Ethiopia: AU wants Paris climate deal to cover agricultural support

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Global agreement on how to deal with climate change must be extended to cover the necessary assistance to farmers affected by poor crop yields due to drought and the impact of climate change, the African Union (AU) said Tuesday.

According to AU Commission Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha, African countries were keen on a broad new deal that not only helps countries to deal with climate change but also focuses specifically on agriculture and food security.

Talks on a new climate change agreement to stop the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide have centred mostly on how poor countries could work together to fight poverty without increasing greenhouse gas emissions in both urban and rural settings, but nothing concrete has been forthcoming.

Mwencha made the remarks when he welcomed the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Chief and EU Vice President Federica Mogherini at the AU headquarters.

He said the AU's view of agriculture and food security as core issues of the Paris climate deal has been discussed widely.

“We have had formal interactions with the EU during various international meetings including the recent UN General Assembly,” Mwencha said.

African countries have taken a lead in urging rich countries to set up a fund for US$100 billion to be dispatched to countries in need of funds to stop greenhouse gas emissions through carbon trade.

These efforts include expanding the area under natural forest cover to create “carbon sinks” where the extra-greenhouse gases could be absorbed naturally, to avoid their emissions.

However, it is the first time the leaders of the EU and the AU, are talking about specific issues as agriculture and food security, coming shortly after the UN approval of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have succeeded the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Meanwhile, Mogherini said the EU considered African countries not just as recipients of European aid but as political allies in the negotiations for a global climate change agreement.

“We both need cooperation that will assist our people,” the EU official said. “The population of Africa is growing. It means the number of Africans trying to enter the job market will be higher than most parts of the world. This means 18 million new jobs will have to be created through economic growth.”

To show further support, Mogherini said the “friendship with Africa is real” not just in trying to control illegal migrants from Eritrea into Europe, but also focused on enhancing trade links.

“Africa is a political partner to the EU, not just the recipient of aid. Africa needs 18 million new jobs but this will not be possible because of the economic growth slowdown. These are difficult times for us in Europe…You need partners and we need partners.

"The right question is what the EU and the AU can do together. The first one is investments, when Europe puts money for investments, it is for investment to attract economic growth, create a good investment climate, boost agriculture, and facilitate technology transfer,” Mogherini said after holding bilateral talks with the AU officials in Addis Ababa.

She expressed hope the ongoing engagements between the EU and the AU would ultimately benefit private companies which are the real drivers of economic growth and job creation.

“Creating a good investment climate will benefit European investors. That is why we support the AU efforts to create a continental free trade area because a common market, a healthier African market is in our interest. Our market is open to Africa since the signing of the Economic Partnership agreements,” she added.

-0- PANA AO/AR 20Oct2015

20 october 2015 17:30:03

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