The EAC Secretariat in partnership with Partner States and with support from CUTS International, Geneva convened this EAC Climate Change negotiators' workshop in order to develop a common position and prepare an EAC submission to UNFCCC on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture. The resulting regional submission proposes a roadmap and identifies negative impacts of climate change on agriculture, stressing its importance for “enhancing food security, providing raw materials for local agro-processors and exports”.
Parties at UNFCCC COP23, held in Bonn, Germany, in November 2017, adopted an agriculture decision, the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA). To ensure that a common EAC position on the same are evidence-based, the EAC Secretariat in partnership with Partner States and with support from CUTS International, Geneva convened an EAC Climate Change negotiators' workshop and pre-SBSTA/SBI48 meeting on KJWA, a strategic meeting in preparation of the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) Strategy Meeting scheduled for April 2018 and the 48th SBSTA/SBI session to be held in May 2018.
The objective of the workshop was to: (i) Deepen understanding among the Partner States on the rationale underpinning the KJWA and its implications on agriculture in the region; (ii) Develop a common position on issues of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture; and (iii) Prepare an EAC submission to UNFCCC on the KJWA.
The workshop discussed the journey leading to and elements of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, the SBSTA and SBI work, and reflected on EAC agriculture and climate change knowledge gaps on priorit areas in the region. The workshop developed a common EAC position on issues covered unde the KJWA to feed into the AGN Strategy meeting as well as the first-ever EAC submission to UNFCCC.
Development of a Common EAC Position
Based on the common position of EAC Member States on KJWA at COP23, the next step is to come up with issues for discussion in the SBSTA and SBI. The participants went through various EAC as well as specific country specific documents and related them to the topics in KJWA. Realising very clear similarities in the priority issues for countries and the region, the participants made a decision to have a common position on the issues of KJWA.
Preparation of the EAC Submission to UNFCCC on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture
Agriculture having been prioritised through the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture and with the EAC region experiencing negative impacts of climate change, the participants came up with recommendations of issues to be contained in the submission to SBSTA and SBI. Priority areas include: (i) early warning systems and contingency plans; (ii) vulnerability assessment and risk management; and technology and knowledge transfer.
The workshop observed the need for Partner States to have shared wishes and direction on issues of environment, agriculture and climate change because the situation and cause of the countries is the same and the necessity to cooperate in implementation of agriculture and food security matters as guided by the regional priorities contained in the EAC Policy documents.
Guided by the regional documents, negotiators from the EAC should have common information, be able to speak the same language, use common approaches, hold the same position and defend it in negotiating forums.
Partner States need to identify and consider buffer zones along lake areas, water lands, rivers etc. as bufer zones in which to put more emphasis and provide the communities in these zones with adequate alternative livelihoods.
There is need for joint mobilisation of funds for environment agriculture, clean energy for sustainable management of resources in the region and to explore how countries in the region can earn carbon credits from resources like national reserves, natural forests, tea plantations etc.
The workshop further recommended: (i) EAC Secretariat to upload the submission on the UNFCCC website by 31st March 2018; (ii) EAC Secretariat to create awareness of this submission to the Partner States; (iii) Partner States to adopt and internalise the submission; (iv) The EAC negotiators to strive towards a common position and voice on issues of agriculture and climate change during UNFCCC negotiations; and (v) EAC Secretariat and Partner States to have dedicated financial resources set aside by financial mechanisms under the UNFCCC in particular Green Climate Fund (GCF) as recently demonstrated with the REDD+ in order to adress vulnerabilities of agriculture to climate change and to ensure food security.