AICCRA at COP27 | Innovation essential for climate-smart future, but it’s not enough
Projects led by Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) in its six focus countries—Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia—show that innovation is a necessary but insufficient factor in transforming food systems under climate change.
We must look beyond innovation alone, focusing on how innovations that we know work can be packaged and scaled to take root and thrive in Africa.
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AICCRA key messages for COP27
- African climate negotiators are finding common ground on the role that food and agriculture can play in climate action, in part thanks to AICCRA support ahead of COP27.
- AICCRA engagement with its partners across Africa shows that too few stakeholders understand what we mean when the term ‘transformation’ is overused without practical, tangible guidance on what transformation could look like in a given country or community.
- So ahead of COP27, AICCRA developed a diagnostic framework and checklist that enables African policymakers to set policy priorities for the kind of transformation they seek of national and regional food systems under climate change.
- AICCRA also played a significant role in crafting the African Union’s Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan, recently ratified by member states ahead of COP27.
The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) takes place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt November 6-18.
The theme of this COP is ‘Together for implementation’. It has been billed as an ‘African COP’ as the impact of climate change on African countries’ will be a key theme of discussions.
Agriculture and food systems will also be a critical focus of COP27, with Saturday 12 November dedicated to both themes as well as land and adaptation.
Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) will be actively engaged in a number of events and discussions at COP27.
This hub brings together AICCRA and partner content such as events, reports, blogs and the stories of farmers who we have the pleasure to work with in Africa.
We do this to inform and inspire those attending COP27, helping our partners make the case for concrete action to make African food systems more resilient under climate change, and how that transformation can be achieved.
Ultimately, we want to build momentum for the commitments, policies and finance that can help make African agriculture and food systems more resilient against future crises, delivering a climate-smart future for Africa’s youth.
AICCRA works to make climate information services (CIS) and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) more accessible to millions of smallholder farmers across Africa.
We believe that with better access to technology and advisory services—linked to information about effective response measures—farmers can better anticipate climate-related events to take preventative action that helps their communities safeguard livelihoods and the environment.
AICCRA builds on five decades of CGIAR innovation - the world’s largest research partnerships for food security.
But AICCRA sets a new path for CGIAR as it transitions to ‘OneCGIAR’, spearheading work that’s dedicated to scaling tested and proven innovations developed by CGIAR and its partners over the years.
Moreover, AICCRA seeks answers to fundamental questions of the economic, social and institutional contexts in which innovation can make a difference to farmers.
We discover how innovation can and should be packaged together with complementary actions and policies that deliver impact beyond the sum of the parts of any one innovation alone.
AICCRA has reached more than a million beneficiaries with climate information services and climate-smart agriculture since we began working in 2021.
A snapshot of AICCRA impact on the ground
In Ethiopia, a ‘NextGen’ Agricultural Drought Monitoring and Warning System uses satellite-based remote sensing technology to enable policymakers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopian Meteorological Institute and National Disaster Risk Management Commission to more effectively monitor agricultural areas for water stress. It stands to benefit 18 million people.
In Zambia, our Accelerator Program supports 14 agribusiness startups in the scaling of integrated packages of climate-smart agriculture and climate information services that address challenges identified with national partners. They hope to reach 300,000 farmers.
In Ghana, a new national ‘One Health’ Platform for Climate-Driven Pests and Diseases helps reduce crop losses and harnesses nature-based solutions for smallholder plant health in communities like Tuba.
In Senegal, a ‘gender-smart’ accelerator program dedicated to women entrepreneurs and agri-SMEs with a strong gender component is empowering them to scale climate smart business models. It will engage 400 private sector leaders and benefit 10,000 farmers by January 2023.
In Mali, the RiceAdvice app is helping 17,000 farmers—including 5,000 women—manage climate risks to improve the average rice yield by 0.9 tonnes per hectare and profits by $320 per hectare through personalized recommendations on crop calendars, the application of fertilizer and weed management.
What we have learned through this experience is that in Africa, innovation is a necessary but insufficient factor in making food systems more resilient under climate change.
We must look beyond innovation, and better understand how innovation takes root in Africa.
COP27 offers the world a chance to assess progress on climate action.
It provides opportunities to showcase novel innovation to address the climate challenge.
