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COP15: News from CARI at the Convention of the Parties
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COP15: News from CARI at the Convention of the Parties

As part of Désertif’actions, CARI organized a side-event on Thursday May 12 at the COP15 Africa Pavilion in Abidjan.

As part of Désertif’actions, CARI organized a side-event on Thursday May 12 at the COP15 Africa Pavilion in Abidjan. Also present were the Sahara and Sahel Observatory and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. This initiative, spearheaded by CARI and supported by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), belongs to all civil society organizations committed to combating desertification. The focus this year is on agroecology. As Nabil Ben Khatra, Executive Secretary of OSS, pointed out, agroecology has an essential role to play not only in terms of sustainable land management, but also in defining a different way of life for future generations.

The first phase of this initiative, which took place in the run-up to the COP, aimed to build a common advocacy, but also, as Ms Fatou Mar, coordinator at OSS, pointed out, to share experiences. To this end, 17 countries on 4 continents organized national workshops, to give a voice to players on the ground. An online consultation was also set up. Following these workshops, an international webinar was held, enabling a synthesis of the results to be drawn up, written by the OSS, which highlights the benefits of agroecology on eight themes that occupy the UNCCD.

Here are a few highlights:

  • In terms of food security, agroecology enables access to quality food, revalues the place of farmers in society, and forms the basis of sustainable, autonomous food systems. The combination of rational water management practices and organic fertilization results in a sustainable improvement in yields at low cost;
  • With regard to climate change, agroecology helps to secure agricultural production, for example by making the most of local knowledge in terms of cropping calendars and water-resistant varieties;
  • With regard to drought, a key element of this COP15, agroecology contributes to reducing risk factors, thus securing agricultural production, and enables water-saving management. For example, techniques such as zaï prevent runoff and improve soil water infiltration.

The results also addressed land degradation neutrality, the Great Green Wall, biodiversity, the One Health approach and ecosystem restoration. Thematic fact sheets have been produced on these results, to make them accessible to as many people as possible and to enable all players, particularly those from civil society, to appropriate and support them, particularly during COP15.

All this work has also resulted in the development of targets – governments, research and education, and international organizations – and messages aimed at them. For example, for international organizations, the common messages identified are to strengthen and facilitate access to financing for agroecological practices, and to invite the UNCCD and UNFCCC and other international and regional organizations to join the FAO AE Scaling Up Initiative. As Patrice Burger, President of CARI, emphasized at the end of the event, the solutions do exist. The challenge now is to encourage their deployment on a larger scale.

Désertif’actions 2022 will culminate in an international summit in October. This meeting will provide an opportunity to review the decisions taken at the COP, to see to what extent the demands of CSOs have been taken into account, and to draw up a common roadmap. To find out more and register, go to: desertif-actions.org

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