Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

FARA Calls for Stronger Alignment of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Programs to the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A)

Geneva: 21st March 2019

With the launch of the Africa Continental Free Area (AfCFTA) negotiations, the African Union (AU) has demonstrated commitment to the creation of a levelled playing field for food businesses and promoting consumer protection, animal health and welfare. These can be achieved through the implementation of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) programs in Africa in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Agreement. The WTO SPS Agreement enjoins governments to base their SPS measures on international standards, guidelines, and recommendations developed by international standard setting organizations (FAO, WHO and Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex). As the apex body for Agricultural Research in Africa and the technical arm of the African Union Commission on matters concerning Agricultural Research and Development, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) called for stronger alignment to the Science Agenda for Agriculture (S3A) in implementing SPS programs in Africa.  The call was made by the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, who was represented by Dr. Abdulrazak Ibrahim, Capacity Development Officer at FARA, during a consultative meeting of the Africa Continental SPS Committee on 20th March 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The SPS Committee guides the coordination and   implementation of SPS matters at the continental level with the task of promoting and mainstreaming of SPS issues (food safety, plant and animal health) into the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) and other agriculture, trade-related, health and environmental initiatives and frameworks.


Sharing FARA’s experience at the meeting, Dr. Ibrahim, indicated that in practical terms, mainstreaming SPS into CAADP further underscores the need for deepening the application of science in Africa’s agricultural landscape. This is encapsulated in the 4th pillar of the S3A, which deals with responses to mega trends and challenges for agriculture in Africa and in the cross-cutting area of foresight. FARA called upon the committee to take advantage of the forth-coming 8th African Agriculture Science Week (AASW8) and the FARA General Assembly (GA), scheduled to take place between 28thOctober -1st November 2019 in Cairo Egypt. Briefing Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy, Head of AU Inter-African Phytosanitary Council and Prof. Abd El-Fatta Mabrouk Amer, Senior Scientific Secretary, Entomology in the AU Inter-African Phytosanitary Council, Dr Ibrahim made the case for stronger collaboration with FARA in taking the discussion and foresight analysis on new threats to African agro-ecological space, including the threat posed by Xylella fastidiosa, a notch higher.

As countries are preparing to develop tailor made investment proposals for the implementation of S3A, the endorsement of AfCFTA would require strong technical framework as represented by the S3A to effectively mainstream SPS measures in developing their National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIP).  FARA expressed commitment in providing the technical support and creating the science-policy nexus necessary for informed decision making, to allow for coherent and harmonized SPS strategy in tandem with the AfCFTA.

For more information visit www.faraafrica.orgwww.aasw8.faraafrica.org or email Dr. Aggrey Agumya aagumya@faraafrica.org, Mr. Christoph Essikpe cessikpe@faraafrica.org

Africa Climate Week

18-22 March 2019. Accra, Ghana. Africa Climate Week. the Africa Climate Week (ACW) 2019 was convene in the lead-up to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2019, bringing together diverse actors from the public and private sectors.

Participants will focused on how engagement between Parties and non-Party stakeholders can be further strengthened in key sectors for Africa, including energy, agriculture and human settlements. The event showcased the role of future carbon markets to enhance climate action towards the goal of sustainable development, and seek to facilitate implementation of countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change and SDG 13 (climate action), among other Goals.

Extract of the programme:

18/03 Stepping Up Action to Build Climate Resilient Agriculture and Food Systems in Africa 
The purpose of the event is to identify the opportunities for increased ambition in building climate resilient agriculture and food systems in Africa that can be advanced: locally; at the UNSG’s 2019 Climate Summit; and, at COP25.

The event consisted of opening and closing plenaries with six parallel sessions:
  1. Farmers’ Climate Resilient Practices: Taking action to reduce climate risks at farm and ecosystem levels. 
  2. Climate Resilient Ambition Powered by Nature: Building the case for nature based solutions (NBS) in Africa’s agriculture and food system 
  3. Colliding Climate and Conflict Risks in Fragile and Vulnerable Contexts: Building resilience from an integrated approach in the most vulnerable places. 
  4. Scaling up Private Sector Investment to Build Resilience in Agriculture: Showcasing climate actions from businesses, insurers and government on microcredit, risk transfer, food value chain for climate resilient agriculture and food sectors 
  5. Large Scale Restoration and Agroforestry, Lessons from Africa: Learning from Ghana Cocoa and Forest Initiative from, Great Green Wall Initiative and AFR100 - African Restoration Initiative. 
  6. Early Warning- Early Action and Forecast Based Financing: Implementing Early Warning-
    early Action and Forecast Based Financing approaches 
20/03 Side event Agriculture and Climate Change in the COMESA Region: Strengthening resilience and building synergies between adaptation and mitigation
Organizers: Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

This side event explored the technologies, practices, planning, policies and investment options available for transforming landscapes and food systems, focusing on synergies between adaptation and mitigation in COMESA member States. 