But unless development partners understand and respond adequately to the social and institutional ecosystems in which they hope innovation can flourish, the projects they support are destined to be unsustainable and fail.
For organizations committed to climate action, AICCRA’s experience has twofold implications:
First, we must embed experts from different fields into inter- and transdisciplinary teams.
Second, we must broaden the focus of research beyond technological innovations alone, shifting to an approach that engages and involves policymakers and practitioners in a broader constellation of institutions and organizations who enable the needed transformation.
Over the past year and more, AICCRA has used its experience of scaling climate-smart innovations to draw out broader lessons and strategies for its regional and continental partners, including the African Union and African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES).
The African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032) in February of this year.
It is a significant achievement for the continent, as it has laid the foundation for joint climate action that benefits more than a billion Africans through a common framework for action.
In the course of the consultation process and drafting of the strategy, AICCRA played a significant technical backstopping role; this included support for design and facilitation of validation meetings and assistance in engaging a wide array of thematic experts across the continent for contributions and subsequent synthesis of technical input in the drafting process.
With the support of AICCRA, African climate negotiators are finding common ground on the role that food and agriculture can play in climate action, ahead of the forthcoming COP27 climate summit in Egypt later this year.
AICCRA’s partnership with organizations like the Africa Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES) is a cornerstone of the project's impact.
An AGNES-AICCRA pre-COP meeting delivered a common African position on the future of Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) and a draft text for negotiation at 57th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the UNFCCC.
Through these partnerships, we’re building networks that are informed and empowered by CGIAR science to move towards common African positions and priorities in the UNFCCC process at COP27.
AICCRA @ COP27: From Policy-to-Implementation and OversightAfrica Pavilion, Blue Zone
AICCRA @ COP27: What's the best approach to transformative adaptation for resilient agriculture in Africa?Food and Agriculture Pavilion
AICCRA @ COP27: How a new African strategy for climate action can make agriculture and food systems resilientFood and Agriculture Pavilion
AICCRA @ COP27: Can new science and technologies alone build climate-resilient food systems in Africa and The Middle East?Akhenaten Room; Official COP27 Side Event
AICCRA @ COP27: Use of climate data to generate climate information services to better inform decision makersPavillon du Sénégal, Blue Zone (P56)
AICCRA @ COP27: Livestock transitions: Global options and local realities for adaptation and mitigationFood and Agriculture Pavilion, Blue Zone
AICCRA @ COP27: What will it take to achieve long-term agricultural resilience for the planet?GEF-GCF Pavilion
AICCRA @ COP27: Soil Health ResolutionFood Systems Pavilion
AICCRA @ COP27: The Cow in the RoomTutankhamun Room; Official COP27 Side Event
AICCRA @ COP27: Addressing gender in climate information production and communication in West Africa: are we on track?Francophone Pavilion
AICCRA @ COP27: SCALE climate resilient agricultureFood Systems Pavilion
News and farmer stories
Opinion | It’s time to invest in the continent’s regional organisations
Journal article | Transformative adaptation and implications for transdisciplinary climate change research
Farmer, Livestock Keeper, Community Leader - Meet Esther Zulu from Nyimba District, Zambia
COP27 must scale solutions for climate and food challenges in Zambia
Meet Elizabeth Akaba – Tuba Women Farmers Association Leader and Farmer in Ghana
Empowering African policymakers to make food and agriculture a priority for climate change negotiations
Meet Shindes Gudere, a livestock keeper in northern Kenya
Building continental capacity for African climate leadership
Agency and inclusion: What COP27 should deliver for women farmers in Africa
Kenya media giant triggers climate-smart conversation ahead of COP27
Africa’s new Climate Change Strategy gives a continental roadmap and key recommendations towards COP27
Leveraging the power of media for scaling climate-smart agriculture in Zambia
Framing food systems transformation: A diagnostic framework and checklist for integrating transformative actions into African food systems
Africa Common Position on Food Systems: A summary of the official Africa Common Position presented in September 2021 as part of the United Nations Food Systems Summit
Key insights and perspectives from the Food Systems Summit Dialogues and the CAADP 3rd Biennial review process
All media enquiries should be directed to Rhys Bucknall-Williams, AICCRA's Global Communications and Knowledge Manager