COMESA Climate Initiative

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COMESA Climate Initiative
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The Secretariat for the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) has developed a comprehensive approach and program initiative to address climate change within the context of its responsibilities and strategy for promotion of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The Climate Initiative is divided in two parts, the first directed to Frameworks & Tools (for which funding is already secured), the second to Applications & Learning (to which this proposal is directed).


African Heads of State – in cooperation with The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - launched CAADP to address the pressing livelihood and landscape needs of the African continent. It focuses on four pillars of action thought to most rapidly improve the productivity, competitiveness, and development potential of African agriculture.

The NEPAD Secretariat has developed a road map to facilitate implementation of the CAADP agenda. While recognizing its own role as a facilitator and catalyst for resource mobilization, it assigned the major responsibility for implementation to the regional economic communities (e.g., COMESA) and their member countries.

Implementation is directed to improving the conditions necessary to achieve CAADP goals for agriculture and sustainable natural resource management – and the contribution that achievement in these areas can make to the Millennium Development Goals and to sustainable socio-economic growth at national, regional, and continental levels in Africa.

A country-based roundtable process has been established alongside the pillar frameworks to bring CAADP principles and values into country and regional agricultural and rural development processes.

CAADP, Pillar One

The COMESA Climate Initiative is put forward as an integral part of CAADP, Pillar One, whose purpose is to extend the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems, focusing on soil fertility, the moisture-holding capacity of soils, and an extension of the area under (small-scale) irrigation in order to raise output on a sustainable basis and contribute to the reliability of food supplies.

The TerrAfrica process represents an important complement and support to CAADP, Pillar One. It was launched by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and World Bank to support and strengthen the implementation of the UNCCD, CAADP and the NEPAD Action Plan for the Environment. Its mission is to restore soil fertility in a large part of the African continent, helping boost food security, increase farm incomes, maintain ecosystem services, and engage local communities in better managing their lands.

COMESA, for its part, has developed partnership arrangements with the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) to support its work related to CAADP, Pillar One. Many international conservation and development organizations have designed new projects and launched major new initiatives to address issues of biodiversity loss, deforestation, land degradation, agricultural productivity, and climate change. But rarely have these problems been addressed in as coordinated a manner as now proposed by COMESA, NEPAD, ICRAF, and WWF.

Context and Rationale

Several important changes have created this new opportunity to address persistent problems of rural poverty and environmental degradation, which have impeded development in much of Africa, while at the same time addressing the local threat of climate change and the global need for mitigation measures. First, climate change is increasingly recognized as a challenge to development, particularly in Africa where its effects may be most severe. Second, new technical knowledge is being rapidly accumulated in the fields of sustainable agriculture, land and water management. And, third, global requirements for reductions in greenhouse gases have led to expanding carbon markets that could be used to support more sustainable land use.


COMESA Secretariat
Ben Bella Road
P. O. Box 30051

Lusaka - ZAMBIA
+260 211 229725/32
+260 211 225107


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