  • Mclay Kanyangarara, COMESA Climate Advisor 
  • Irene Annor-Frempong, Divisional Manager and Strategic Priority Leader, FARA
  • Abebe Haile-Gabriel, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, FAO 
  • Stephen Muwaya, Program Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda 
  • Tammy Muzi Dlamini, Agri Business Manager at National Marketing Board (NAMBoard), Eswatini.





Background:
The Africa Climate Week is part of Regional Climate Weeks that are held annually in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Asia-Pacific. Regional Climate Weeks are organized by the Nairobi Framework Partnership (NFP), which supports developing countries in preparing and implementing their NDCs.

The events’ global partners are the UNFCCC, Word Bank, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP Partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (UNEP-DTU Partnership), Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). Regional partners include the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Africa, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in LAC and Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Asia-Pacific.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Farmer Market Schools Master training

Operational Manual, Farmer Marketing Schools. A facilitator’s guide (ADRA 2019)  (ADRA 2017, revised version 2019, 52 pages)
  • It is a comprehensive training manual that sets out the FMS objectives, provides a detailed description of the content of FMS facilitators training, and an operationalized step-by-step practical guide for setting up FMS
  • Facilitator training comprises four stages: (i) preparatory activities; (ii) theoretical understanding of a market value chain (covering six technical themes); (iii) a practical interactive module where participants, through discovery learning, learn about the market; and (iv) monitoring learning loops.
To be engaged with the market requires much more than just removing the middleman, actually not necessarily a good idea, because the middleman has a function in the value chain by bringing goods from A to B, without which the chain would not function. The farmer needs market skills, must be market ready, before s/he can maneuver and benefit from what the market offers. These skills can be learned, and with those skills the farmer can start treating farming as a business.

This operational manual for Master training of FMS facilitators is a guide in how a smallholder farmer in Africa can learn to acquire such market skills and become market ready – or with another term – market or economic literate. We call this a Farmer Market School to distinguish it from the two models with related names – Farmer Field Schools and Farmer Business Schools.

FMS emphasizes the individual's capacity to analyze market opportunities and enhances individual agency to act on this analysis. The FMS concept does not (i) prescribe how farmers should organize collective marketing, (ii) provide a solution for how farmers could access finance for investing in agricultural production, processing and marketing, or (iii) provide a strategy for scaling up. 

 After completing FMS, the individual student decides how to collaborate within the FMS group and disseminate their enhanced market knowledge within their parent organizations and the wider local community. 
The FMS approach to facilitation draws on principles of adult and non-formal education (taking point of departure in farmers existing experience of the market and creating an inviting space that allows farmers to articulate their own experience-based knowledge). The FMS approach exposes farmers to the experiential learning cycle by guiding them to explore the value chains on their own. Through this actual practical interaction with lower value chain buyers farmers gain technical knowledge about how markets function.
Related:
19 March 2019. ADRA (Denmark Adventist Development and Relief Agency), a global humanitarian organization working to alleviate poverty, successfully undertook the first-ever Farmer Market Schools Master training in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event brought together participants from eight countries, including representatives of NGOs, Ministries of Agriculture and FAO.

The master trainers’ course in Ethiopia aimed to further disseminate the FMS approach after ADRA implemented pilot activities in Malawi and Zimbabwe in 2016-17.
  • The Farmer Market School builds on similar principles and discovery learning as used in Farmer Field Schools (FFS). 
  • In a FMS, smallholder farmers gain knowledge and skills on how to explore markets, what the market can offer and how to develop market decisions. 
  • FMS however differs from Farmer Business Schools in its pedagogic approach, as FBS are based on a theoretical and individual approach, emphasizing less on practical and collective experiences.
  • The duration of Master Training was two weeks. A total of 19 men and 2 women participated from 7 different countries: Ethiopia (6), Sudan (6), Uganda (2) Malawi (4), Zimbabwe (1), Eritrea (2) and Kenya (1). These included a smallholder, extension workers, project managers, and FFS trainers with experience within agriculture at different levels and broad knowledge of production, administration, field-schools, VSLAs (Village Savings and Loans Association), ASC (Action for Social Change), etc.
An evaluation of the two pilot projects in 2018 (September 2018, 22 pages) identified many positive findings. Farmers had responded very well to the challenge of researching the market for their products, many had established new business relations with value chain actors and started to bulk for collective marketing. 

The evaluation report recommended that to enhance capacity on FMS, a three-level Training of Trainers system is effective. Training master trainers is the first step. They then will train farmer representatives in Farmer Market Schools, and these representatives will train the other members of the groups they belong to.

On the demand side, the number of supermarkets and volume of demand for horticulture products is significant higher in Zimbabwe than in Malawi. In addition, the agricultural market infrastructure is considerably more elaborate in Zimbabwe. (page 6)

Implementation of FMS was done very differently in Malawi and Zimbabwe, which has had clear consequences for scaling up and impact. In Malawi implementation was done as a blueprint project with little consideration for experimenting with new ways for overcoming challenges. Both Ministry, ADRA and farmers themselves seemed path dependent and unwilling to divert from plans without permission. (page 7)

ADRA offices in Malawi and Zimbabwe are project-financed and are as such neither used to, nor administratively equipped for, piloting a new concept such as FMS. A project implementation mode focusing on outcome was chosen, rather than an experimental mode focusing on learning in order to further develop the FMS concept. (page 10)


Upcoming event:
The next FMS master training is to be held in June 2019 in Zambia.

