Kusamala’s Executive Director and Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Molly Cheatum and Chisomo Kamchacha respectively, participated in 1st AFRICA

UENPFood Security & Adaptation Conference 2013: Harnessing Ecosystem based Approaches for Food Security and Adaptation to Climate change In Africa. The conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya from the 20-21, 2013. The event was co-organized by United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), bringing together business leaders, scientists, representatives of governments and civil society to share experiences on ecosystem based approaches to food security and adaptation to climate change in Africa, and eventually make a declaration which will be submitted to the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment scheduled for October, 2013 in Gaborone as they preparation for the Conference of Parties 19 (COP 19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Among many presentations, Chisomo Kamchacha presented on a UNEP

permaculture and agroecology project in Malawi implemented by Kusamala. The presentation acknowledged that the majority of the population in Malawi are farmers and nearly 60% experience year round food insecurity which is attributed to cutting down of trees, clearing and burning of fields, which leaves the soil susceptible to erosion and exposed to extensive sunlight leading to nutrient loss. Heavy dependence on expensive farm inputs like inorganic fertilizer, which do not necessarily build the soil structure, and mono-cropping maize are important factors exacerbating food insecurity in the country. The presentation looked at a project implemented by Kusamala and the Red Soil Project and showed how it utilized an ecosystem-based approach (permaculture and agroecology) in order to address and enhance food security and climate change adaptation. The ecosystem based approach used in the project was Permaculture and Agroecology.

A drafting committee met before and during the conference to produce, respectively, a set of recommendations and conclusions, and a declaration for consideration by the conference. These conclusions and recommendations were made based on the presentations and discussions held during the conference, including experiences shared, approaches proposed, and lessons learned during implementation of Ecosystem based Approaches projects. They also included sections on policy and planning, capacity building, implementation, demonstration projects, and research and development.

By the end of the conference, the drafting committee had produced declaration that was adopted by the participants. However they requested that the drafting committee further refine and streamline the document, taking into account the various suggestions presented and additional inputs submitted to UNEP before the end of the conference.

In the operative section of the Declaration, the Conference, inter alia:

  • Recognizes Ecosystem based approaches as the first step towards regenerating biodiversity, building resilient food systems and adapting to climate change in Africa;
  • Resolves the Ecosystem based approaches should be up-scaled and funded;
  • Appeals to UNEP and the FAO to, among other things, request governments and regional bodies to institutionalize Ecosystem Based Approaches into national policy frameworks for food security and climate change adaptation; and
  • Urges African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) to Africa Food Security Conference Group picture-adopt the recommendations and declaration of the First African Food Security and Adaptation Conference.

Find more information on the conference outcomes by following the links below.

http://www.iisd.ca/food/afsc1/brief/afsc1_brief.pdf  http://www.iisd.ca/food/afsc1/brief/afsc1_brief.html