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Farming as a business in Fiji

Posted by Beate Stalsett Thursday, November 24, 2016 0 comments

By Tevita Ravumaidama and Monica Romano

Fiji is an archipelago in the south Pacific of more than 300 islands. According to 2015 estimates, approximately 43 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, and more than one third of its population lives in poverty. IFAD's work in the country focuses on outer islands and remote areas. The country's agricultural sector generates close to 13 per cent of the nation's GDP while it employs 70 per cent of its labour force. There is strong demand for domestically produced agricultural products, and there is great potential in developing value chains and commercial relationships.

When Isei Namacamaca moved back to his village Nadrau in Navosa province after several years in the city, he decided to become a farmer. And with support from his relatives, Isei established his farm where he was mostly growing traditional crops (root crops) and vegetables with limited knowledge on appropriate farm management practices and production technologies (such as seedling production, composting, and post-harvesting handling). He also had limited business orientation in farming.

He participated in the activities and training supported under the Partnership in High Value Agriculture (PHVA) programme, an IFAD-supported grant implemented by the local NGO Partners in Community Development Fiji – PCDF, targeting a number of villages and  settlements in an impoverished area of Nadarivatu on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. This USD 500,000 grant implemented during 2012-2015 worked to increase the incomes of the 200 participating farmers by 20 per cent  from their production of high value products such as tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, English cabbage, carrots, watermelon and many others, through enhanced market linkages and community empowerment.

Through the support of the grant, Isei attended several trainings aiming to help enhance his agricultural production and shift to an approach of developing farming as a business. The training included farm- and land-use management, vegetable husbandry practices, post-harvest management practices, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and management. He now grows tomatoes, capsicum, cabbage, potatoes and zucchini on his three-acre land, all with a good profit.

Results

What were the improvements that made a difference for his business? When last April Isei attended the first stakeholder workshop of the IFAD-funded Fiji Agricultural Partnership Project (FAPP), which will scale up some of PHVA’s approaches, he shared his experience. He indicated that the most important things he learned were shifting to organic production limiting the use and quantities of  agricultural chemicals, and the business aspects related to farming.

Isei’s achievements resulting from participation in the training and adopting the new technology are significant. In three years, his income from farming increased by 80-100 per cent through high value crops alone. He also gets income from sales of traditional crops. In addition Isei has increased the size of his farm and is now able to sell all farm produces. With his increased income, he can send all his children to school and support his grandchildren. He also established a family canteen, a small retail shop selling basic food items,  opened a savings account, and contributes to village obligations, church activities, and other family needs.

By Nerina Muzurovic

The panel at the side event at COP22. ©IFAD/N. Muzurovic

At an event sponsored by the Netherlands, held at the COP22 in Marrakech on 15 November 2016, the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms Lilianne Ploumen, discussed ways in which climate change can be effectively fought through securing indigenous and community land rights.

Learning from indigenous communities

Evidence shows that securing indigenous and community land rights is one of the key actions to fighting climate change, said Lilianne Ploumen. Local communities—specifically, indigenous communities--have been key in governing land in a way that’s sustainable. “There are a couple of reasons for this,” she said. “They know that their land not only belongs to them, but their kids. Not only do they have a lot of knowledge about the land, but look at it from the potential that it has for everyone.”

Protection of the forest is a large part of the climate change agenda. Statistically, land governed by indigenous communities shows much slower deforestation—indicating the deployment of practices that could be studied and learned from. Interestingly, worldwide, some 50 per cent of land is protected by local and indigenous communities, despite the fact that this group only owns 10 per cent of the land. “People don’t own the land, but they still take responsibility for it,” she said. “This is also something we can learn from.”

Certainly, said Ms Mina Setra, the indigenous approach to land management is defined by long-term thinking. In the forest in West Kalimantan, one elder in the community said, “We have to protect the land. To indigenous people, land is mother. Land is owned by the ancestors. We are only guardians, and we have to protect it for future generations.”

Results and benefits

This approach brings with it concrete results: satellite imagery of forestlands in Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia clearly shows that deforestation is two to three times lower in areas with secured land tenure for indigenous peoples. “If you secured land rights, you would save emissions,” said Ms Helen Mountford, of the World Resources Institute (WRI). In fact, estimated benefits of saved emissions through secured land rights could be as much as US$ 30 billion. “Carbon benefits make this worth doing,” she said.

Land rights are also crucial, when it comes to investment in agriculture, said USAID’s Eric G. Postel. “Without land rights people do not invest,” he said.

Moving forward, said Ms Lilianne Ploumen, the Netherlands—which has the world’s highest percentage of registered land (99 per cent) – is keen to share its organizational knowledge. New technologies, including satellites, offer unprecedented opportunities for giving indigenous peoples control over their land, and thus improve the global environment. The project is a crucial one, she emphasized: “Land rights are human rights,” said Ms Lilianne Ploumen.


Sources cited: 

World Resources Institute. 2016. Report on Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs. The Economic Case For Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon. Page 55.

Oxfam, International Land Coalition, Rights and Resources Initiative. 2016. Common Ground. Securing land rights and safeguarding the earth. Page 39.

Read more:

Written by Nerina Muzurovic

Khalida Bouzar, IFAD's Director for Near East, North Africa and Europe Division
speaks at Opportunities for Africa at COP22.
©IFAD/N. Muzurovic

At the OCP Group side event ‘Opportunities and Solutions for Africa,’ held as part of a larger conference on food security and climate change at COP22 on 14 November 2016, Khalida Bouzar, IFAD's Director for Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, emphasized that investment in agriculture is an attractive proposition—not least, because it provides a strong incentive for youth to stay in the rural areas that need them most.

Green agriculture an opportunity for Africa

The importance of agriculture in Africa cannot be overstated, said Dr Khalida Bouzar: “When we talk about agriculture in Africa, we have to remember that agriculture is still the main employer of the Continent, and that more than 80 per cent of food production in Africa is ensured by smallholders living in rural areas.”

While rural smallholder farmers are one of the groups most vulnerable to climate change, Dr Khalida Bouzar emphasized that this sector also has enormous potential: “Advanced and green agriculture is the real opportunity for rural Africa. It can create jobs, satisfy needs, and generate both wealth and wellbeing for Africans.”

