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A look back at the 4th Sustainable Intensification Conference
Bannière de la conférence pour le PASS-LCD

A look back at the 4th Sustainable Intensification Conference

On April 23, 24 and 25, the 4th edition of the Sustainable Intensification Conference was held in Dakar, focusing on solutions to strengthen the resilience and adaptability of Sahelian agriculture.  

CID2024: the scientific meeting place for agro-ecology in West Africa

This scientific event, co-organized by the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA), the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), the Dynamique pour une transition agroécologique au Sénégal (DyTAES) and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), aims to bring together researchers, academics, students, experts, and professionals to share the latest scientific findings and discuss the challenges and opportunities for sustainable agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. 

The conference opened with a speech by Professor Daouda Ngom, Senegal’s new Minister for the Environment and Ecological Transition. Professor Daouda Ngom outlined the challenges facing the conference and invited the entire scientific community and stakeholders to continue their efforts to deepen our knowledge of the environmental, climatic, health, and economic challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa.  

The meeting was punctuated by four sessions, two round tables, and a side-event.  

Agro-ecological transition and food sovereignty in West Africa: what civil society is saying  

The round table, organized by DyTAES, aims to illustrate achievements and advances in agro-ecological transition, while questioning the role of policies and identifying challenges for agro-ecological transitions. Panelists are respectively from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), DyTAES, the Conseil National de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux (CNCR), the Union Haguruka des Coopératives Multifilières (UHACOM) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSAfrica).   

Four main points emerged from the discussions:  

  • Encourage close collaboration between farmers’ organizations and scientists; 
  • The State must play its part by actively supporting research and training in the field of agroecology; 
  • Real work needs to be done on the availability of scientific data to convince governments to support the transition to agroecology; 
  • It is necessary to strengthen existing movements and initiatives in favor of agroecology, such as the Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et de Producteurs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA), the Alliance pour une Agriculture Durable en Afrique de l’Ouest (3AO) and DyTAES.

Civil society mobilizes to put sustainable intensification on the agenda of the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)  

The initial aim of this first round table was to prepare the key messages to be carried at COP16, scheduled to take place in Riyadh from December 02 to 13, 2024. Following this exchange, a position paper will be drawn up, based on the first elements discussed.  

The discussion brought together four researchers from IRD, CIRAD, and Think Tank IPAR, two representatives of farmers’ organizations – la Fédération des associations paysannes de la région de Louga (FAPAL) and la Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes du Mali (CNOP-M) – and contributions from the public.  

Each panelist was able to give a diagnosis of the state of soils and ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as existing potentialities. On the one hand, they all warned of soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, and their consequences for populations and ecosystems. On the other hand, they emphasized the dynamics to be encouraged, such as collaborative efforts between research and producers, integration between crops and livestock, and the existence of endogenous solutions.  

Finally, the panelists put forward the first recommendations to be taken forward to COP16 : 

  • They stressed the importance of strengthening data collection and processing to gain a more detailed understanding of the state of land and ecosystem degradation;  
  • A collaborative and holistic approach is needed;  
  • Coordination between research, producer organizations, governments, and other civil society players needs to be strengthened;  
  • Work needs to be done on pre-existing indicators, and the issue of carbon needs to be taken further; 
  • The State must make a full commitment to research and training in agroecology; 
  • COP decisions must be transcribed clearly and comprehensibly for all players, especially producers. 

This 4th edition reaffirmed that agro-ecological transition is not only a viable but essential path to ensuring the resilience and sustainability of Sahelian agriculture. To achieve this, it must be supported by close collaboration between all players in research, civil society, the private sector, government, and international organizations. 

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