International Day of Forests 2019: ‘Forests and Education'

21 March 2019. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), whose members agreed in 2017 that the Day’s theme would provide an opportunity to highlight specific forest contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by considering topics of the annual sessions of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).






Related:
In a press article release of 11/02 the NASA claimed that the Earth is greener today than 20 years ago thanks to China and India.

The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and data from NASA satellites has revealed a counter intuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India. A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.

Scientists of ICRAF (the World Agroforestry Center) and ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas) are now questioning this happy news story. 
Most of the area under Green-up is associated with unsustainable increase in cropping intensification in the last 10-15 years, and most of that intensification is attributed to increased use of water and agro-chemicals. One can clearly associate increased cropping intensification and ground water depletion in India.  We did some quick check with high resolution time series analysis. It reveals that the majority of the green up is coming from the multiple cropping in the last 15 years, unfortunately at-large not from the tree cover. This is the area where there is huge potential and opportunity for tree based production systems in India (and elsewhere) to sustain that green up and further increase with increasing multi-purpose tree species in farmlands and reduced use of water and chemicals while meeting the food, nutrition, water, and ecosystems security. Chandrashekhar Biradar, Head, Geoinformatics Unit, Principal Scientist (Agro-ecosystems) ICARDA Cairo
Tor-Gunnar Vågen is Senior Scientist and head of the GeoScience lab at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF): The use of “harvested area” is confusing as this refers to multiple cropping (intensification) in India and China: 
“... is largely because of the increase in harvested area through multiple cropping, which results in the observed greening trends. Agricultural intensification in China and India is being facilitated by heavy fertilizer use and surface- and/or groundwater irrigation—the two currently rank at the top for the amount of fertilizer use. Harvested land area at the global scale grew approximately four times faster than the cropland area since 2000 in large part due to these practices in China, India and Brazil"

Sunday, March 24, 2019

International Forum on Water Scarcity in Agriculture

19 - 22 March 2019. Praia, Cabo Verde. International Forum on Water Scarcity in Agriculture. The objective of the forum was to identify concrete - practical, innovative and collaborative - solutions to address water scarcity in agriculture in a changing climate. With a focus on Cabo Verde, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and West African countries, the forum is expected to illustrate how water scarcity in agriculture can be addressed and turned into an opportunity for sustainable development, food and nutrition security.
#WASAG
As the availability of freshwater decreases due to population growth, urbanization and changing living standards-we see an increase in agricultural, industrial and energy requirements. This struggle for balance is our greatest challenge.

Dry areas tend to become drier; droughts tend to become more frequent and severe; and
coastal areas more affected by, among other things, seawater intrusion due to rising sea level. Agriculture is by far the most affected sector in periods of drought leading to crop losses and reduced production. Such losses hit farmers and the rural population hardest, especially for smallholders who run over 80 percent of the world's farms on areas smaller than two hectares." 
FAO Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo (see picture).
She argued that, according to recent studies, droughts affected more than a billion people worldwide in a ten-year period, underlining that water scarcity and droughts, sea level rises, desertification, and ecosystem loss are strong social stressors that also contribute to forced migration.

47 countries adopted the Praia Commitments
at the 1st #WASAG Intl Forum
Extract of the programme
  • Technical session - Drought preparedness
  • Technical session - Water and nutrition
  • Technical session - Sustainable agriculture water use
  • Technical session - Saline agriculture
  • Technical session - Financing mechanisms for sustainable management of water resources
  • Technical session - Water and migration
Documents

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Political Economy of the Wheat Sector in Morocco: Seed Systems, Varietal Adoption, and Impacts

Bishaw, Z., Yigezu, Y. A., Niane, A., Telleria, R. J., Najjar, D. (eds). 2019.
Political Economy of the Wheat Sector in Morocco: Seed Systems, Varietal Adoption, and Impacts
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, Beirut, Lebanon. 300 pp.

This book, documents the studies conducted on the wheat sector in general. It also documents the wheat seed system, its adoption and impacts in Morocco, through support provided by the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Wheat and the European Union-International Fund for Agricultural Development (EU-IFAD) Project.

The experiences documented in this book are expected to inform stakeholders – including policy makers, researchers, farmers, private and public commercial farms, and development partners – about the status, challenges, and opportunities in the wheat sector in Morocco.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Launch of the United Nations World Water Development Report

WWAP (UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme). 2019. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2019: Leaving No One Behind. Paris, UNESCO. 202 pages

19 March 2019. Geneva. Launch of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) - the flagship publication of UN-Water on the state of global freshwater resources.

