Reshaping Africa’s food security and climate resilience through leveraging Ecosystem based Adaptation Assembly Policy Framework
Offshoots from EBAFOSA Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone National Branch hosted by the Sierra Leone Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition, was launched on 27th October 2016, under the theme “Re-shaping Sierra Leone’s food security and climate resilience through EBAFOSA”. The launch event under the leadership of the EBAFOSA Sierra Leone officials, and the government, academia, resident UN Agencies, 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 overarching message shared by the Sierra Leonean stakeholders towards EBAFOSA was simple, yet profound. That EBAFOSA is the timely policy-action framework to ensure commitment can be backed by tangible action, the missing link in not only Sierra Leone but Africa’s development undertaking. EBAFOSA was hailed as a timely mechanism to ensure progression from commitment to implementation of the Paris agreement and the Agenda 2030. The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food security Hon Amb. Prof Monty P Jones noted that the EBAFOSA model of convening mutual partnerships among both state and non-state actors is the only way to upscale the contextual, workable solutions in the continent and achieve the SDGs. The honorable minister noted for example workable technologies being applied in isolation could be harmonized for coordinated application towards a common aim and result in bigger impacts.
The honorable minister further noted the need for broad scale mindset change among both state and non-state actors towards addressing challenges of food & livelihood security and the EBAFOSA inclusive approach involving both state and non-state actors is addressing this need.
The EBAFOSA Sierra Leone was officially chaired by the Deputy Minister of Lands, Country Planning & Environment Hon Mamoud Tarawalie. In his remarks, the Minister noted that the EBAFOSA strategic approach is already a government priority hence EBAFOSA fits within the government programme and is country owned. He noted that achieving objectives of government policy needs collaboration between both state and non-state actors and pledged government support for EBAFOSA as it bridges this gap in supporting government achieve its climate change, environmental and food & livelihood security objectives. He noted that positioning environment and climate action as a solution to socio-economic development as EBAFOSA is doing is laudable and pledged his ministry’s full support for EBAFOSA.
The minister further added that EBAFOSA is responding to global and continental challenges and in the process providing solutions at the country level and should be embraced by all.
The UN country team was fully involved. The UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative Mr Sunil Saigal appreciated the EBAFOSA concept of linking sustainable agriculture with clean energy for complementarity and optimized outcomes as crucial for progress in combating climate change and achieving socio-economic development. He also noted the EBAFOSA inclusivity of bringing state and non-state actors including resident UN agency in the principle of “one UN” as the innovative approach to ensure progress from cliché statements to practicality. He noted the urgent need to engage private sector in development matters not just as a “donor” but as a “partner” engaging in a business venture to get a return as the way to sustainably engage private sector in climate action. He noted that private sector innovates and need labour and markets and through inclusive mutual partnerships on EBAFOSA, this can be realized. He further added that EBAFOSA is a timely framework to convert commitments of the Paris agreement and Agenda 2030 into tangible results towards realization. He pledged the UN Country office’s support for EBAFOSA including technical and financial support to ensure EBAFOSA Sierra Leone provides the framework to deliver their climate change and food security programmes.
On her part, the UN FAO country representative Mrs Nyabenyi Tito Tipo noted that harmonizing policy across countries to address shared challenges and contextualizing implementation to country is crucial for rapid progress in addressing climate and food security challenges shared across the continent. She applauded the timeliness of EBAFOSA in rallying this harmonization. She further noted the theme in the upcoming COP22 is on implementation noting EBAFOSA launch in time to support Sierra Leone in implementing the Paris agreement. She further noted UN FAO will integrate EBAFOSA in implementing its Climate Smart Agriculture initiative. She further noted the EBAFOSA mandate to build climate resilient food systems resonates positively with implementing the theme of this year’s World Food Day – “Climate is changing and Food & Agriculture must Change”. She pledged UN FAO support for EBAFOSA activities in climate proofing food systems in Sierra Leone.