From Morocco to Zimbabwe, IFAD invests in greening agricultural value chains—and in ensuring that youth can find space, interest and profit in the sector. “We also make available credit, technical assistance and resources for the states to access in order to effect such change,” said Dr Khalida Bouzar. “We are convinced that innovation and adaptation will restart the agricultural engine, and therefore provide renewed opportunities for youth and for Africa.

“All our projects are designed by and for beneficiaries,” added Dr Khalida Bouzar. “They are thus naturally adapted to the local and cultural context.”

Best practices from the region

Dr Khalida Bouzar shared two ‘Best Practices’ case studies from Niger and Morocco. These included:

Niger: ‘Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens,' also known as ‘Initiative i3N, is the national strategy for achieving food security and sustainable agricultural development in Niger. ‘Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens' seeks to achieve food sovereignty, thanks in part to IFAD-supported projects.

Morocco: In Morocco’s l’Oriental Region, 70 per cent of the land was exploited by tribal and nomadic communities for their livestock. Land degradation, overgrazing and water scarcity brought families into extreme poverty, and land and social desertification were a reality. The combined efforts of IFAD, the GEF, the Moroccan Government, ONUDI, local communities and administrations brought about clear pasture management plans and specific policies that led to the development of new and diverse pasture management strategies, bringing radical change to the area.
Today, Morocco manages rather than exploits these ancestral pasturelands. 

Other examples of IFAD’s successful practices include:

Mali: The promotion of biogas benefitted over 7,000 people (50 per cent were women, and close to 80 per cent were youth) in Mali. Some 155 bio-digesters were installed with a sustainable impact on livelihoods. This was especially true for women, for whom it meant safer and cleaner cooking environments, as well as freed up time, which could be spent on other tasks, such as the collection of wood and cleaning of pots. The environment benefitted, as well: 13 tonnes of wood were saved per year for a family of 40 people, and awareness of environmental issues was raised among local populations.

Senegal: In Senegal, coastal areas are vulnerable to rising sea levels, which cause both widespread erosion and coastal flooding in low-lying coastal areas (mangrove estuaries in particular). Other negative impacts include the increased salinization of soils, surface waters and groundwater. The project invested in infrastructure to reduce land salinity and restore productivity, with two dykes of about 3 km in total length in Ndiaye and Ndiémou and the establishment of three drainage systems. 10,000 halophyte plants (adapted to salinity) were produced to protect and rehabilitate saline fields. The project also allowed for more efficient use of scarce water resources, through improved irrigation systems and diversification of production. Some 250 hectares of agricultural land adopted drip irrigation, benefiting approximately 30 communities. Some 77 hectares of rice fields are under irrigated production, serving six farmers’ organisations and benefitting some 3,000 people.

Cameroon: A project currently under design proposes to promote “green jobs” for youth, who represent 78 per cent of the population and suffer greatly from unemployment or underemployment. The project aims to create and promote close to 5,000 agro-pastoral enterprises (of which 30 per cent are managed by women) and to create over 20,000 jobs; it also encourages rural entrepreneurship through the development of agropastoral training centres and rural financial services.

Written by Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist - Gender and Social Equity, IFAD/PTA



Nothing is more motivating and rewarding than going on mission to an IFAD-supported project, meeting participants and realizing that your work has made a difference to their lives. It is a humbling experience. Such were my feelings last week, when during a supervision mission for the “Programme de développement des filieres” (PRODEFI) in Burundi, I met three women whose lives have changed dramatically thanks to the legal defence activities that we enabled and which have grown in importance over the years.



 

These activities were first established in 2008 with supplementary funding to IFAD from the Government of Canada, under the “Legal Empowerment of Women Programme” (LEWI). They were then integrated into the IFAD-supported “Programme de Relance et de Développement du Monde Rural“ (PRDMR), the “Projet d’appui à l’intensification et à la valorisation agricoles du Burundi” (PAIVA-B) and also “ PRODEFI. A long history by now which shows a strong support from many sides: IFAD, the donor community, the Government and civil society of Burundi.

Under the legal defence activities, the programme trained over 530 women leaders as “para-juristes” and provided support to vulnerable women, girls and orphans in Gitega and Kayanza province of Burundi on land conflict and sexual violence. About 1,900 cases (90 per cent submitted by women) have been considered. More than 200 of the para legals have now created an association, with the support of PRODEFI.


In Burundi and in other countries, conflicts often arise over access to home and land, and frequently lead to physical violence against women. Many are based on traditional cultural beliefs and attitudes. The women whom I met on the supervision mission were ostracized for not giving birth to large numbers of children, in particular sons.


“The community and family development centers have helped me a lot”, said 52-year-old Consolate with tears in her eyes. She had given birth to two daughters and could not get pregnant again. Her husband wanted a son and took a second wife to live with him in the family home. He and his family treated Consolate badly and wanted her to leave the house. She went to the village chief for help but he refused to intervene. At that time she was attending meetings organized by PRODEFI and heard about the legal assistance provided by the community and family development centres (CFDC). With their support she went to court and introduced a claim on her share of the family property. Her husband and the in-laws were convinced she would drop the complaint, but she persisted. She lost in the first instance, but went for an appeal. Even the judge did not take her serious and said a small woman like her would not be able to touch her husband even with the support of the project. It took 10 years of persistence, until Consolate finally got access to her share of the house and land. “Without the family and community development centres many women would be unhappy”, she said.

Fifty-one year old Imelde’s story is similar to Consolate’s. She was a widow, and got married for the second time to a widower who became increasingly violent when she did not get pregnant. He started to look for a second wife and wanted to evict her from the house. One night he got so violent that Imelde ran away in fear of her life, barely dressed and leaving everything behind. She went to the CFDC for help, and they wrote a letter to the village chief and her husband, asking to hand over her belongings. When the husband filed for divorce without her consent, she again looked to the CDFC for support. It took five years, until she received a judgement giving her a share of the land that had been jointly acquired when she was married.


The husband of Nahimana (45 years) had fled to Tanzania and not sent her any news for 14 years. When he returned to the village and found her with 2 children from another man, he threw her out of the house. Nahimana returned to her own family home, but her brothers also did not want her. She had no place to stay for a long time, until with legal support she put a claim in on the joint house and property. Nahimana says that literacy classes helped her a lot, and raised her awareness. For 6 months, twice a week she attended a functional literacy class offered by PRODEFI that uses the REFLECT methodology. She became more self-confident and learnt how to express herself. She is still waiting for the final judgement on her request for fair share of the family home and land, but she is confident.