#WorldWaterDay


UN World Water Development Report 2019: Leaving No One Behind
You can download the report when you click on the download icon (right upper on your screen of the online versions:

English | Français | Español (pdf)
Executive Summary
English | Français | Español | Русский | ا لعربية | 中文 (pdf)
Italiano | Português | ภาษาไทย | Deutsch | Korean (pdf)
Main messages
English (pdf)
Facts and Figures
English | Français | Español (pdf)
Italiano | Português (pdf)

Media corner | Global launch | Regional launches

Improved water resources management and access to safe water and sanitation for all is essential for eradicating poverty, building peaceful and prosperous societies, and ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’ on the road towards sustainable development.
  • In an increasingly globalized world, the impacts of water-related decisions cross borders and affect everyone. 
  • Extreme events, environmental degradation, population growth, rapid urbanization, unsustainable and inequitable consumption patterns, conflicts and social unrest, and unprecedented migratory flows are among the interconnected pressures faced by humanity, often hitting those in vulnerable situations the hardest through their impacts on water.
  • Addressing the inequalities faced by disadvantaged groups requires tailored solutions that take account of the day-to-day realities of people and communities in vulnerable situations. 
  • Properly designed and adequately implemented policies, efficient and appropriate use of financial resources, as well as evidence-based knowledge on water resources and water-related issues are also vital to eliminating inequalities in access to safe drinking water and sanitation.


Upcoming event:
31 March - 4 April 2019. Cairo. Land and Water Days in the NENA Region 2019
It is five years since the first Near East and North Africa Land and Water Days took place in Amman, Jordan, 15-18 December 2013. At this event, FAO and its partners established the Water Scarcity Initiative along with its Regional Collaborative Strategy and Partnership.

The Near East and North Africa Land and Water Days will review the progress made in addressing water scarcity in the region, foster exchange of knowledge and experience among countries and partners and chart the way forward taking into account the lessons learned.

Thematic areas:
  1. Pathways to sustainable scarce-water-resources management
  2. Halting land degradation
  3. Land and Water Governance to achieve the SDGs in fragile systems
  4. Impacts of climate change on regional development and prospects for increased resilience
  5. Outlook and prospects: scaling-up investments in water for agriculture
Extract of the programme
  • 31 March. Plenary Session 1: Water Scarcity
  • 2 April: Technical Session Monitoring and assessment of climate change in the NEMA and understanding its impact on the land and water resources, agriculture and ecosystems 
  • 2 April: Technical Session Land Degradation (LS) Monitoring across scales
  • 2 April: Technical Session  Water Scarcity from options to actions what does it takes?: Collective intelligence, information and research

Background:
The aim of Land and Water Days is to increase awareness of the role of sustainable land and water management in improving local livelihoods.

FAO organizes Land and Water Days in coordination with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme. Land and Water Days are opportunities for exchanging innovative approaches and lessons learned on sustainable land, soil and water management among practitioners, country representatives and other stakeholders and for promoting the uptake of best practices.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Key findings of the the Malabo-Montpellier Panel reports for AfDB

18 March 2019. Abidjan. The Malabo Montpellier Panel: High Level Policy Innovation through evidence and dialogue in agriculture

This event co-organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Malabo Montpellier Panel in Abidjan, Côte d'ivoire, covered the thematic areas covered under the Panel’s first three reports and bring together members of the Panel to present the key findings and recommendations, and to exchange with the experts at the AfDB.

They also discussed the way forward regarding the appropriation of the outcome of the reports by policy makers and planners in order to inform policy reforms and investments to be supported by the Bank and other Development Partners. 

Particularly, the discussion focused on the communication approach followed by the Panel so far and identifies possible improvement if necessary. Finally, during the event some insights on priority topics for future reports by the Panel were discussed.

Since January 2017, the Malabo Montpellier Panel has published three reports.
  1. Nourished: How Africa Can Build a Future Free from Hunger and Malnutrition (September 2017); 
  2. Mechanized: Transforming Africa’s agriculture value chains (July 2018); 
  3. and Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa (December 2018). 
The thematic areas covered under these reports tie in closely with the AfDB’s Hi 5 Agenda.

The International Africa Development Forum for South-South cooperation

14 March 2019. Casablanca Morocco. 6th edition of the International Africa Development Forum under the theme « When East meets West », organized by the Attijariwafa bank group and under the impetus of its reference shareholder, the Pan-African Private Investment Fund Al Mada, was opened today

Launched in 2010, and taking place annually since 2015, the Africa Development Forum has established itself as the reference platform for dialogue, investment promotion and intra-African trade. From one edition to the next, the Forum has provided many opportunities for exchanges and investments between economic operators on the continent and its partners. Since its creation, the Forum has brought together more than 7,500 operators from 36 countries and generated more than 17,000 business meetings. This edition is also marked by the presence of many ministers from several countries of the Continent.
« While the global economy experienced a period of expansion in 2018, the world seems to have once again entered a period of slowdown and increasing uncertainty. Indeed, the escalation of trade tensions, the questions surrounding growth in Asia and Brexit, seem to be at the origin of international institutions’ downward revisions of the rates of economic growth and global trade. This has been accompanied by high volatility in oil and commodity prices since August 2018, driven in particular by geopolitical tensions, as well as by tighter financial conditions in emerging countries. This combination of opportunities and threats facing our continent underscores more than ever the need for structural reforms and enhanced economic integration in order to further unleash the energies that create wealth and value ». M. Mohamed El Kettani, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Attijariwafa bank group


The Africa Development Club, which constitutes an extension of the Forum, also provides its services to its 3,000 members all year long. Such services include business meetings, sectoral missions, networking platforms and access to information in all the countries where Attijariwafa bank is established and beyond.

  1. discussion on concrete issues involving high level experts, 
  2. business meetings connecting African companies 
  3. Investment Marketplace

The « Investment Marketplace » featured Sierra Leone as a guest of honor, and 7 other African countries : Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda presented their national development plans as well as investment opportunities in key high growth sectors in order to achieve their development goals. More than 4,000 B to B meetings have been scheduled confirming the interest of operators in this event.

Distinguished economic experts and political leaders examined the rationale behind intra-regional integration in terms of value creation and opportunities through plenaries, panels and awards :

  1. Plenary 1 : « Accelerate economic regional integration »
  2. Plenary 2 : « The positive impact, guarantor of solidarity and responsible growth »
  3. Panel 1 « Stand up for African Women Entrepreneurs », addressed the challenges faced by African women entrepreneurs in order to federate everyone’s energy and support women’s entrepreneurship. « Stand up for African Women Entrepreneurs » is supporting African women’s commitment and their determination to actively contribute to the development of the African continent. 
  4. Panel 2 : « Digital, a lever of growth in Africa : contribution of young African start-ups ».
  5. Award 1 : « South-South Cooperation Awards Ceremony » companies committed to development of Intra-African trade and investments 
  6. Award 2 : « Young Entrepreneur Awards Ceremony »  young entrepreneurs and project leaders at the African level.

33 artists featured young emerging talent from the Continent and the diaspora, as well as well-established artists. In partnership with the Arkane Association, « Travel Weast » offers a number of perspectives on themes such as the strong commitment of women, environmental issues and access to energy, immigration and globalization. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

5th General Assembly of the Arab Water Council

16-17 March 2019. Cairo, Egypt.  5th General Assembly of the Arab Water Council . During this triennial event, more than 400 members and experts representing 25 countries and several regional and international organizations gathered to get acquainted with the Council achievements since the last meeting of the GA in February 2016, and discussed the way forward by approving the Council’s future Work Plan for the next term 2019-2021, and to elect its Board of Governors for the forthcoming mandate until 2021.
The water problems are numerous, especially in the Arab region, given the growing population growth, the Arab region is an arid region and there is an increasing impact of climate change on food safety. Arab countries import more than 50% of their food from abroad. The water situation in the region is critical and requires measures, partnerships and non-traditional solutions to address these challenges. It is time for the Arabs to accept these challenges. Ahmed Aboul Gheit Secretary General of the Arab League
"Water is the basis of life and the nerve of civilization It must be recognized that the Arab countries are facing great challenges in providing water to industry, consumption, food and energy security, problems of change of rainy weather. The whole world is looking at the Arab Water Council and its research to leverage its expertise in order to achieve a comprehensive Arab cooperation in order to overcome all the difficulties encountered by the action. common water in the Arab world face these challenges. In order to achieve economic and political stability, to the extent permitted by the capabilities of the Arab States." Mr. Saifuddin Hamad former Sudanese Minister of Irrigation
References: 
The technical activities included:

Launching of the SDG-Climate Nexus Facility
Under the framework of the League of Arab States Climate Risk Nexus Initiative (LAS- CRNI) and the Arab Water Security Strategy (2010-2030) towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda in the Arab region, the Arab Water Council (AWC), along with LAS and UN Partners convened the “Official Launching Ceremony of the SDG-Climate Nexus Facility.”

The Facility adapts a multi-phased program that aims at bringing together partners from regional organizations, governments, UN, private finance sector, civil society and academia, to undertake a series of national and regional activities - using a nexus approach - to support bottom-up local actions under SDG13 and the Paris Agreement on climate change to bring about clear co-benefits for core-related SDGs.

Technical Session on “The Arab Water Council Program to Support the Regional Endeavor for Expanding the Use of Non-Conventional Water Resources”
The future of the “Arab Water Security” will largely depend on the development of the non-conventional water resources (NCWR)(desalinated water, treated drainage and wastewater, brackish groundwater, etc...), which offers great potential. NCWR utilization is multi-faceted regarding the knowledge, expertise, consideration for the technical, socio-economic, cultural and environmental aspects and the special governance structure. 

The session presented “Case Studies” from the Arab Countries. The session shared knowledge and  information about recent developments and innovation in policies, institutions, technologies, applications and management of non-conventional water in different uses. It also explored and the way forward towards sustainable expansion of non-conventional water resources. This will bridge the gap between the available water resources and the increasing demand on water for achieving the prospective development in the Arab region. 

Technical Session on “Indicators of State of the Water Report and Sustainable Development in the Arab Region” 
With the aim of developing a consolidated database for water resources management, AWC – jointly with the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), under the umbrella of the Arab Water Ministerial Council of the League of Arab States – has taken the lead in preparing and publishing on regular basis a series of “State of the Water Reports in the Arab Region” to present the country level water resources assessment on the Arab scale, together with the methodology applied. 