On his part, the WFP country representative Mr Peter Scott-Bowden applauded the integrated EBAFOSA approach as crucial to actualizing effective policy formulation and implementation. He therefore noted that EBAFOSA will be the effective mechanism by which findings of their latest report – State of Food Security in Sierra Leone – can be decentralized for implementation across the entire country. He noted that EBAFOSA provides the practical mechanism to localize action plans and engage multiple stakeholders in implementation and monitoring to achieve effective implementation. He further added that the Paris agreement needs to become reality on the ground at both national and subnational levels and EBAFOSA offers the operational mechanism.
It is worth noting that in promoting actualization of with the “delivery as one UN in countries” principle, the UN country team sponsored specific aspects of the launch. This was indeed commendable. Going forward, increased collaboration among resident UN agencies towards shared objectives under the Agenda 2030 will be enhanced through the EBAFOSA inclusive partnerships at both policy and operational level.
The Environmental Protection Agency of Sierra Leone also participated. They noted that the multi-faceted approach of EBAFOSA is timely in building resilience on multiple fronts – bio-physical as well as socio-economic considering that poverty is a significant driver of vulnerability. They added that considering that Sierra Leone is rated the 2nd most vulnerable country in Africa and among most vulnerable globally, the success of EBAFOSA is indeed critical to development in Sierra Leone. They hailed the inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborative approach of EBAFOSA as a major gap that needs to be bridged to achieve effective implementation of Paris agreement and the Agenda 2030 and also as the only mechanism to leverage talents across the board for effective implementation. The EPA further added that EBAFOSA coming soon after Sierra Leone has ratified the Paris agreement is timely to ensure implementation is decentralized to both national & sub-national levels and involves both state and non-state actors to ensure country-driven implementation. They further hailed volunteerism as innovative and key aspect to actualize development in the continent noting that those who don’t volunteer for good courses automatically volunteer for counter-productivity in Africa. They concluded by noting that environment health and food security are intrinsically linked and mutually inclusive given that environment underpins food productivity. EPA welcomed EBAFOSA as the timely platform to decentralize environmental solutions to local level, the mandate of EPA.
The Director, National Protected Area Authority of Sierra Leone (NPAA), a government institution responsible for the sustainable management and use of Sierra Leone’s bio-diversity resources also welcomed the launch of EBAFOSA noting that it will complement government effort in rolling out its biodiversity management agenda. He pledges NPAA support for EBAFOSA activities and actions noting that “EBAFOSA has a seat in NPAA”.
The National Secretariat, the Sierra Leone Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition which is a National NGO currently working on a government initiative funded by the UN FAO on scaling up nutrition also gave remarks. The secretariat liaison noted that while Sierra Leone imports food worth $150million annually, over 60% of the countries arable land remains unutilized. Through EBAFOSA, he noted that local ago-productivity will be sustainably enhanced through sustainably utilizing Sierra Leone’s arable land to ensure the country produces adequate food to reverse loss of its foreign reserves through limiting avoidable import expenditures.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food security Hon Marie Marilyn Jalloh officially launched EBAFOSA Sierra Leone. The Hon Deputy Minister echoing earlier remarks by the minister noted that EBAFOSA provides the needed policy-action platform to drive the agenda of government collectively hence achieve optimal results. She further added that the linkage of the entire agro-value chain and its complementarity with clean energy is what has been missing in optimizing agro-productivity in Sierra Leone. The minister further added that Sierra Leone will add to its record of being the happiest country in the planet by fully supporting EBAFOSA. The Deputy Minister pledged the government’s unflagging support for EBAFOSA and added that she will be EBAFOSA ambassador in the country and across Africa. The military and police as critical elements of Sierra Leones development were also represented at the launch.
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 Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone and Africa.
With the support of AMCEN and with the launch of EBAFOSA Sierra Leone, the country now has a national policy driven niche to domesticate the EBFOSA at national level. This will enhance effective policy uptake to ensure enhanced EBA uptake and integration into national plans, development processes and decision making frameworks in the country.
As next steps, with guidance from the continental secretariat hosted by the UN Environment and partners, EBAFOSA Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone activities. This will be underpinned by multi-stakeholder mobilization & registration across sectors in Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone becomes the 13th National branch to be launched.
Congratulations EBAFOSA Sierra Leone!