The Near East and North Africa (NENA) region faces numerous common challenges to achieving improved food security, nutrition and inclusive agricultural development. Rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, low growth in food production, as well as scarce and fragile natural resources and the threat of climate change have been compounding the situation.
Climate change is having a significant impact on agricultural production around the region, threatening food security, hampering efforts to eradicate poverty and putting the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at risk.
In light of this, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) are organizing a regional workshop, with the support of the Government of Sudan, to discuss innovative approaches to mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture and to introduce the climate-smart agriculture approach to countries of the region.
“This is the first workshop on climate-smart agriculture specific to our region. We are grateful for the support provided by the Government of Sudan to host this important workshop. Indeed, Sudan is and will continue to be highly affected by the influence of climate change on agriculture. As such, we welcome its leadership in addressing this topic that is essential for the livelihoods and food security of the people of our region,” said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative in Sudan.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, H.E. Nahar Osman Nahar, State Minister of Agriculture and Forests in Sudan stated, “Sudan has prioritized agriculture for its key role in ensuring economic development, achieving food security and eradicating poverty and hunger. The achievement of these goals will be more challenging in the context of a changing climate. Therefore, understanding the risk multiplier effect of climate change is essential to effective planning and progress.”
The regional workshop will gather climate change experts from NENA countries and representatives from the ministries of agriculture and environment in the region to discuss climate-smart agriculture. The workshop aims at enhancing the capacity of the agricultural systems to support food security, incorporating the need for adaptation and the potential for mitigation into sustainable agriculture development strategies.
During the workshop, the experts and staff from sectoral ministries will work together with the aim of developing roadmaps for operationalizing climate-smart agriculture activities in the countries of the region.
Sudan has prioritized agriculture for its key role in ensuring economic development, achieving food security and eradicating poverty and hunger
Impact of climate change on livelihoods
FAO estimates that 70 percent of the region’s poor live in rural areas where people depend on agriculture, fisheries or forestry as their main source of income and food.
“Many of the people suffering from hunger and poverty in the region are small-scale farmers, fishers and pastoralists who are hardest hit by the higher temperatures and unpredictable rainfall,” said Alfredo Impiglia, FAO’s Delivery Manager for the Regional Initiative on Small-scale Family Farming for the Near East and North Africa.
FAO’s work to address climate change
The climate-smart agriculture approach helps to identify appropriate management policies and practices that can improve the productivity and resilience of production systems in the context of a changing climate.
FAO has spent the past year systematically building its climate-smart agricultural approach in the region. It conducted the first region-wide assessment of the impacts of climate change on farming systems and livelihoods in the Near East and North Africa. With this basis for understanding the challenge in the region, it is engaging with countries to determine how the recommendations of this work can be integrated into agricultural policies and planning.
In addition, FAO engages with countries to scale up the adoption of proven climate-smart agriculture field interventions to boost productivity throughout the various farming systems.
KHARTOUM, Sudan, October 8, 2018/APO Group