The series of reports represents a unique initiative by the Water Sector in the Arab Region on the road to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, to monitor progress and achievement. The Session will shed the light on the updated information concerning the status of water strategic policy and service-related indicators in the Arab region. The collection and validation of the data associated with the selected indicators were obtained through selected focal points and experts from the Arab countries.

Extract of the programme:

Arab State of the Water and Sustainable Development Goals Indicators
The session discussed the Sustainable Development Goal 6 on “Clean Water and Sanitation” (SDG6) and its associated targets as well as the 2015 baseline for the indicators to measure the progress made in achieving these targets.
  • Prof. Khaled M. AbuZeid, Regional Director for Water Resources, CEDARE. Overview on “3rd Arab State of the Water Report 2015”
  • Eng. Belkassem Dhimi, Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
  • Dr. Mohammed Elmulla, Director Water Resources Management Department and Representive of United Arab of Emirates to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
  • H.E. Eng. Ali Subah, Secretary-General, Ministry of Water & Irrigation and Representive of Kingdom of Jordan to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
  • Ms. Rana Abu AlSoud, Acting Director General for Organizational Affairs and Head of Gender Unit and Representive of Palestine to the Board of Governors of the Arab Water Council.
Use of Advanced Technology and Remote Sensing Techniques in Water Resources Management for Sustainable Agriculture
the main objective of the session is to bring together new science and policy knowledge to support decision-makers as they further develop their strategic plans by highlighting recent research advances in conceptual thinking and regional modeling and by sharing experiences and success stories on the use of latest Remote Sensing (RS) technologies in water and agriculture management.
  • Mr. Liping Jiang, Sr. Water Resources Specialist, World Bank. “China’s Experience on ET Management”
  • Dr. Talal Darwish, National Council for Scientific Research, National Center for Remote Sensing (CNRS), Lebanon. “Research Priorities and Activities of the National Center for Remote Sensing-CNRS in Agriculture”
  • Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). “Geo-Big Data and Digital Augmentation for Sustainable Agroecosystems”.

  • Dr. Bassam Abdellatif, National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS). “NARSS Use of Remote Sensing in Integrated Water Resources Management in Egypt
Main Results of the IHP Program on Groundwater and Arid Zones and Program Activities to Achieve SDG 6
The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP) is the only UN programme with a dedicated focus on aquifers and groundwater resources.

Expanding the Use of Non-Conventional Water Resources
The latest in the use of non-conventional water resources both at the regional and country levels.
  • Dr. Eman El-Sayed, MWRI, Egypt.“Non-Conventional Water Resources in Egypt”.
  • Prof. Walid Abderrahman, KSA. “Advanced Governance Frameworks for Successful PPP and Large-Scale Reuse of Treated Industrial Effluents in Saudi Arabia ”. 
  • Prof. Mohamed Dawoud and Dr. Osama Sallam, UAE“UAE experience in Scaling-up Development and Use of Non-Conventional Water Resources”.
  • Prof. Khaled M. AbuZeid, CEDARE. A 2030 Strategic Vision for Wastewater Reuse in Egypt”. 
Signing Ceremony of the SDG-Climate Facility
“SDG Climate Facility”, funded by Sida and implemented by UNDP, was signed between UNDP and LAS, AWC and UN Partners to support climate action at regional and country levels and to build resilience of climate-vulnerable communities across the region. 

From right to left: 
Mahmoud A. Abu-Zeid - President Arab Water Council
Ahmed Aboul Gheit - Secretary General of the Arab League
Aly Abousabaa - Director General ICARDA
 
Under this agreement, partners will work towards enhancing the capacity of regional and national institutions to effectively align with SDGs and integrate climate change considerations into implementation of programs and policies.

Related:
The issue of water is at the heart of the challenges of the Arab world and ICARDA’s mandate
Signing by ICARDA of the MoU with the

the Arab Water Council

The Arab Water Council (AWC) aims at initiating and strengthening regional and international cooperation and partnerships to tackle water-related challenges. 

Hence, a closer collaboration with ICARDA in areas of joint and mutual interest was obvious. The two partners agreed to cooperate in resource mobilization and fundraising activities including proposal writing. The proposed cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding is non-exclusive and shall have an initial term of five years.

Joint project development can cover a variety of activities such as:
  • reducing evaporation losses from open reservoirs and Ponds in Arab Region; 
  • sea water level rise and changes in cropping system; 
  • eco physiological strategies to reduce water consumption in agriculture; 
  • soil fertility and quality management; soil salinity mapping, monitoring and control; 
  • assessment of surface-groundwater interactions quantity-quality relationships for sustainable use; water treatment in groundwater-based agriculture; 
  • monitoring and modeling of the water cycle under a changing climate at multiple scales; 
  • studying water balance components at plot, watershed and basin scales; long term hydrological modeling under climate change and socioeconomic scenarios; 
  • impart capacity on hydrological/ecohydrological modeling and spatio-temporal data analysis of hydrological data.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Webinar with the co-authors of the EAT Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health

Published on 11 March 2019. The recent EAT-Lancet review of the global food system has been widely welcomed. By connecting, for the first time, scientific targets for both global healthy diets and sustainable food production, the report outlines what a sustainable and healthy food system for 10 billion people, all within planetary boundaries, by the middle of the century, could look like.

