Africa’s Profound Disappointment in Stalled COP 28 Agriculture Negotiations
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), which represents 37 African networks and organisations representing 200 million Africans, applauds the first actions taken at COP 28. The agreement on the operationalization of the loss and damage deal, the signing of the ‘Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action’ by 134 world leaders, as well as the COP 28 Presidency’s focus on food systems transformation, with all its drawbacks, and the global agreement to reduce methane production by 30% by 2030, are among the notable outcomes.
However, AFSA expresses profound disappointment and concern regarding the stalled negotiations on the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on Agriculture and Food Security (SSJW). Despite the critical importance of these issues, the SSJW negotiations at COP 28 have reached a stalemate, continuing the lack of progress witnessed at the Subsidiary Body SB58 meeting in Bonn in June.
This deadlock is further compounded by the fact that the negotiations concluded with no substantive agreements. The postponement of negotiations until June 2024 signals a worrying delay in addressing the urgent climate challenges facing African agriculture, critically undermining the potential for meaningful climate action in a sector integral to Africa’s survival and resilience.
Our concern deepens with the recent draft of the Global Stocktake, which alarmingly omits actions on food systems transformation. This significant oversight undermines the essential role of agriculture in both climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, sidelining a key element in the fight against climate change.
Given these circumstances, AFSA strongly urges:
Immediate Action on the SSJW Impasse: Break the deadlock in the SSJW negotiations. We call for renewed commitment and pragmatic dialogue to establish a clear and actionable roadmap for integrating agricultural concerns within the global climate agenda.
Inclusion of Food Systems in the Global Stocktake: Recognize and reinstate the pivotal role of food systems transformation in climate resilience and mitigate climate change impact for the most vulnerable in the Global Stocktake.
Continued Emphasis on Agroecology: Agroecology, as a sustainable and inclusive approach, should be central in policy discussions, program intervention and implementation strategies for climate-resilient agriculture.
Community-Focused Climate Solutions: Prioritize local, community-driven solutions, especially those supporting small-scale food producers, pastoralists, fisheries and indigenous groups.
Targeted Climate Finance for Agroecology: Advocate for strategic allocation of climate finance to support grassroots, sustainable climate actions, particularly for vulnerable communities in Africa.
AFSA remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for the integration of agroecology within climate policies and decisions. The challenges highlighted at COP 28 must be addressed with urgency and decisive action. The future of our food systems and the well-being of millions depend on it.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) www.afsafrica.org is a robust coalition of civil society organizations dedicated to advancing the causes of food sovereignty and agroecology across the African continent. It is the largest network of networks in Africa with 37 network members with a combined potential reach of up to 200 million Africans. Its membership embraces farmers, indigenous communities, pastoralists, fisherfolk, consumer networks, women and youth networks, faith-based organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs).