnerships towards bridging implementation gaps at both policy and operational level. Through volunteerism, regional and sectorial focal persons will be recruited to lead in these activities as illustrated in the EBAFOSA Phase two rollout Strategy and Implementation Plan. The EBAFOSA Gambia national branch will develop an action plan based on this strategy, with timelines and responsible persons through guidance from the continental secretariat to proceed with activities.
EBAFOSA Gambia becomes the 12th National branch to be launched.
Congratulations EBAFOSA the Gambia!