See PAEPARD blogpost Food in the Anthropocene

In this ANH Academy webinar co-hosted in collaboration with Ag2Nut, two of the co-authors of the EAT Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health - Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Fabrice DeClerck - joined talk about the report.

Related:

 

Access Agriculture – reaching more than 68 million farmers

Access Agriculture – reaching more than 68 million farmers

Access Agriculture has reached more than 68 million farmers through its videos and audio soundtracks. An on-line survey, just finalised, involved participants from 115 countries. Two thirds of users are watching the videos direct on the site with one third registering and downloading.
  • Most people using the site are sharing the videos either directly with farmers or with colleagues involved in extension. Users like Access Agriculture so much, that 900 of those who took the survey shared the platform with other organisations.
  • From the 2,210 people who took part in the survey 80% have learned about Access Agriculture in the past three years. 78% of participants were from Africa and most were male. More half are younger than 40.
  • Two thirds of those surveyed have watched more than 5 videos. Downloads of factsheets and other impact studies and publications were popular with around 30% of users.
Summary of the survey reportGlobal use
Over 200,000 people from across the globe have visited the Access Agriculture website to watch and download farmer training videos. 

To find out what visitors to the website do with the videos a global on-line survey was conducted in 2018. The 2223 respondents came from 115 countries, mainly from Africa (78%), Asia-Pacific (10%), and the Americas (7%).
  • They download the videos (84%), fact sheets (31%), 3gp versions for mobile phones (29%), publications (29%) and audio (9%).
  • Respondents use the videos to train themselves (64%), farmers (55%), students (46%) and extensionists (40%).
  • Those most likely to use the videos in farmer training are: extensionists (44%), rechearchers (33%), farmers (33%), and educators (31%).
  • Nearly all of the respondents find the videos and the website useful, and many use the videos for training more than 6 times a year.
  • Nearly 60% of the respondents share the videos with other organisations; they listed 1751 organisations by name.
From 2013 to 2018, over 3 million farmers watched Access Agriculture videos during screenings, on DVD or on their mobile.

With 44 TV stations across the South broadcasting the videos, over 60 million watched some of the programmes on TV. Many also listened to radio broadcasts, using the audio tracks of some of the videos. 

The summary of the survey is available here: Access Agriculture 2018 on-line survey - Summary

EDULINK, ACP Science and Technology compendium 2012 – 2018.

EDULINK, ACP Science and Technology, ACP Caribbean and Pacific Research Programme for Sustainable Development Results and impacts 2012 – 2018.
© ACP Secretariat 2019,246 pages
The compendium is in both English and French

This compendium presents the results of the 78 projects of the EDULINK Phase II (47), ACP Science and Technology Phase II (21), and the ACP Caribbean and Pacific Research Programme for Sustainable Development (10), with the first project having started in August 2012 and the last having finished in October 2018. From the 287 involved institutions, 198 originated from 45 ACP countries. 

The results achieved over these six years and the impacts envisaged, some of which have already been realised, present an interesting insight into the effectiveness of the wide variety of initiatives financed by the three programmes. They vary from new curricula and courses to national action plans, electronic platforms and databases within the fields of agriculture, energy, water and climate change. These have also been made available through publications and websites.
  • The ACP Science and Technology I programme was financed by the Intra-ACP envelope of the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) and the Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI) with a total EU investment of EUR 33 million
  • The ACP Science and Technology II programme was financed by the Intra-ACP envelope of the 10th EDF and the DCI with a total EU investment of EUR 20 million. The purpose of the programme was to build and strengthen the STI capacities of a wide range of ACP organisations.
Extracts:

MAK’IT, the new “Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions”

7 March 2019. MAK’IT, the new “Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions”, which promotes inter-disciplinary research and knowledge sharing towards the SDGs.

In advising the MAK’IT team on how to make the institute a success, David Nabarro and Louise Fresco share cunning insights on the kind of science we need to support the achievement of the SDGs, insights that can inspire many of us in this CoP.

Louise Fresco challenges scientists, saying that “many times, science has been stuck at the diagnosis of the problems – which is very good – but we now must move collectively to solution-driven science”, going beyond “partial solutions”, and stepping outside “our ivory towers” by engaging people in society. She reflects on the ambition behind the SDGs and invites us to think beyond the specific targets, calling for a “turning around of our way of thinking” for example thinking of “a new economic system where value is given to things that don’t have value today, where poverty is a cost..”.

David Nabarro invites us to “see the SDGs as a Compass not as a blueprint, a compass to help guide collective action and make a magnetic field.” He explains his discomfort with set targets, which tend to drive activities in a linear way to address challenges that cannot be subject to linear solutions, and invites us to think about science-based pathways.

