COP 27: Nigeria, nine other countries sign new Africa’s sustainable commodities declaration
• Groups urge govt to align implementation plans with 1.5ºC target
• Egypt, U.S. pledge over $150m to aid Africa’s adaptation to climate change
Ministers from 10 African countries, including Nigeria, have endorsed a new Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative Declaration, a single set of principles for the responsible production of agricultural commodities in Africa.
The Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative (ASCI) puts producer countries in Africa at the forefront of defining principles for the sustainable development of cocoa, rubber, palm oil, coffee and other commodities, in a way that protects livelihoods and protects natural resources, including forests.
ASCI builds and expands the principles agreed upon at COP22 in 2016 for the palm oil sector. The ‘Marrakesh Declaration for Sustainable Development of the Palm Oil Sector’ acknowledged the role of agricultural commodity development as a driver of deforestation while emphasising the critical role of forests and forest conservation in addressing climate change.
The signing, held at the Sharm el-Sheik resort in Egypt, was attended by ministers from signatory countries, with Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, representing Nigeria and pledging to drive the process.
The Marrakesh Declaration has been implemented through the African Palm Oil Initiative (APOI), comprised of 10 countries in West and Central Africa: Cameroun, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Edo State (Nigeria), Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.
These countries account for 25 per cent of the world’s tropical forests and 75 per cent of Africa’s forests.
An initiative of the Tropical Forest Alliance, the APOI, is facilitated by Proforest, which will be supporting the Africa-led Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative.
“From COP22 in 2016, when the Marrakesh Declaration was signed, we saw huge progress at COP26 in 2021, where every country demonstrated crucial milestones to achieve the sustainable development of palm oil,” Global and Africa Director of Proforest, Abraham Baffoe, said.
He said: “Many countries have recognised the need to work across multiple commodities, so, the launch of ASCI is an important progression, as a truly multi-stakeholder initiative, with every country engaging at the regional, national and local level throughout the process.”
At COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, signatories of the Marrakesh Declaration met to recognise and share five years of progress, with significant milestones from legal frameworks for land rights to private sector commitments on restoration and investment in smallholders to boost productivity while protecting forests.
Ministers agreed that the issues being addressed in palm oil were the same in other commodities, catalysing the transition to the Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative, to ensure sectors are aligned to drive positive outcomes for people, nature and climate.
“We need the guardians of the forests – national governments and local communities – to own and lead solutions on the ground that integrate agricultural commodity production and local livelihoods with forest protection,” Baffoe said, adding, “embedding those rights and protection in laws and regulation will provide an enabling environment where we can continue to build capacity, readying the way for further investment and scale.”
Governments have recognised the potential for growth in the production of palm oil, cocoa and other agricultural commodities to meet increasing global demand, and contribute to food security and better livelihoods for millions of Africans while protecting the region’s remaining rainforests.
Diversification of food production also provides resilience and improves each country’s food security. It also helps to offset the impact of climate change. The Congo Basin alone can hold 30 billion tonnes of carbon, equivalent to three years of global fuel emissions; and its forests are essential for regional climate stability.
MEANWHILE, as the official COP27 outcomes were being drafted at the weekend, ready for national ministers to arrive in Egypt this week, 200 of the world’s largest businesses, civil society groups and prominent voices on climate have reaffirmed their commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC, also urging governments to align implementation plans with 1.5ºC.
They made this known in a statement endorsed by Acciona, Amazon, IKEA, Microsoft, Nestlé, Unilever, Volvo Cars and Walmart, among others, and joined by ITUC, The Elders, UN Global Compact and many other non-governmental organisations, as well as prominent individuals such as co-founder, Global Optimism, Christiana Figueres, President, World Economic Forum, Børge Brenda, Mary Robinson, and Johan Rockström.
They called on governments to strengthen their commitments and plans and implement them without delay.
“We need governments, starting with the world’s most advanced economies, to uphold their commitment to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C and move swiftly to its delivery.
“As climate negotiators are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh for COP27, and global leaders gather for the G20 in Bali, the science remains unchanged: 1.5°C is a limit, not a target. We must put all our efforts to stay within this limit and avoid the worsening impacts, suffering and costs that any overshoot will bring.
“Our commitment to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact is unwavering. Thousands of companies, unions, investors, cities, states and regions are committed to 1.5°C, and already taking science-based climate action: delivering clean energy solutions, developing innovative finance mechanisms, and building the resilience of vulnerable communities.
“National leaders must demonstrate solidarity and decide where they stand. Decisions taken in the coming days will define our ability to build an equitable and resilient global economy. They will reverberate around the world and down the generations. There can be no excuses for backsliding on the commitments made a year ago.
“Every part of society has an essential role to play in delivering 1.5°C. History shows us that humans have the capacity to innovate and solve immense challenges when we work together. The technologies exist and our destination is clear,” he said.
In a related development, COP27 President, Sameh Shoukry, and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, have announced an initiative to accelerate adaptation in the African continent, saving millions of lives and livelihoods.
An additional $15 billion investment announced for Nexus of Food, Water & Energy Initiative will fund implementation with one main energy project ($10 billion), five projects for food security and agriculture and three irrigation and water projects
The package was announced at a special session on ‘Advancing Adaptation Action in Africa’, co-hosted by Shoukry and Kerry, where Shoukry said: “The key challenge for African countries is to access funding for climate action. Recognising that progress towards adapting to climate consequences and enhancing resilience is crucially needed.
“This agenda comprises a total of 30 global adaptation outcome targets by 2030 that are urgently needed to address the adaptation gap and increase the resilience of four billion people through accelerating transformation across five impact systems: food and agriculture, water and nature, coastal and oceans, human settlements, and infrastructure.”