These stories of three women show how pain, powerlessness and humiliation are the invisible effects of violence. Violence and fear of violence lower women’s self-esteem and confidence and prevent them from speaking up. Where access to land is needed for food and income like in rural areas of Burundi, its loss threatens the basis of existence.


For IFAD, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November gives us the opportunity to think about women like Consolate, Imelde and Nahimana. We have come a long way in recognizing that gender-based violence is an impediment to rural women’s empowerment. More and more projects are addressing violence against women and women’s security, prevention of violence and harassment. The legal support that PRODEFI provides in Burundi is one of the best examples. It also reflects the dedication of all those colleagues and partners who insisted on integrating the programme into a loan financed rural development programme. And it has made a huge difference to the lives of thousands of rural women.


IFAD video “Justice for Maura” 

Short version (3:30)

English | French 

Long version (15:00)

English |  French


COP22 concludes with adoption of Marrakech Action Proclamation

Posted by Christopher Neglia Sunday, November 20, 2016 0 comments

By Torben Nilsson and Christopher Neglia

The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hosted by Morocco in Marrakech from 7-18 November 2016, was concluded with the issuance of a “Marrakech Action Proclamation” by the participating Heads of State, Government, and Delegations.

The Marrakech Action Proclamation welcomes the Paris Agreement, adopted under the Convention, already ratified by over 111 Parties, and entered into force on 4 November 2016.

The Proclamation refers to the ambitious goals and inclusive nature of the Paris agreement, reiterates its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, and reaffirms the strong – and irreversible – commitment of all Parties to take action on climate and sustainable development, moving forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster adaptation efforts, thereby benefiting and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Developed Country Parties reaffirmed their goal to mobilize USD $100 billion annually from 2020 in climate finance, while the Parties unanimously called for further climate action and support well before 2020. The call was extended to non-state actors, noting in particular the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action.

Importantly, the Parties emphasized the need to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security, and take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture. The importance of climate action in agriculture features strongly in the NDCs and was more prominent at COP22 than in the past, with particular emphasis on the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative launched through the signing a “Marrakech Declaration” by African Ministers of Agriculture on 30 September 2016.

Inside the Conference, despite appreciable concern with the election of Donald Trump in the United States, world leaders and delegates maintained that there is no going back on the commitments of the Paris agreement; and as the President of COP22, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar warned, “governments must face up to their responsibilities.”

IFAD engaged through numerous side events, media relations, participation in the high-level segment, and issuance of a statement on the importance of improving the climate resilience of smallholder farmers in developing countries.

Fiji was elected to serve as President of COP23 to be held from 6 to 17 November 2017 at the seat of the UNFCCC secretariat in Bonn. COP23 will primarily serve to take stock of progress on the implementation of the work programme under the Paris Agreement.


Written by Nerina Muzurovic

IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze talks to the press about the new climate change
vulnerability assessment map.
©IFAD/N. Muzurovic

In an IFAD-sponsored side event, titled “From Pixel to Reality,” held at the COP22 in Marrakesh on 16 November 2016, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze launched the ‘climate change vulnerability assessment map of IFAD’s projects in Morocco.’ The event was co-organized by IFAD and the Moroccan Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA).

The climate change vulnerability map, funded by an IFAD grant to ADA, is a new and innovative decision-making tool that allows for tracking, measuring and understanding climate and weather, and the implications of climate change for farming and rural livelihoods. “The vast majority of the world’s poorest people live in the rural areas of developing countries and depend on agriculture for their lives and livelihoods,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze, in his opening remarks. “And it is these very same women and men who are bearing the brunt of the impact of extreme weather and climate change.”

A tool like this can help. “Our experience has shown that it’s not enough to provide funds,” explained IFAD President. “We have to have data.” This, he stressed, is particularly true for work in rural areas, which are most vulnerable to changing weather conditions.

Gathering hard data (‘pixels’) makes it possible to target real-world help in the most meaningful way.

For policy makers, the new assessment tool helps to prioritize, in order to develop more effective regional and local adaptation plans. For farmers on the ground, the tool makes it possible to identify the greatest hazards, and take appropriate steps. “This is, of course, valuable here in Morocco,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze, “Where rising temperatures and projected declines in rainfall are expected to have a severe impact on the ability to grow crops.”

Tools like this also help reshape the way we approach climate change impacts. “Vulnerability mapping facilitates long-term thinking,” said H. E. Ibrahim El-Dukheri, Federal Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Sudan. “Beyond a sole focus on metrics, it is important to balance short-term demands with the long-term opportunities of climate change.”

The need, of course, is growing: As IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze pointed out, agriculture in many parts of the world is already being severely affected by climate change. At a global level, average yields are expected to shrink by up to 2 per cent every decade, while demand for food from a growing population is expected to rise 14 per cent each decade, until 2050.

“We need data,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze. “Particularly in terms of vulnerability of rural areas.”

Co-hosted by the Director General of ADA, Mr Mohammed El Guerrouj, the event’s panel gathered eminent personalities, and was well-attended by the press.

Panel members H.E. Ibrahim El-Dukheri, Minister of Agriculture of Sudan; Dr Simon Young, Advisor to the CEO of ARC Ltd; Mme. Fatima Driouech, National meteorology service of Morocco; and Mr Abdelhamid Felloun (ADA) emphasized the importance of high-tech tools for decision-making at the policy level, and said that data like this, which puts climate change impacts in context, will make it easier to mobilize financing.

The panel agreed that the potential for scaling up this type of study is great, and offers a real opportunity for exchange and south-south cooperation. The IFAD President stated that this tool can be broadened to Sub-Saharan Africa and shared with other African countries through the triple A initiative (Adaptation of African Agriculture).

Before being interviewed about the climate change tool by Medi1 TV, one of the main Moroccan TV channels, IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze thanked the ADA for their support. “IFAD is very much appreciative of the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Morocco for taking this initiative, which we hope will spread into other parts of Africa,” he said. “In Morocco, this is actually a pilot, and we hope that it will generate expected results.”

