martes, junio 02, 2009

ASB scientists support Africa Biocarbon Initiative

Posted on Thursday 23 April 2009 in AFOLU and ASB and UNFCCC and africa and agriculture and policy and poverty

Scientists from the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins are working with climate change negotiators across Africa to build a common understanding and negotiation position on the potential for agricultural and forested landscapes to store carbon, improve agricultural productivity, and help smallholder farmers become resilient to climate change impacts.

The Africa Biocarbon Initiative proposes a landscape approach to carbon management that takes account of the full opportunities for reduced emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land uses (AFOLU). The Africa Biocarbon Initiative was launched by the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) at the December 2008 meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the ASB Partnership will help the initiative assess the drivers of land use change, to understand the carbon profile of alternative land uses, and to assess the corresponding impacts on agricultural productivity, soil conservation and carbon stocks. ASB scientists will also help climate change negotiators from 22 countries understand their policy options at the national, regional and international levels, and formulate common positions leading up to the international climate change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. An ambitious agenda of research, synthesis, information sharing and consultations is planned for the next few months, with activities peaking in at the June meeting of the UNFCCC in Bonn and culminating at the Copenhagen conference.

“The Africa Biocarbon Initiative is important as it brings a unique African perspective to the global debate, as well as promoting a supporting mechanism [AFOLU] that enables Africa to get maximum mitigation and adaptation benefits,” said Peter Akong Minang, Programme Associate for the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins.

Africa is one of the world’s most important reservoirs of terrestrial carbon, which includes soil, forests and agricultural carbon stocks, accounting for at least 20 per cent of the world’s forest carbon. There is also unrealized potential for mitigation in Africa, and possibilities for following a high carbon stock trajectory to growth through agroforestry, sustainable land use, forest management, and agricultural intensification. Between 70-80% of the rural population in Africa are dependent on agriculture, livestock and forests for their livelihoods. Climate change also has disproportionate impacts on Africa, relative to the small human-induced emissions from the continent. Despite these factors, Africa has not benefitted from current climate change mitigation mechanisms under the UNFCCC, and the COMESA countries have called for a new approach.

In a submission to the UNFCCC Ad-Hoc Working Group for long-term Cooperative action the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) states:

the implementation of REDD must allow for adaptation to the full range from humid to dry forest ecosystems, and to the specific economic, ecological and land use conditions in Africa, in particular: rural poverty, food insecurity, low value-added production, and landscapes which included inter-related activities such as small-scale agriculture and other land use, livestock, and forestry

The Africa Biocarbon Initiative is being promoted by Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Government of Norway and Rockefeller Foundation are providing financial support.

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Written by: ASB Blog Editor

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