Concern joins groundbreaking alliance to support millions of African farmers facing climate change

June 25, 2014
Photo by REUTERS/James Giahyue

Aid agency among a select group of NGO partners.

NEW YORK — The African Union today announced that Concern Worldwide is one of a handful of international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) joining a landmark alliance of 10 diverse global partners whose goal is to reach six million farm families with new Climate-Smart Agriculture approaches over the next seven years.

The announcement was made by the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) at the 23rd African Union Summit on Agriculture and Food Security, taking place in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Known as the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance, the group will contribute to the African Union’s goal of helping 25 million farmers become more resilient and achieve food and nutrition security by 2025. It will do so by aligning international NGO and research activities around existing agricultural investment plans, increasing coherence and coordination for greater impact.

Concern joins partners including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), World Vision, CARE, and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in the new alliance.

Concern Worldwide CEO Dominic MacSorley attended the launch and said:

“This is a hugely exciting initiative and we are delighted that Concern has been invited to bring its expertise and knowledge to what is a unique global partnership. Every day, our teams on the ground not only see first-hand the impact of climate change but are assisting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people deal with the often catastrophic consequences.

“It is vital that the international community faces climate change with pioneering approaches like this that aim to quickly scale up on-farm assistance and link to technological advances. This new alliance is designed to achieve transformational impact; for women and men, for communities, and on agricultural systems, as they face floods, drought and other climate-related threats to their lives and livelihoods.”

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Notes for Editors:

The African Union – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU – NEPAD) officially launched the new Alliance today, June 25th 2014.

It was convened by NEPAD via the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

The 10 partners in the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance

Members of the Alliance include five NGOs who will lead scaling up activities: Concern Worldwide, CARE, World Vision and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Four technical partners will ensure the best, most up-to-date technical information and evaluation capacity. They are the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the African policy and advocacy NGO known as the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), the research consortium CGIAR, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

Why climate-smart agriculture?

Smallholder farmers represent 80 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s farming population, and suffer disproportionately in the face of droughts, floods and other weather-related events.

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more severe, threatening the reliability and productivity of agriculture, exacerbating already extreme levels of poverty, and reinforcing persistent inequity and chronic under-nutrition.

These problems can only be solved through the widespread adoption of more resilient, productive, sustainable, equitable and increasingly efficient farming practices.

Adopting Climate-Smart Agriculture practices can reduce the risks faced by smallholder farmers, as well as mitigate the effects of extreme weather events on farms.

Enhancing crop production through minimum tillage systems/conservation agriculture, evergreen agriculture and agroforestry systems, are key elements of the portfolio of CSA solutions. CSA offers a “triple win” for farmers:

  1. enhanced food security by sustainably increasing the reliability and productivity of agricultural livelihood activities;
  2. increased smallholder resilience and adaptation to the likely effects of climate change; and,
  3. where appropriate, and in the interest of smallholder farmers, reduced greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and improved carbon sequestration.

The Alliance will seek the best approaches to promote the resilience of African smallholder farmers, particularly women and vulnerable groups, focusing on methods to strengthen livelihoods, reduce inequities and increase the productivity and reliability of agricultural activities.

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