The Director General of ADA, Mr Mohammed El Guerrouj, thanked IFAD for its support to Morocco, and recognized the importance of the tool to better target the adaptation activities and mobilize climate finance.


By Alessia Valentini

NDCs offer unique programmatic and dialogue tools for development institutions and are slowly paving the way for the achievement of the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.

This was one of the key messages at today’s NDCs side event at COP22, hosted by the European Union. The event was held to discuss how NDCs are integrating into the national strategies of developing countries; what are the new approaches to contribute to climate-relevant transformation through agriculture and rural development; and what are the new sources of blended finance for climate adaptation and mitigation.

In particular, the event focused on NDC achievements through the agricultural sector and addressed key aspects of the support that the international community is providing to developing countries.

The panel was composed of Cyrille Pierre from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Roberto Ridolfi, Director General of the European Commission's DEVCO; Martin Frick, Director of the Climate and Environment Division of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Environment and Climate Division of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Martin Frick, FAO, said that “by investing in poor smallholder farmers we are already working on the NDC agenda." He was echoed by Margarita Astralaga who stated that for IFAD this commitment existed prior to the Paris Agreement thanks to its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Porgramme (ASAP). In fact, ten countries explicitly recognise in their NDCs the role of ongoing IFAD-supported investments in achieving their climate commitment targets and moving smallholders out of poverty.

“Therefore, we can expect at least a similar trend in the coming years to support NDCs implementation and expand its coverage,” she added in her closing remarks.                    

By Christopher Neglia

In recent years, the sources and modalities of climate finance has emerged as one of the most prominent issues within the UNFCCC process to address dangerous climate change. Developing countries are calling for more funds from developed countries to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions. For their part, developed countries have pledged to provide US $100 billion per year by 2020 as part of their Paris Agreement commitments to support climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Global climate finance has increased by almost 15 per cent since 2011, from $650 billion to $741 billion in 2014. Private investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency represents the largest share of the total figure.

Yet climate finance flows are disbursed asymmetrically. Mitigation-focused finance represents more than 70 per cent of the public finance transferred to developing countries, while adaptation finance accounts for the other 30 per cent.

At the COP22 Climate Conference going on this week in Marrakech, policy makers are debating how to direct greater financial flows to support the global transition to low emission, climate resilient economies.

“Carbon pricing is the most effective policy instrument available to national governments since it provides across the board incentives for low emission technologies,” said Ian Parry, Fiscal Policy Expert at the IMF.

The proliferation of carbon pricing is occurring at a much faster rate than would have been thought just a few years ago. Fourteen countries already put a price on carbon in some form. China will implement its own carbon trading scheme next year.

Nevertheless, financial markets are still generally averse to the risks associated with investments in low carbon development. Regulations are sorely needed to change the rules that govern the $300 trillion financial system to move toward decarbonizing portfolios (also relevant for IFAD), and reallocating finance from high to low carbon areas.

Establishing a common carbon price floor arrangement between countries is one way that willing governments can send a clear signal to agnostic institutional investors that they should be factoring climate and environment externalities into their risk analyses.

In addition, shifting public subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energies may lead to a tipping point where green investments finally become attractive to the private sector.

But how can revenues raised be used specifically to improve food security and climate resilience in agricultural systems? Here, IFAD has accumulated valuable experiences through the Adaptation for Smallholder Agiculture Programme (ASAP). “Climate finance gives our projects the fiscal room to invest in GIS mapping, research seed varieties that are more tolerant to climate extremes, and pursue policy engagement with government ministries,” said Margarita Astralaga, IFAD’s Environment and Climate Director.

Often, the challenge is in convincing governments to put public revenues into the food security and agriculture sectors. But research shows that agricultural growth continues to be more poverty-reducing than non-agricultural growth. For instance, in a study by Dorosh and Thurlow (2014) that looked at five Sub-Saharan African countries (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia), it was found that a dollar invested in the agricultural sector was about twice as effective at poverty reduction than investment in urban sectors. Clearly, more work remains to be done in terms of raising greater financial flows for adaptation, as well as directing it to where it matters most.

COP22: Adaptation in African agriculture urgently needed

Posted by Beate Stalsett Wednesday, November 16, 2016 0 comments

Written by Chris Neglia


IFAD's Margarita Astralaga speaks at the From Science to Action session on the Adaptation in
African Agriculture Initiative.
©IFAD/C. Neglia

In Marrakech this week, the Moroccan government is hosting the first UN Climate Change Conference since delegates from nearly 200 countries signed the historic Paris Agreement one year ago. The occasion has prompted Morocco to urge other African nations to be proactive in fighting climate change and vocal in international dialogue.

“Africa is progressing and asserting itself in the international arena… Morocco will defend the position of our Continent, which is greatly affected by climate change and sustainable development issues,” said King Mohammed VI in a statement.

To respond to climate change, the IFAD-funded Adaptation in African Agriculture (AAA) initiative promotes and fosters the implementation of specific projects to improve soil management, agricultural water control and climate risk management. Proponents believe the initiative can be a platform for a stronger collective voice for adaptation in African agriculture, and a means to contribute to countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or climate action plans.

Although Africa is only responsible for 4 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is particularly vulnerable to climate change. In fact, 6 out of the 10 most affected countries are African, and the Continent will face a 20 per cent decrease in agricultural yields by 2050, even if global warming is limited to 2°C. Already, its negative effects are reducing Africa’s gross domestic product by 1.4 per cent annually.

Meanwhile, adaptation projects worldwide mobilise only 20 per cent of public climate funds. Even though it accounts for 16 per cent of the global population, Africa attracts only 5 per cent of available resources.

“Smallholders cannot shoulder the costs of making agriculture more sustainable alone. In Africa, there is a need for better policies that promote technical assistance, smarter subsidies that incentivise adoption of climate-smart practices and broader access to land, financial products, infrastructure and markets,” said Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division.

The AAA initiative, therefore, is a programme for resilient agriculture in Africa that promotes better working conditions for small rural producers. It focuses on funding soil fertility, arboriculture and agroforestry, greater carbon sequestration in soils, rolling out agricultural insurance, and broadening coverage of meteorological information and early warning systems. To implement its agenda, it is seeking US $30 billion in public climate funds.