He invents the verb “to science” to describe the act of engagement in ultimate scientific practice and calls for all of us to learn to be comfortable with complexity, reminding us that being scientific is about putting ideas to the test, and that doubt is part of the exercise. And he calls for “leaders who can hold multiple perspectives simultaneously, can start where people are and link with their environment,who can see the whole of the system as well as the individual parts.”



3rd One Planet Summit

14 March 2019. Nairobi. While Africa is responsible for only 4% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, 65% of the African population is considered to be directly impacted by climate change.

This first regional edition of the One Planet Summit highlighted the unique role of Africa as a global partner facing both challenges and opportunities, in particular in the field of innovative solutions for adaptation and resilience.

  • The Summit brought together high-level officials, CEOs and inspiring voices from youth, and civil society to showcase concrete achievements and breakthrough initiatives, and trigger new coalitions and commitments.
  • Designed as a full day of High-Level conversations and Coalition building for Climate and Environmental action in Africa, the event preceded the high-level segment of UNEA-4.

Extacts of the high level programme
NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IN AFRICA
  • African Solutions: New Business Models Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank @1:14 in below video
  • High Level Address on Adaptation and Resilience  Kristalina Georgieva, Interim President, World Bank Group
Scaling up solutions
  • Stephen Chege, Director Corporate Affairs, Safaricom 
  • Samba Bathily, Co-founder &and CEO, Solektra International 
  • Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar, Senegal 
  • Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO, EDF

Pitch Hubs: To Display Africa’s innovative Climate Solutions (focus on agriculture)
  • Kenya Tea Development Agency and AFD
    KTDA invests in tea and other related profitable ventures for the benefit of the shareholders and other stakeholders. It benefits to 350,000 smallholder tea farmers and 39 of their regional tea factories
    Jean-Pierre Barral, Head of Energy and Digital Transition, AFD
    Japhet B. Sayi, General Manager, KTDA Power Company
  • Big Data for Climate Smart Agriculture
    Technology can contribute to enhancing the agricultural sector by make it more productive and more resilient to climate change. This pitch illustrated this by focusing on one of the projects led by the Government of Kenya aiming to improve agriculture through enhanced agrometeorological data analysis.
    Boniface O. Akuku, Director Information & Communication Technology, Agriculture Observatory
  • 4 per 1000 initiative
    The ambition of 4 per 1000 is to encourage actors to engage in a transition towards a productive agriculture, highly resilient, based on an appropriate land and soil management, creating jobs and income and thus promoting sustainable development
    Leigh Ann Winowiecki, Soil Systems Scientist, The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
    Murielle Trouillet, Policy Officer, International Sustainable Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, France
  • MIKOKO, co-management of green infrastructures
    Nature-based solutions are key to enhance the impacts of the ecosystem. Discover an African flagship project on the preservation of mangroves, using sustainability science and spatial technologies, for a positive change on communities and climate.
    Wanja Dorothy Nyingi, Head of Ichthyology, National Museums of Kenya and Coordinator, Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Group (KENWEB)
    James Gitundu Kairo, Coordinating Author of the IPCC’s Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere (SROCC), Kenyan Forest Services
    Stéphanie Duvail, Geographer and Mangroves Specialist, IRD 
  • Livelihoods Fund - Mt Elgon Initiative
    Along with Brookside and VI Agroforestry, discover a key project that will implement smart agricultural practices to sustainably increase yield and milk production with crop diversification, cow efficient feeding, watering & breedingBernard Giraud, Co-founder and President
    John Gethi, Director of Milk Procurement, Brookside Dairy Ltd.
    Wangu Mutua, Deputy Regional Director, Vi Agroforestry
Sector panels - Extract
CLIMATE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN CITIES 
Sub-Saharan Africa’s cities are home to more than 470 million people that are expected to double over the next 25 years. Climate impacts on agricultural yield are likely to exacerbate rural-to-urban migration and put pressure on urban infrastructure and services in the coming decades. This session brought together speakers to discuss how cities in Africa and in emerging markets around the world can leapfrog historical approaches to urban development and invest in low-carbon, resilient infrastructure. 

Panelists discussed how to connect cities with financing to implement resilient and green urban development strategies and mobilize private sector finance that is crucial to climate action. 
  • James Wainaina Macharia, Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Kenya 
  • Hans Peter Lankes, Vice President of Economics & Private Sector Development, IFC 
  • Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Morocco 
  • Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat 
  • Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission 
INTEGRATED LANDSCAPES MANAGEMENT 
Over 25 years after Rio, there is more recognition of the importance of Africa’s terrestrial and coastal landscapes in delivering multiple production and ecosystem service benefits to support the continent’s transformation. This event provided different countries and champions of Africa’s landscape restoration and integrated management an opportunity to show case actions in a variety of different critical landscapes (from coastal to drylands and highlands). 

The panelists identifiedy key ingredients of effective participatory implementation, specify further needs, and share selected opportunities for leveraging support. 
  • Amedi Camara, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritania 
  • Almoustapha Garba, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Niger 
  • Hamadi Boga, Principal Secretary, State Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation, Kenya 
  • Laura Tuck, Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank Group 
  • William Kwende, Chairman, Agritech 
  • Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD