Reshaping Africa’s food security and climate resilience through leveraging Ecosystem based Adaptation Assembly Policy Framework
Offshoots from EBAFOSA Benin 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 Benin National Branch hosted by the Université nationale d’agriculture de Porto-Novo, was launched on 25th November 2016, under the theme “Re-shaping Benin’s food security and climate resilience through EBAFOSA”. The launch event under the leadership of the EBAFOSA Benin officials, attracted over 100 stakeholders representing multiple sectors from government, academia, NGOs, CSOs, individual professionals & citizens, farmers, resident UN agencies with media coverage to enhance awareness across the country.
The overarching message shared by the Benin stakeholders towards EBAFOSA was profound. That under the changing climate, and Africa being the most vulnerable continent, achieving food security was not possible without building climate resilience. And building climate resilience could not happen without strengthening ecosystems. Consequently, EBAFOSA was the timely policy-action framework combining these different areas towards achieving sustainable food security in Africa.
The Minister of Agriculture Hon Delphin Koudande expressed his appreciation for EBAFOSA and hailed it as a timely mechanism to ensure achievement of SDGs and implementation of the Paris Agreement by unlocking the full potential of the agriculture sector given that ecosystems are the common denominator. The Hon Minister further noted the collaborative processes that EBAFOSA espouses as key to implementation of solutions. He pledged to work with EBAFOSA Benin to further strengthen the multi-stakeholder mobilization and partnership building at both policy & operational level and ensure optimization and climate proofing Benin’s food systems.
In addition, Mr. Michel Kouessi a Technocrat in the Ministry of Agriculture further echoed the Minister noting that EBAFOSA objective fits with the Ministry’s strategic & operational plan and that the Ministry will use EBAFOSA Benin to implement its mandate across the country.
The Ministry of Environment represented by the Director of Cabinet Mrs Jeanne Akoha and the Directorate-General for Environment and Climate Prof. Martin Aina noted that EBAFOSA is timely in supporting implementation of Benin NDCs. They particularly noted that NDCs implementation will require action from diverse fronts – policy / operational & across different sectors and involve both state & non-state actors. They concurred that EBAFOSA convening these multiple stakeholders at different levels provides the timely framework to engage everyone to green their activities and implement Benin NDCs. At policy level, they noted the synergy already being fostered between Ministry of Environment & Agriculture as a crucial step by EBAFOSA in implementing NDC priorities. They further noted that ecosystems are foundation of productivity in many productive sectors like agriculture, water etc. Through EBAFOSA, they observed that collaboration between the productive Ministries & the Ministry of Environment will be achieved to safeguard the health of ecosystems hence guarantee long term productivity in such productive sectors, including guaranteeing food & livelihood security.
The Rector of the Université Nationale d’agriculture de Porto-Novo, which is EBAFOSA Benin National Host Secretariat noted that EBAFOSA is very timely because it is addressing a foundational sector to any country’s development – food security. He analogized the core importance of food security to development by noting that just as a newborn baby needs food to develop fully, Africa’s food security needs to be optimized to secure the regions development. He further noted that optimizing Africa’s food security requires the complementary action of diverse stakeholders, and hailed EBAFOSA as providing the requisite policy-action framework to mobilize these stakeholders. He pledged his full support to EBAFOSA Benin.
The UNDP country office was also involved. They noted that EBAFOSA was good for Benin’s socio-economic development and good for the UN Country team in ensuring complementarity and synergy can be achieved between activities of the different UN country offices and with other actors across the country towards ensuring Benin achieves the SDGs.
The UN FAO assistant country representative Mr. Jean Adanguidi, speaking on behalf of the country representative welcome EBAFOSA as a crucial development step in actualizing the SDGs. He noted that Environment and Agriculture converge to guarantee food security and hailed EBAFOSA as the platform that is facilitating this convergence synergistically. He pledged to work with EBAFOSA to maximize impact FAOs interventions. For a start, he highlighted the sorghum value chain initiative where through EBAFOSA; FAO could leverage state & non-state partners to upscale lessons and outcomes. The broad participation in the launch, especially cross-cutting policy level, UN and other development partners, academia, individual professionals & citizens, private sector coupled with media coverage was a crucial achievement for the EBAFOSA Benin 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 Benin and Africa.
With the support of AMCEN and with the launch of EBAFOSA Benin, the country now has a national policy driven niche to domesticate the EBAFOSA 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 Benin 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 Benin activities. This will be underpinned by multi-stakeholder mobilization & registration across sectors in Benin 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 Benin 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 Benin becomes the 14th National branch to be launched.
Congratulations EBAFOSA Benin!