Furthermore, many of the solutions to climate and food challenges can be found at the intersection of Africa, agriculture and adaptation. 65 per cent of the world’s unused arable land is in Africa, making it a potential breadbasket for a growing population. Generally, small farming systems are still traditional and therefore able to modernize very quickly (using digital tools, new farming techniques, and renewable energy). And finally, agriculture is a huge source of jobs, especially for young people capable of adopting more science-based and business-oriented modifications to agricultural practices.

As a sense of urgency to address climate change and food insecurity starts to permeate the corridors of high political offices, the AAA initiative is a welcome contribution to development solutions for Africa.

Written by: Ricci Symons

Here at COP22, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held a high level interactive discussion on the role international trade can play in helping countries implement their nationally determined contributions in the battle against climate change.

Coming together for better results

“We need to look at a platform for UN agencies to have a dialogue, starting here, but continuing on, so we can continue to exchange ideas and head towards carbon emission reduction. All parties should cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic system, leading to sustainable economic growth, allowing them to take measure to combat climate change,” said William Agyemang-Bonsu of the UNFCCC.

Bonapas Onguglo from UNCTAD followed on from William, stating, “economic diversification and meeting NDCs go hand in hand. Now we need to tap into vast resources in the public and private sectors in order to transfer to a low-carbon economy.

“It is important to stabilise the environmental regime so that we can stabilise the trade regime,” Bonapas added. “To transfer to a low-carbon economy, we need businesses at every level and in every sector. But it cannot be global top-down, but rather needs to be from the bottom up. Meeting climate goals, means meeting international trade demands, we need to create the need for green goods, and then make sure we can supply that demand.”

Innovation and technology

Anders Aeroe of the International Trade Centre (ITC) posed the following question: how does the Paris agreement impact small and medium enterprises? He spoke of the worries of managing a ‘just transition’ to a low-carbon economy. Especially when you consider high unemployment rates and poverty. He went on to say, “climate policies can have a positive side for businesses. There are opportunities for those that are willing to innovate.”

Aik Hoe Lim from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) added, “Economic diversification doesn’t exist without taking trade into account. And not just trade but also climate efficiency.”

He believes that the first point of action should be on reducing cost of key climate technologies, and speeding up production. Reiterating what was said earlier, he believes that the demand needs to be created and encouraged, and then crucially it needs to be met.

WTO are concentrating on tariffs on important tech like LED bulbs or solar cookers. The average tariff may be low, but you have lots of tariff peaks-ranging 35-100 per cent of the cost. This is one area where work can be done to reduce costs and eventually eliminate tariffs on climate goods.

There is also an argument that trading internationally can encourage producers to raise their environment standards and innovate. When there are agreed international standards, this can only help. There is already a move towards harmonisation with international standards. Rising from one per cent in 2000, it was already at 27 per cent last year, with a projection of 50 per cent by 2040.


Climate smart agriculture

IFAD’s Director Margarita Astralaga gave the IFAD point of view on trade. She talked about how food is a primary commodity, universally needed, but as we all know, agriculture is part of the problem, as the second net producer of greenhouse gas emissions. “Therefore the primary sector needs to be brought on board. The agriculture sector can help us produce more food whilst at the same time reducing our carbon footprint,” she went on to say.

Margarita gave an insight into how IFAD works. When talking about climate smart agriculture (CSA), she highlighted how it has been practiced by indigenous peoples for ages, and what IFAD does is to bring that back while also complimenting it with new technology, and expanding its implementation.

“93 per cent of the developing world NDCs talk about CSA. With it, we offset millions of tonnes of CO2. We now know we need to still produce more food, by 2050 food production needs to go up at least 60 per cent. We have to marry food supply with reducing carbon footprint and trade.”

“We must get serious about fostering climate smart development pathways,” she concluded.

Written by: Ilaria Firmian

Just like last year in Paris, IFAD participated in the Development & Climate Days during COP22.

Following the success of last year's Taste the Change session on rethinking our climate choices through food, this year IFAD brought the artist Silas Birtwistle to contribute to a session on  ‘Climate, Culture and Cuisine: A taste of what’s to come’.

Links between culture and food

What is the link between the 16th century painter Arcimboldo, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper and a decorated ancient Egyptian pottery?

They all represent grapes and wheat, crops that are currently affected by climate change impacts, which means that they might no longer be represented as common goods on Mediterranean tables in the future.

©IFAD/I. Firmian

The participants shared their reflections on the existing linkages between cultural identity and food. These linkages are currently under threat because of climate change and its effects on agricultural production.
"Art can ask questions, start our imaginations, we can
think of the world in a different way," said Birtwistle
about his upcoming art work in collaboration
with IFAD. 

At the same time the participants agreed that food and art can be used to communicate messages about climate to a broad audience and eventually bring behavioural change - because for behavioural change to happen being inspired at a personal level is what matters. And the more senses that are involved in this process, the more effective is the learning and possibly the change.

Silas Birtwistle introduced his upcoming art work in collaboration with IFAD: human heads made entirely of fruit and vegetables sourced locally from around  Cancun and under threat from the changing climate in Mexico.  He will use them to sensitize negotiators at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) next month.

"Art can ask questions, start our imaginations, we can think of the world in a different way," said Birtwistle. "Part of what I am attempting to do is shine a light on the big picture while looking at the miniatures, at the microcosms, and give voice to the people who have helped me to do that in different places."


Building resilience in communities

With a similar but different approach, a group of young Moroccan chefs presented their recipes to shift consumption away from such a meat-based diet.

‘Climate, Culture and Cuisine’ was just one among many sessions that touched different topics, from social protection, to indigenous knowledge, to linkages between research and action.

©IFAD/I. Firmian


With the innovative and highly participatory interaction that always characterizes the Development & Climate Days virtual reality, poems and even flash mobs, were used to communicate messages that stand at the core of IFAD’s business. To quote Mary Robinson’s words during the high-level closing panel ‘I am pleased by the emphasis on building resilience in communities that was run through all sessions in this meeting. The local is as important as the national and the global when it comes to implementation’



Written by Nerina Muzurovic

©IFAD/N. Muzurovic

A changing climate and unpredictable weather have an enormous impact on food production. When people can’t grow food due to changing weather patterns, they migrate, threatening food security of entire countries.

