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Africa’s farmers ignored at COP27 climate talks

As the dust settles in Sharm El-Sheikh, Africa has little reason to rejoice. Africa and the Global South can take some hope from the small gains made at COP27. At the last minute, negotiators agreed to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters. But we have heard these promises before. The rich countries of the Global North have failed to fulfil their 2016 100 billion dollar-a-year adaptation funding pledge;

AFSA members came to COP27 with a clear demand to put agroecology at the centre of agricultural and adaptation discussions, place farmers’ needs at the centre of adaptation, and focus on new, accessible, and predictable adaptation finance. But the international climate negotiation community once again sidelined the voices of Africa’s small-scale farmers at COP27 in Egypt. Farmers’ calls for a shift to agroecology as the obvious choice for low-cost climate action and resilience went unheard.

Dr Million Belay, AFSA General Coordinator and panel expert with IPES-Food, said: “It was very disturbing to see a large contingent of corporate lobbyists influencing the process while small-scale farmers have been shut out and drowned out from this COP27. Farmers demanded recognition for diverse, resilient farming, agroecology and climate finance, but they leave with very little.

African civil society is hugely disappointed that the powerful, rich countries are backtracking on previous commitments to the 1.5C target and to reducing the use of fossil fuels, even rebranding fossil gas as a ‘low emission energy source’. As Africa is warming at twice the global rate, this leaves the continent on the front line of the onslaught of the climate crisis – one of several crises created outside its shores.