Climate 'threat to African food security'
5 September 2011
The food security threat posed by climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the African continent, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.
"Africa has the responsibility to feed the world as well as its own African people, but we are faced with enormous climate change constraints such as severe drought, floods dreadful diseases," Joemat-Pettersson told BuaNews on Friday.
She was speaking in Pretoria at a breakfast briefing today with African ambassadors to solicit support for the upcoming African Ministerial Conference on Climate-smart Agriculture, taking place in Gauteng province on 13 and 14 September.
The conference is part of South Africa's build-up to the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place at Durban's International Convention Centre from 28 November to 9 December.
Africa to 'speak with one voice' at COP 17
"As African ministers responsible for agriculture, we want to go to the COP 17 conference with one idea of pushing for climate-smart agriculture," Joemat-Pettersson said.
"Speaking with one voice on agriculture as African ministers, food security, adaptation and mitigation will be our key focus of the new concept 'climate-smart agriculture' at the COP 17 conference."
Global warming and the rise of sea levels could threaten fisheries and shrink agricultural production in African.
DRC ambassador to South Africa Bene M'Poko said developed countries, who were the main cause of climate change, should commit to an absolute approach to curb the release of greenhouse gases at the COP 17 conference.
"These developed countries are also responsible for deforestation on the African continent ... and I am of the view that as Africans, we deserve to be compensated by those countries.
"Cancun gave us hope, but it was the developed countries who once again failed to show a stronger commitment to actually reduce greenhouse gases to avoid dangerous climate change," M'Poko said.
"So this time, we are of the view that [we should] become more active and ... become the leaders of this discussion, but to follow protocol as well."
M'Poko praised Joemat-Pettersson for coming up with the idea of getting African ministers together ahead of COP 17.
"This is a very good initiative and it is my view that the 'one voice' of African ministers at COP 17 will make international bodies and donors use research outputs to plan for and support adaptation by African people."