The changes in the Al Haouz province of Morocco provide a good example of how local farmers’ resilience to climate change can be improved thanks to innovative technologies. Better irrigation has led to higher crop yields, increased available drinking water, and improved job opportunities for young people living in the area.

An irrigation system changes the land—and lives

A decade ago, this stretch of land in a small village of Sidi Badhaj, located in Morocco’s mountainous Al Haouz region was completely barren: fallow ground, empty and dry.

In 2009, an IFAD-financed project provided technical support to introduce drip irrigation technology, here. The new system allowed farmers to irrigate both the olive trees that are their main source of income, and the vegetables - fava beans, melons, green peas - that feed their families.

Just a year after the irrigation system was installed, farmers were already seeing results. Thanks to the irrigation, they no longer have to depend on the rain, and are now able to water their fields year round, including during the dry summer. Incomes stabilized, and migration decreased. The new vegetation also created a new micro-climate: The earth became softer and less dry, thanks to the plants, which also produce more oxygen.

Now, local farmers would like to further improve the irrigation system by installing solar water pumps.

Climate resilience brings jobs back to rural areas in Morocco

According to 30 year-old Mr Abdelatif El Badaoui, Treasurer of the Amghrass cooperative,
“Young people used to migrate to the city for work,” he said. “Now, they can
help provide support to farmers.”
©IFAD/N. Muzurovic

The Agricultural Value Chain Development Project in the Mountain Zones of Al-Haouz Province also introduced a specially-designed model that trained young people to become agricultural service providers. The approach was effective: farmers are now paying for agricultural support themselves. As a result, young service people are able to earn 228,000 Moroccan dirham (equivalent to 22,000 euro) for four months of work. Today, some 17 youth are employed by the Sidi Badhaj cooperative as agricultural service providers: seven women and ten men. There are seven service provider groups (équipes metiers) in total in the nearby rural communes.

Agricultural support providers are organized through an agricultural cooperative. This has had an important impact on young people, who used to have to migrate to the city in order to find work.
Now, young people are trained by the provincial directorate of agriculture. In addition to vocational training, they also receive technical equipment and machinery. This allows them, in return, to provide support to farmers. They help with everything from equipment to work that directly involves the olive trees: from treatment (to protect the trees from getting sick) to pruning. 

As a result of their services, the productivity of olives has improved. For example, some 1,200 hectares of olive trees have been planted since 2010. Before, farmers in the area produced 20 kg per tree; today, production has increased to 120 kg per tree. The quality of oil has also improved. Some 90 per cent of the producers are adopting new approaches to pruning, collecting olives and storing them. Electrical machinery to collect olives, as well as scissors, are among the equipment provided by the project. 

Now that the farmers’ awareness of the benefits of the services of the young service providers has increased, many have entered into yearly contracts with the young people. The lives of the young service providers have improved, and they are not thinking of migrating. 

Do women and men do the same type of work? “Before women used to work at home, and now they are participating increasingly in these activities as a family activity," explained one of the farmers. The work that women do include: collection, pruning, plant protection treatment, fertilizer application, and other tasks. 

Producers, we learned, are interested in renewable energies. They have provided a business plan for installation of solar water pumps to replace the motor pumps they are now using. 

What about climate change? “Everything used to be dry,” said Mr Abdelatif El Badaoui. “Now, thanks to micro-climactic change due to vegetation and green cover, the rain has come back.” Still, locals are noticing decreasing and infrequent precipitation, drought and floods. 

Adaptation to climate change and soil conservation 

The ravines, at this site, are a perfect example of soil erosion—a good point of contrast to the visible
improvement of the plant cover nearby.
©IFAD/N. Muzurovic

A visit to Amghrass highlighted project impact on climate change and soil conservation. Originally, this area was used as grazing land. However, it became eroded, and farmers no longer earned income from pastoral activities and livestock here.

Before the project, this site was an eroded, marginal zone. However, with the IFAD-funded project, terracing was introduced, which allowed for water retention and cultivation of olive trees.

The ravines, at this site, are a perfect example of soil erosion—a good point of contrast to the visible improvement of the plant cover nearby. 

The overall land coverage of the project is 200,000 hectares, benefiting 700 rural people on 4 to 6 hectares of land.

How has life changed for people in Al Haouz?

Ms Tahra Ait Benazou, cooperative Tiwizi (first one on the right),
“The young people are here, now. I have three sons. They are here
with me, and they work in the field and in the cooperative.”
©IFAD/A. Valentini

The project owes much of its success to the participatory approach it adopted for implementation, in which local communities were first asked to identify their needs. These needs were then supported by the IFAD project, whose irrigation system helped locals improve their lives, helped reduce poverty and helped preserve the environment. 

There is no arguing, that climate change has made itself felt, here: “There is one good year in every five years,” said one farmer. “Last year was a dry year.” 

“All our projects are designed by and for beneficiaries. Thus, they are naturally adapted to local and cultural contexts. What we have found is that the people supported by our projects need to see with their own eyes that there will be a benefit to the type of services they would receive. They need to be convinced that there will be results before they decide to join in the activities. Once they are convinced, they are in the driving seat,” said Ms Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division.

Ms Najia Ghouat (third from the left): “When my daughter needs to buy a book, she no longer
asks her father for money. She comes to me. The work at the cooperative gave me
a greater sense of responsibility.”
©IFAD/N. Muzurovic






On 13 November 2016, IFAD organized a press trip on the margins of the COP22 to three selected project sites in the Al Haouz province, about 50 km south of Marrakech. Reporters from international and national media outlets joined the trip, including Thomson Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, ORF, and VTM, as well as local TV and print media. 

Fisheries and aquaculture in a changing climate

Posted by Ricci Symons Friday, November 11, 2016 0 comments

Fisheries and aquaculture are important contributors to food security and livelihoods. Fish provide essential nutrition for 3 billion people and 50 per cent of protein and essential minerals for 400 million people, mainly in poor countries (FAO, 2014). Many poor rural people rely on fisheries and aquaculture as their primary source of income and food security. Fisheries also contribute to household resilience and a reduced vulnerability to natural hazards and economic uncertainty.

What is the issue?

Climate change is having a devastating effect on the sea.

90 per cent of the heat being produced as a result of climate change is stored in the oceans, with 60 per cent in the upper 600m of surface waters,” said Manuel Barange, Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture at FAO.

