REPUBLIC OF COTE D’IVOIRE

Union – Discipline – Labor

SIDE EVENT ON THE AFRICAN AGRICULTURE ADAPTATION INITIATIVE

Marrakech, November 16, 2016

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Honorable Aziz AKHANNOUCH, Minister for Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries of the Kingdom of Morocco;

Honorable Stéphane LE FOLL, French Minister of Agriculture and Agroforestry;

Honorable Ministers of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries;

Honorable Graziano DA SILVA, Director-General of FAO;

Ladies and Gentlemen, development partners;

Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols observed;

Dear participants;

Let me say beforehand that, on behalf of the African Ministers of Agriculture and on my own behalf, I would like to express my pride as an African to the Moroccan authorities for the quality of the organization of this global event.

His Majesty the King Mohamed VI – may God help him - by his leadership, works each day for the influence and visibility of an unabashed Africa.

Honorable Minister for Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries of Morocco and dear friend, you, as one of the main organizers of this event, are kindly requested to convey to our Majesty our infinite recognition and our admiration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At COP22, the COP for action, I have to be clear. We are here to give to agriculture its rightful place in the debate on climate change.

Indeed, COP21 has been a historic success. However, it has not made it possible to measure the relevance of a contribution made by the agricultural sector, particularly in Africa, to the challenge of global warming, and to draw all the consequences, particularly those linked to the necessary investments in this sector.

I would therefore like to pay tribute to the French Minister of Agriculture whose 4 per 1000 initiative makes it possible, through the sequestration of carbon in the soil, to position agriculture not only as one of the problems, but also as one of the solutions to greenhouse gas emissions.

I would like to recall that agriculture is one of the main victims of climate change. As a result of population growth, we will have to produce more with fewer and fewer natural resources available to meet the ever-increasing food needs of humankind.

With more than two thirds of the planet's natural resources still available, Africa is at the heart of the global food security challenge. Its agriculture therefore deserves, if only for this reason alone, a better attention from the decision-makers gathered here at COP22.

Moreover, our continent, which is responsible for only 4% of greenhouse gas emissions, is the most affected by the impacts of climate change and the most fragile in terms of adapting its means of agricultural production.

Mitigating emission is certainly the solution to contain and even halt global warming. But if we bring it the scale of the continent, I still wonder what that means. Indeed, even if Africa succeeds in eliminating all its emissions, this it would only have an imperceptible impact on the climate.

The challenge for us, therefore, is to adapt our development model and therefore our means of production, particularly agricultural, to the effects of climate change, with the support of the developed countries.

Therefore, and without reservations, we came, in our capacity as President of the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Africa, to promote with Minister Aziz AKHANNOUCH the African Agriculture Adaptation Initiative, AAA in short.

This initiative seeks not only the promotion of adaptation solutions for African agriculture, but even more than this, the equitable distribution of the announced resources between mitigation and adaptation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From the above, the African Agriculture is entitled to expect from developed countries substantial resources and technical assistance.

Our expectation is all the more justified because we pay to Nature and more than the rest of the world, the development bill of the so-called advanced countries.

Indeed, as French President François HOLLANDE said yesterday at the opening of this COP22, 36 of the 50 countries most affected by climate change in the world are African. Our continent today has more than 10 million climate refugees. Moreover, in Africa, contrary to a widespread belief, it is not agriculture that is the main cause of accelerated deforestation on the continent, but forestry that continues to feed industrialized countries.

My country did not move in less than half a century from 16 million hectares of forests to less than 2 million hectares simply because of simple family farming. This is why we believe that most of the resources devoted to adaptation need to go back to African Agriculture.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Once the commitments concerning the announced resources will be met, the establishment of a global thermometer to measure the efforts of each country and reward them accordingly will become necessary. This step is a challenge for the experts of the planet. But the development of some relevant, structured adaptation programs that are capable of mobilizing the announced resources and African governance, particularly the one related to agriculture, are challenges for African experts.

Here I would like to call upon the African institutions, in particular the African Development Bank, which hosts us this afternoon, to meet the challenges we face.

Indeed, in addition to the climate challenge, we are very concerned about those of immigration and terrorism.

The continent's common response to these challenges is the creation of wealth shared in the field by a structured and diversified economy, of which agriculture is, in our opinion, the spearhead.

 

Thank you for your kind attention.