Speaking at a forum in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, the scientists acknowledged Africa’s growing hunger crisis, stressing that a durable solution hinged on transiting to climate-smart food production methods.
Yan Zhuang, the director of the International Cooperation Program at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said combating the climate crisis and other ecological threats in Africa will place the continent on a path to long-term food security, adding that greater South-South cooperation is imperative to boost climate response in Africa and hasten the realization of UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 2 on eradicating hunger in the continent.
About 100 Chinese and African scientists are attending the third conference on climate, ecosystems, and livelihoods taking place in Nairobi to discuss innovative ways to enhance food and nutrition security in Africa.
Convened by the United Nations Environment Programme-International Ecosystem Management Program (UNEP-IEMP), a joint venture between the UNEP and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the two-day forum will also discuss environmental sustainability as a building block for Africa’s ability to feed its citizens in the future.
Aggie Konde, vice president of Program Innovation & Deliver at the Nairobi-based Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said there was an urgency to climate-proof agricultural systems in the continent, regenerate soil and boost crop yield at the smallholder level. Konde noted that 20 percent of Africa’s population, or 282 million people, are food insecure and undernourished, and stressed that scaling up climate adaptation finance and habitat restoration would be key to sustainable food production.
Speedy action on the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution will be a prerequisite to strengthening the resilience of Africa’s food systems, said Susan Gardner, the director of the UNEP’s Ecosystems Division.
According to Gardner, greater uptake of nature-positive farming methods will not only guarantee food security in Africa but also hasten the continent’s transition to a greener and more resilient future.
Clemens Breisinger, Kenya country program leader and senior research fellow at the Washington DC-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), said establishing resilient agri-food systems in Africa in the face of climate change, pandemic disruptions, and conflicts should be anchored on policy reforms, improved governance and building the capacity of smallholder farmers.