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Addressing climate change in the Tripartite FTA: Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in eastern and southern Africa


Addressing climate change in the Tripartite FTA: Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in eastern and southern Africa

Willemien Viljoen, tralac Researcher, discusses the Tripartite Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Climate change poses a serious challenge to sustainable economic and socio-economic development in developing and least-developed countries. This is especially the case for countries in Africa, due to their reliance on rain-fed agriculture for economic growth and development, trade and food security. It is projected that by 2020, 75 to 250 million people in Africa will be exposed to increased water stress, and yields from rain-fed agriculture could be decreased by up to 50 percent, posing a severe challenge for food security in the region.

In order to address these issues the Heads of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed the Tripartite Agreement for the Implementation of the Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Eastern and Southern Africa at the 19th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government in Ethiopia on 15 July 2012 (download the Decisions and Declarations from the Summit here). The signing of this Agreement allows for the inclusion of climate change issues as one of the areas of cooperation under the Tripartite Negotiations Framework.

The three RECs jointly developed the five year Programme focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation in the COMESA-EAC-SADC region with the key objective of addressing the impacts of climate change through adaptation and mitigation aimed at socio-economic resilience through Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). CSA is defined as ‘agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces or removes GHGs (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals’ (FAO, 2010).

The goal of the Programme is to attract new and increase current investment in climate resilient and carbon efficient agriculture, with its linkages to forestry, land-use and energy practices by 2016. To reach this goal the RECs have identified seven specific objectives to attain through the Programme: (a) mitigation with carbon trading benefits; (b) inclusion of climate change issues in nation planning; (c) increase access to adaptation funds and other climate change financing sources and mechanisms; (d) enhance adoption of CSA in the region; (e) strengthening research and training capacity; (f) implementation of climate vulnerability assessments and analysis; and (g) establishment of a regional facility to support national investment in CSA programmes.

Some of the expected outcomes associated with the successful implementation of the Programme include the following:

  • Enhanced human and institutional capacity in the Secretariats of the three RECs;

  • Development of CSA on a national and regional level;

  • Creation of supporting infrastructure and services needed for conservation agriculture;

  • Implementing at least 14 investment projects in conservation agriculture;

  • Competitive research on climate change related issues;

  • Developing knowledge centres and the international transfer of knowledge;

  • Widely adopted mitigation solutions and technologies;

  • Carbon trading benefitting the COMESA-EAC-SADC region; and

  • New and increased current investments in mitigation and adaptation programmes.

The responsibility of the Programme is in the hands of the Council of Ministers through existing Tripartite reporting structures, while the Climate Change Unit of COMESA and Programme Coordination Units in the EAC and SADC are responsible for the management of the Programme. One of the key components of the Programme is the monitoring and evaluation of all activities and actions implemented under the Programme. The COMESA Climate Change Unit (Monitoring and Evaluation Division and Department) is the body responsible for monitoring and evaluating all aspects of the implementation and functioning of the Programme.



Global Climate Change Alliance (www.gcca.eu), TradeMark Southern Africa


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