The surface waters are where all the resources live. Climate change is bleaching corals, raising sea level, increasing the temperature and changing the pH of the oceans. None of this is good news for the myriad of life which calls the ocean home, or the people who rely on it.

But it is not always negative; climate change can also affect areas in positive ways. In colder regions temperature rises actually lead to an increase in production, but in the tropics, it can lead to death, migration, lower yields and changes in species. Species migration will lead to the greatest reductions in catches from inshore coastal waters where small-scale fishers operate.

“Species have temperature tolerance windows, when the temperature changes, they have only two options, move with the window or stay. Staying can have devastating effects, skewered distributions, changes in reproduction seasons, and death. Changes in reproduction seasons means that our current management tools, such as closure of fishing grounds in reproduction season, will no longer be effective,” Added Barange.

When it comes to the species on coral reefs – the reef cannot move – so when the temperature changes the negatively affected habitat disappears.

IFAD knows that we don’t know everything, but we know enough to act.

What can we do?

Fish is crucial for food security. More fish is eaten than pork, than chicken. With twelve per cent of the world depending on fisheries, how do we support communities and families through these changes?

We need to promote adaptation techniques, disseminate knowledge and put into practice other climate smart solutions. These can vary massively depending on the location. Fisheries can change the species they catch, to more abundant or local species. New innovative equipment can be made available, which limits the fisheries impact on the oceans. Alternatively, fisheries can reduce theirs yields, but opt for a higher quality of fish which would enable their incomes to be least affected.

In Djibouti, IFAD has tackled the problem as part of its US$ 55 million portfolio there, making fisheries a key element of its natural resource management program. Results are already positive: IFAD’s management and protection of over 50 per cent of local coastal habitats as well as some 70 per cent of local coral reefs has improved abundance of species, and generated better reliability in capture rate. 

Further, IFAD has designed geospatial mapping systems to monitor key ecosystems, such as mangrove forests and coral reefs, geared towards supporting healthy fisheries’ value chains. These geospatial tools have already provided a more precise picture of the country’s mangroves, which protect coastal communities from climate hazards. 


“Right now, the Government in Djibouti is using this information to take the next steps: Rehabilitating mangroves and fish breeding grounds, while providing fishing communities with credit to buy boats and equipment,” said IFAD's Jacopo Monzini.


Whilst the answer is not one hundred per cent clear Barange is sure that, “any solution will need to include the migration of people, and we need to facilitate that migration. At certain times, people will need to travel to where the fish are.“

Farmers' Day at COP22 Marrakech saw IFAD and CGIAR's research programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) host a side event on the “Economic advantage of agriculture in Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)” to complement the release of a new IFAD funded publication “The Economic Advantage”.

Laurie Goering from the Thomson-Reuters Foundation asked how do you show donors, who have a lot of people knocking on their doors for funding, that what you are doing is actually going to work and is it worthwhile?

We are seeing lots of new research which says putting money into agriculture is worth it and IFAD commissioned The Economic Advantage report to prove just that. It found that farmers could earn a return of between US$1.40 and $2.60 for each dollar invested over a 20-year period by applying climate change adaptation practices.


Sonja Vermeulen from CCAFS explained that agriculture has taken ages to get on the negotiating table.

"Almost every country now includes agriculture in their NDCs,” Vermeulen said. “This gives us a whole new platform for action.”

"So far the information is patchy and this report is not the definitive answer," according to Vermeulen. "But it does contain a lot of guiding information which will help development agencies and governments if they implement it into their own work."

Linking agriculture and climate change to a monetary value is extremely difficult. For example, El Niño hit the wine industry in South America, but in New Zealand it actually benefitted it.

“Agriculture is the life of the Ugandan people, hence its prioritisation,” said Chebet Maikut, Commissioner of the Climate Change Department of the Ugandan ministry of Water and Environment. He explained that in Uganda in the next five years US$476 million will be spent on climate smart agriculture.

From a climate change perspective, agriculture has a number of co-benefits in contributing to emission reductions. The Ugandan government found that the cost of not addressing climate change impacts would be in the region of US$406 million by 2025, and if still no action was taken that number would rise exponentially into the billions over the coming years.

“As such 30 per cent of our budget in the next 15 years will be mobilised to fight this,” concluded Maikut.

Alongside farm-level actions are a further set of non-technical mitigation and adaptation interventions, which are just as important but more difficult to quantify and value, says the report. These include capacity building, institutional strengthening, access to value chains and research. These climate resilient practices also have a demonstrated effect on food security both locally and globally.

IFAD's Ilaria Firmian discussed IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) which currently has over 40 projects. She talked about how IFAD embeds indicators into the project monitoring and evaluation system. Depending on the type of interve

ntion, they can track certain outcomes more specifically. For instance, they may monitor outcomes of farm income.

“We can identify real opportunities with real payback, which a few years ago couldn’t have happened!” continued Firmian.

“It is very tricky to put a value on certain adaptation techniques, such as investing in a women’s groups or cooperatives. However, this study shows that these investments are still very important though," added Firmian.

IFAD is committed to working with farmer’s organisations - when cooperatives become successful, a whole country can be transformed.

At the farm level, positive economic returns can be demonstrated for several practices that build adaptive capacity and reduce emissions intensity such as innovative rice cropping in Vietnam, or switching from growing coffee to cocoa in Nicaragua.

Laurie Goring closed the session saying, “I think we have to keep in mind when discussing this, the cost of not investing. The numbers are so much higher; it has to contribute to the case for making this happen.”

Improving gender equality in Bangladesh

Posted by Linh Le Thursday, November 10, 2016 0 comments


Written by: Members of the project team of the Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project (CCRIP), Bangladesh

Shova in her homestead garden. Photo credit, Aminul Islam, UISE















Gender equality is an essential component for sustainable economic development, and empowering rural women is vital to enable poor people to improve their livelihoods and overcome poverty. IFAD is addressing gender inequalities and discrimination by focusing on areas which can empower women economically and socially, including access to land, water, education, training, markets and financial services.

Providing equal opportunities for employment

In Bangladesh, the IFAD-supported Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project (CCRIP) introduced an approach called ‘Labour Contracting Society’ (LCS) that is gender responsive and focuses on poverty reduction. A Labour Contracting Society provides a way for women to improve their economic and social situation. The women’s wages, hours of work and benefits are equal to those of their male colleagues, and many invest their earnings in income generating activities.

The CCRIP targets extremely poor and disadvantaged people, mainly women, who have inadequate and often low-paying jobs, or live below subsistence level, to work with construction of project markets and roads. It has also selected poor women to be leaseholders of shops in the women section of the local market, and provided income generating activities trainings to LCSs members.  

According to the field survey report and project progress report, so far a total  of  5000  LCS  members  have  engaged  or  are engaging  in  market  and  road  construction  work  which  generates  short  term  employment  for 538,710 work-days. Women participation in construction work stands at 78 per cent against a target of 80 per cent.  In terms of leadership, the president and secretary  positions in a LCS are designated for women, and at least two out of eleven Market Management Committees are led by women. 

LCS  members,  men  and  women,  have already  showed  increased  self-confidence  as  a  result  of  becoming  LCS  members.  They earn an income that many of them could not generate before. In addition  women  specific  sections  within  the  market  platforms,  and  women shops  have  motivated  them  to  have  a  more  active  role  in  the  markets  and  in voicing their  views  on  community  decisions.

Shova's story

Shova Rani is one of the project participants. After ending a bad marriage she was left with the responsibility of running the household consisting of her two younger sisters, mother and her daughter. Shova and her family had to live in their neighbor's house for a few months. She says: “I was not very happy because we were really stretching their hospitality, but there was nothing much I could do. Then I heard that the CCRIP was developing Chutukhar Hat (the local market) under a contract with the LCS group members and I began to hope that their help would bring relief from this pain.”

The LCS that Shova and her sisters took part in was contracted to develop the Chutukhar Hat Market, and this presented an opportunity for them to earn a steady income. With help from the Upazila administration, they got housing materials to make a shelter and they were able to move out from their neighbor's house. Shova says: “In the months of distress, my mother had forgotten how to laugh. The day when the profit of the contract work of the market development was distributed among the members of the LCS was the first day she laughed again after a long time.”

With the income Shova received she built a new permanent home. Shova and her sisters also received livelihoods training and are making a business plan. “We will buy a cow which my sister will tend, along with the vegetable garden she is planning. And I will do fish farming and duck rearing. I hope our situation will improve so much that we never have to beg for help, ever again," she says.

By Alessia Valentini

How to “get real” about investments in gender equality in agriculture was the theme of today’s side event at COP22 on Building Women’s Resilience to Climate Change.

The event brought speakers from CARE International, the CGIAR's Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Programme (CCAFS) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), shared their experiences and lessons learned on promoting gender equality, looked at what is being done in practice and proposed ways to strengthen gender equality and women’s empowerment in agriculture adaptation programmes.

The main message conveyed by the panellists was that the impacts of climate change and climate variability are differentiated by gender. In fact, investments in smallholder agriculture, which are designed to improve resilience to climate change, are often significantly gender biased in terms of specific activities undertaken. This has implications on income sources and opportunities, livelihood diversification, access to and control over resources and benefits, and on the quality of life for men and women.

Emma Bowa shared experiences on CARE’s gender-responsive actions and said that climate change comes with opportunities which we should make accessible to women.

“What is important is to ensure that men and women sit down and make decisions together to improve their relationships and obtain better results,” said Bowa.

Ilaria Firmian presented IFAD’s gender policy and shared lessons learnt from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP).


“IFAD’s gender policy is based on promoting economic empowerment, enabling women and men to have an equal voice and influence in rural institutions and organisations, and achieve a more equitable balance in workload,” said Firmian. “The design of IFAD’s ASAP-supported projects is gender-sensitive and follows the agency’s gender policy objectives. However, the imperative for IFAD now is to build a clear understanding of how gender considerations in design translate into practice.”

Welcome to the Red City #COP22

Posted by Ricci Symons Monday, November 7, 2016 0 comments

Nearly one year after the watershed COP21 Climate Summit in Paris, governments have once again convened in Marrakech, Morocco for COP22 to move forward with the Paris Agreement and take stock of their collective efforts to curb dangerous climate change.

IFAD is here at COP22, making the case for investing in smallholder farmers, both to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly reaching zero hunger by 2030 (SDG2) and ensuring that smallholders are adequately supported so they can afford to adapt to changing climate patterns that will continue to impact on global food production. 


 At a packed-out opening ceremony, there were remarks by COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar, COP21 President Segolene Royal, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair, Hoesung Lee and the Mayor of Marrakech, Mohammed Larbi Belcadi, followed by a performance by a group of local drummers to set the beat for climate action over the next 11 days of the conference.

 "The rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement is unprecedented and sends a powerful signal of the world’s commitment to combatting climate change,” said COP21 President Segolene Royal as she opened COP22.

COP22 President Salaheddine welcomed everyone to the Red City, commenting how his country has spared no effort to provide the best possible conditions for this global event to ensure its success.
He said that holding the COP on African soil shows the continents commitment to reinforcing resilient ecosystems. He stressed that this effort would involve everyone and all countries, as, "the sun does not ignore a village just because it is small"" and all are affected by the blight of climate change.

"Let us make no mistake as to what is at stake here,’’ continued Salaheddine,"I call on you to be more ambitious during this conference on our commitments, working together to finalise the support mechanisms and expertise at every level from local to transboundary projects. This must be done through win-win partnerships. At stake now is not only climate change but civilisation and economic development. We must now promote sustainable development models which are innovatory and can transform the world, including the south."

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that this is the second COP in the shadow of the mighty Atlas Mountains. The city where the Marrakech accords were founded, and that just days ago, the Paris Agreement came into action here  uniting parties and stakeholders.

"We have embarked to change the course of two centuries of carbon emissions,’’ Espinosasaid. , "Marrakech is our moment to take forward climate action at both the international and national levels. Our work is far from done.  Together we can deliver the promise of Paris to billions of people on this planet, both today and for tomorrow.’’

Hoesung Lee talked of how COP22 is to be the COP of action.

There was an upbeat atmosphere as the Mayor of Marrakech closed the opening ceremony, again welcoming everyone and calling for ambitious negotiations and for everyone to build on last year’s successful talks. The ceremony closed with a special performance by a local traditional Moroccan drumming group, “Ostina Tono,”, which drew great applause and cheers as the COP22 officially kicked off.

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