Africa Day: Pushing agri-climate justice to the policy level in Benin, The Gambia and Kenya

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By Dansira Dembele (CCAFS West Africa) and Seble Samuel (CCAFS East Africa)

Climate change doesn’t just stay up in the clouds. Diverse African countries are grounding policies in agri-climate resilience across the continent.

As a continent, Africa’s carbon footprint is miniscule, contributing between 3-4% of global emissions. In terms of climate vulnerability; however, the inverse is not true.

By next year, UN Environment predicts that due to climate change, 75 to 250 million people across Africa will be exposed to amplified water stress and rain-fed agriculture yields could fall by up to 50%. A damaging 2-4% annual gross domestic product (GDP) loss could accompany these climate threats in twenty years’ time and up to USD 50 billion in climate adaptation costs by mid-century.

For the agricultural realm, this puts food security on the frontlines. How are these realities shaping policies on the ground? Take a look at the processes and movements in Benin, The Gambia and Kenya.

Benin takes important steps towards climate change adaptation


Source: Climate-Smart Agriculture in Benin

Benin’s agricultural sector is feeling the full brunt of climate change. The country is exposed to droughts and floods that are increasing the threats to agricultural livelihoods. To adequately face the negative mid-century forecasts, major efforts are underway in the country regarding climate adaptation. Various national strategies, policies and programs are implemented to ensure agricultural development is strengthened.

The National Committee on Climate Change (CNCC), a multi-stakeholder platform in Benin, has been created to advance the country’s institutional framework on climate change. The CNCC provides support in the formulation of both national and local policies and strategies for combating the negative impacts of climate change. A number of policies and programs related to climate change are being implemented in order to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems and water management:

The Gambia commits to finding adequate climate solutions


Source: Climate-Smart Agriculture in The Gambia

Across The Gambia, climate change realities are characterized by increasing average temperatures and a rainfall regime that is decreasing in amount while increasing in variability, creating a permanent threat of decreased agricultural production and reduced food security. The Gambia CSA country profile demonstrates that mainstreaming climate adaptation and mitigation into agricultural and economic development policies will be a key factor in supporting the financing and adoption of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices on a large scale.

Calls to action from the international community, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), have mobilized The Gambia’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources to implement robust responses to climate risks. Currently, the country holds a draft climate change policy waiting for enactment by parliament as well as in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) submission to the UNFCCC. The Gambia has put into place strategic policy instruments aiming to cope with climate change challenges:

Kenya boasts a brand new CSA framework

Source: Climate-Smart Agriculture in Kenya

Kenya generates nearly one third of its revenue from agriculture. The presence of longer and more frequent dry periods, mixed with shorter and erratic rainfall patterns, has led to livestock losses, crop failures and a struggle for livelihoods.

To surmount these challenges, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation (MoALFI) launched the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Implementation Framework 2018-2027 in October 2018. The strategy lays the groundwork for implementing CSA in Kenya, creating climate-resilient and low-carbon pathways for the country’s food systems. This CSA policy comes into being against the backdrop of further climate and agricultural policies in Kenya:

To make it all happen, a multi-stakeholder platform is in the making. The participants are a force of interdisciplinary agricultural experts that coordinate and disseminate CSA planning and implementation across Kenya. This includes profiling the country’s CSA interventions, strengthening the capacities of all stakeholders engaged in the CSA space, harnessing investment opportunities for CSA and supporting data gathering and generation to influence policymakers and decision making.


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Hazards Drought
Country and region Benin Gambia, Republic of The Kenya
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