Early Action Would Boost Food Security and Climate Change Responses
DURBAN, December 7, 2011 — The World Bank Group – along with other development partners - today offered strong support to an early action initiative led by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) that would rapidly refocus support to agriculture that strengthens food security, as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The early action effort on African Climate-Smart Agriculture is a response to a call by African governments eager to incorporate climate-smart agriculture systems, techniques and policies into existing national and regional agriculture strategies in order to strengthen resilience to climate change. The goal is help donors to collectively and efficiently channel support to existing programs.
“As climate change increases its impact on agriculture, we strongly support African leaders in their efforts to boost action that will help feed Africa and the world,” said World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati. “This is about working together to transform agriculture so that it's part of the solution. Almost one billion people go to bed hungry each night. We need strong, continuous, and collective action to boost agricultural production and productivity and to improve distribution networks, so people have food security.”
Global food prices remain volatile and have climbed to near record-levels. By 2050, there will be nine billion people in the world. To feed the growing population, agricultural production will need to increase by 70 percent by 2050.
“The transformation of agriculture to feed a growing population in the face of a changing climate, without hindering the natural resource base, will assist us to achieve food security goals and also help to mitigate the negative effects of climate change,” said Tina Joemat-Pettersson, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa.
Rising temperatures and more frequent, less predictable droughts, floods and heat-waves will bring increasing pressure to agricultural production systems over the coming years. Without strong adaptation measures, climate change could reduce food crop yields by 16% worldwide and by 28% in Africa by the 2080s. While agriculture is the sector most vulnerable to climate change, it is also a major cause, directly accounting for about 14% of greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need the creativity, leadership, resources, expertise and solidarity of every organization and individual if we are to find solutions to this common challenge,” said Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). “We all have a part to play as well in ensuring our leaders do not shy away from the hard decisions necessary to ensure the world we pass on to future generations is a stable, secure, and healthy one.”
The effort calls for scaling up action on, and support for, climate smart agriculture investments under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which is an approach to planning and implementing country agricultural development strategies that has been endorsed across Africa, with a view toward supporting implementation of the AU-NEPAD Agriculture and Climate Change Framework.
Early action would include support for technical assistance – such as screening existing agriculture plans to ensure they are “climate-smart”, as well as integrating climate resilience and mitigation into ongoing activities, and scaling up support to investments that are already climate-smart, and pilot investments to test new approaches. The initiative aims to support countries efforts to implement national agriculture and food security investment plans and strengthen their emphasis on climate change.
Across Africa, the World Bank has increased investments in agriculture to an average of $1 billion a year since 2008. Under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program, the Bank is already working with the African Union to boost yearly public investment in agriculture to 10 percent of the national budget or more in participating countries.