Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, 17 March 2013
Mrs Joyce Mapunjo, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, launched today a ground-breaking study published under the title "Climate, Food, Trade: Where is the Policy Nexus?" The report was compiled by a team of experts who examined existing and missing linkages. Later during the day, participants discussed about future advocacy actions they would undertake to convert the study recommendations into actual policy change.
Gathered at Seascape hotel, in Dar-es-Salaam, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders were meeting for the third time under a regional project that aims to strengthen the policy and institutional linkages between the three inter-dependent issues of trade, climate change and food security. By doing so in the five member states of the EAC, it hopes to contribute to enhancing the ability of the people to feed themselves despite the worsening climate conditions, by harnessing the opportunities provided by trade and policy synergies.
"Crop failures in flooded areas, livestock deaths in increasingly arid lands and unaffordable food on markets are some of the common challenges facing millions of East Africans, and both the EAC Secretariat and the national governments are taking seriously the adaptation imperative. Yet, there are a number of opportunities for synergies between agriculture, food security, trade and environmental policies that still need to be harnessed." Said Julien Grollier of CUTS International's office in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Trade, indeed, plays a critical role in the food security equation, just as climate change does" informed Lucas Saronga, the acting Ambassador of Tanzania to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, who is regularly involved in the project. In fact, it is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and several levels of trade policy influence farmers' choices for growing and selling, set the price for agricultural inputs and food sold on local markets, and make climate change adaptation technologies more or less accessible etc. According to Solomon Baregu of ESRF, who coordinates the project in Tanzania, "Effective policy responses to climate-related hunger call for an inclusive, coordinated and coherent three-dimensional approach that takes all relevant aspects of trade on board, and most importantly these responses need to be owned by all relevant stakeholders in the region."
In parts of Tanzania like in the rest of the East African Community, climate change and repeated extreme weather events have put people at risk of food insecurity. This has already led the EAC member States to adopt a Regional Climate Change Policy and a Food Security Action Plan, in addition to the National Action Plans for Adaptation adopted by several members.
CUTS International's PACT EAC project aims to promote such three-dimensional responses by hearing from, informing, training and moving to action networks of relevant stakeholders. In Tanzania, stakeholders meet regularly since the project was launched in Arusha in February last year.
At this this third meeting, members engaged in focus group discussions to identify target audiences, suitable advocacy actions and their own potential role in getting the messages through. At other sessions, participants were also informed that the project will facilitate training workshops on these issues, in collaboration with the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (Trapca).
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