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Appraisal of COMESA Programme in Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the ESA (COMESA-EAC-SADC) region and CFU Pilot Conservation Agriculture Activities in selected countries in the ESA-COMESA-SADC region

The Programme on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the ESA (COMESA-EAC-SADC) Region is a five-year seed capital initiative starting in 2010 that claims to inject Africa’s Unified Position on Climate Change into the post-2012 UNFCCC global agreement whilst concurrently promoting strategic interventions that sustain productivity and livelihood improvements for hundreds of millions climate-dependent dry land farmers in the region. The programme is co-funded through a multi-donor funding arrangement (the Royal Norwegian Government, United Kingdom, the European Union, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, among others).

A key objective of the programme is to bring significant livelihood and food security benefits to at least 3 million small-scale farmers over the 5-year Programme period, through the application of well-tested, integrated conservation agriculture (CA) systems and technologies that combine crop production with agroforestry and livestock management. The task of up-scaling this significant step to impact on an estimated 45 million farming households in the region will require resources of a different magnitude. A further objective of the Programme is to apply new climate change adaptation and mitigation tools, approaches and financing mechanisms in agriculture, forestry and land use (AFOLU), including the use of green and alternative energy and energy-and emissions-offset concepts.

Achieving measurable progress and successes in climate change adaptation and mitigation requires the rapid roll-out of tangible actions at the grassroots level. The Programme intends to achieve this through a second specific objective - by identifying target groups and developing financing and investment frameworks in the agricultural, rural, water and land use sectors that will address their adaptation needs. Where there is an existing investment framework in a given country, the programme will build on and integrate itself into such initiatives. This approach will add value and avoid duplication, but it is recognised that, up-scaling these investments in climate change adaptation and mitigation will require long-term and sustainable financing.

The third objective will be the scaling-up of existing applications of climate-resilient approaches to agriculture and sustainable resource development through conservation agriculture (CA) and similar programmes in the region. This will leverage existing established positions in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and extend them to other member states where existing preparatory actions permit further resource applications at the farmer level. During the Programme period, these applications will be extended incrementally into other member states. The Programme is targeting 3 million small-scale farmers exposed to CA and sustainable natural resources utilization systems and technologies by 2015, with significant attendant impacts on both productivities and more efficient and sustainable uses of resources.

A fourth specific objective of the Programme is to expand the application of new AFOLU and energy concepts and technologies. These areas are still the subject of negotiation and development within the UNFCCC system and elsewhere, but considerable future benefit exists for Africa within these constructs and the Programme will allocate resources to building capability to utilise methodologies once adopted.

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