By Marine Henriot and Lisa Zengarini

Dec 7 2023

Programmes’ Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) speaks to Vatican News about its work to bring the voice of African small traditional producers at the climate negotiations in Dubai.

Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change. Warmer seasons, changes in precipitation and more frequent and severe extreme weather events have already impacted agricultural production in many countries, with effects on food price volatility and food security, especially in the Global South.

This vital economic sector is also part of the problem as it contributes 17% to greenhouse gas emissions, produced especially by intensive farming characterized by efficient processes that maximize production yield.

Integrating agriculture into climate action

Since 2011, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), gathering different civil society actors representing small farmers and herders, hunter/gatherers, and indigenous peoples, along with faith-based organizations and environment activists from across Africa has been advocating for traditional sustainable agriculture as a means to ensure food sovereignty in the continent.

Four years ago it launched a campaign to integrate agriculture into climate action.

AFSA Programmes’ Coordinator Bridget Mugabe is one of the many NGOs delegates attending the COP28 in Dubai to bring the voice of African small traditional producers at the climate negotiations.  

The critical issue of food sovereignty

She spoke to Vatican News’ Marine Henriot about its advocacy work at the conference.

 “This COP is just one of the events where we come to emphasise our agenda to ensure that agriculture is included in the COP28 final text,” Ms. Mugabe explained . “It’s a space which allows us to address the critical issues of food sovereignty and food production and markets in relation to climate action with our policymakers.”  

Its aim, she said, is to make the voice of the most vulnerable heard.

AFSA has organized several side events at COP28, it has released statements and is meeting several African leaders to draw the attention of negotiators to the critical importance of climate action for agriculture, and of sustainable agriculture to ensure food security in Africa.

According to Ms. Mugabe, it is important to show that civil society and religious actors across Africa are united in backing climate action in this sector.

However, she said, she is not sure if the African advocacy network will be able to have an impact on the outcome of the negotiations in Dubai. – Vatican News