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AU-SAFGRAD organizes project inception and methodology Harmonization workshop with National Consultants

AU-SAFGRAD organizes project inception and methodology Harmonization workshop with National Consultants.

 

The two- day workshop was organized by AU-SAFGRAD office in Ouagadougou, Burkina faso between 2nd and 3rd July 2015. The purpose of the workshop was to formally flag-off the strategic agricultural commodities value chain analysis in the Sahelo-saharan zone of Africa. Supporting the promotion of strategic agricultural value chains in the semi-arid zone is one of the 2015 projects of AU-SAFGRAD. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Mure Agbonlahor, senior production and marketing officer.

On the first day of the workshop, the Coordinator, Dr Ahmed Elmekass welcome participants; five national (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger and Sudan) consultants to AU-SAFGRAD office and to the workshop. In his presentations, Dr Mure Agbonlahor intimated the participants on the focus of AU-SAFGRAD as a specialized, technical office of Africa Union Commission with mandate to build livelihood resilience of small holders in the semi-arid zone of Africa. His presentations underscored the interest of AU-SAFGRAD in commodity value chains Analysis in tandem with the accelerated African agricultural growth and transformation focus of Africa Union, as well as, the importance of the study methodology harmonization. On the second day of the workshop the study methodology (stakeholders’ analysis and scope) and milestones were finalized and also, the survey instrument was reviewed and validated by the participants.        

 

Consultancy :ToRs for the preparation of background document on High Policy Dialogue on Desertification

ToRs for the preparation of background document on High Policy Dialogue on Desertification

 

A. background

The Scourge of desertification continues to pose serious challenges to Africa’s sustainable development efforts. In recognition of this, the African Union Heads of State and Government at their 22nd Ordinary Session in January 2014, adopted Decision 492(XXII) relative to the strengthening of the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD). This Decision mandated the African Union Commission to «streamline and enhance its specialized agencies, more particularly the Semi-Arid Food Grain Research and Development center (AU-SAFGRAD) and the Climate Change and Desertification Unit (CCDU), so that they serve as vibrant and effective platforms for guidance, experience sharing and coordination among African Centers of excellence, on the desertification issue».

This Decision aims to strengthen the interface between science and policy, as well as indigenous knowledge by land users and other stakeholders regarding the issues of desertification. Science and technology have a crucial role in slowing down the rate of land degradation and desertification and thus offer huge potentials for enhancing livelihoods in arid and semi-arid regions of Africa.

Indeed each country has designated a Scientific and Technology Correspondent (STC) in support of the National Focal Point for the UNCCD. The underlying idea was to enhance the contribution of national scientists to the work of the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) of the UNCCD through the STC. The Committee on Science and Technology is established as a subsidiary body of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP) to provide information and advice on scientific and technological matters relating to combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. But in reality, the role of the STC’s has been less effective since their appointment. In practice, there have been very little relationships between them and the National Focal Points during the preparations for the CST deliberations. More generally, beyond the role of the STC’s, Africa’s inputs in the UNCCD scientific deliberations were far below existing capacity and competency. The participation of African scientists in the work of the CST has been poorer than expected, largely due to the inadequate technical and financial support for the African scientists in the field of desertification and sustainable land management (SLM). This development therefore undermines the potential contributions of science and technology in combating desertification on the African continent.

The STC’s functions therefore need to be strengthened to fully acknowledged for any scientific and technical functions by the African members important for the CST and it’s representative in the CST Bureau. The STC’s should therefore support, promote and enhance the knowledge of the National Focal Points and centers of excellence regarding desertification.

It is in this context that SAFGRAD with support from the Climate Change and Desertification Unit of the Commission is preparing for a High Policy Dialogue to deliberate on the role of science and technology in addressing desertification issues in Africa. The office is therefore seeking a very qualified consultant to address the following challenges among others: (I) How to involvement of a greater number of African scientists in desertification control issues addressed under the UNCCD; (II) How to promote research and dissemination of research findings; (III) How do research findings add value to desertification and desertification control issues Adding value to research findings; (IV) How to better facilitate linkages between science and development; and (V) How to promote dialogue among scientific institutions, development organizations, policy and civil society representatives.

B. Scope of the work

The overall objective of the work will be to strengthen the role of science and technology in combating Desertification in Africa. The idea is to take charge of the on-going work of the CST so as to strengthen the participation of the African scientific community in this work. Concrete recommendations to enhance African contribution by STC’s to the CST deliberation will be an important part of the task

The consultant will perform on the following tasks:

1.Identify regional priorities on desertification.

2.Conduct an inventory of African scientific and technical institutions/networks/programmes that are active in the domains of desertification control and involved in the various themes selected in the Regional and Sub-Regional Action Plans (RAP & SCRAPS).

3.Identify constraints and opportunity for the effective participation of African scientists in the work of the CST.

4.Identify the links and possible barriers between UNCCD National focal points and the STC’s and propose ways for improving their cohesion

5.Propose criteria for the establishment of centers of excellence: activity domain, staff profile, involvement in R&D and number of scientific partnerships, etc

6.Promote cooperation among the centers of excellence within the desertification and control of desertification frameworks.

7.Suggest and recommend on how to operationalise the “ Science Policy Interface (SPI)” where «the representatives of both policy-making and scientific communities, as well as other actors could discuss and communicate to the UNCCD scientific information and knowledge, provide relevant advice on Desertification /Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) and identify the information needs of the Convention»

  1. 8.Identify guidelines to operationalize the «Non-Governmental Group of Independent Scientists» that would meet with the policy-making group representatives within the SPI.

 

C. Qualifications

1.Advanced university degree or equivalent in land management and desertification, environmental science or related disciplines;

2.A minimum of 10 years working experience

3.Extensive knowledge of the UNCCD implementation processes, including practical work experience in desertification and sustainable land management techniques.

4.Work experience with one or other Rio Conventions will be an advantage;

5.Excellent knowledge of the English and/or French language is a must;

 

D. Expected Outputs

 

1. The consultancy assignment will be undertaken under the overall guidance of SAFGRAD. The assignment will take one month from the signing of the consultancy contract.

2. It is expected that the consultant will submit the following reports and updates to SAFGRAD at the specified periods as agreed on between the two parties during the full duration of the assignment:

(i) Inception Report: This report is to be submitted to SAFGRAD two (2) weeks after commencement of the assignment (signing of the contract). The report shall contain the approach and methodology that the consultant will apply in the execution of the assignment and a detailed work plan specifying key activities to be performed covering the duration of the assignment.

(ii) First Progress Report: This report will be submitted 4 weeks after the submission of the Inception Report. It will provide an update of the key findings based largely on literature review and possibly interviews.

(iv) Final Report: This will be submitted at the end of the assignment period and it would have integrated all comments received on the draft report.

 

E. Dates and Remuneration

1.SAFGRAD thinks this consultancy can be undertaken within one a month (30 days). The draft has to be finalized by early September 2015 to be ready for the Regional Preparatory meeting of UNCCD COP12 in Pretoria, South Africa scheduled for early September. The outcomes of the report should be done in a side event session by the consultant. The UNCCD COP 12 is in Ankara from 12 – 23 Oct 2015.

2.Remuneration of 8,000 USD as lump sump. SAFGRAD will also pay for any mission or meeting (economy ticket and DSA) that may be need.

3.The proposal for this consultancy should be submitted to SAFGRAD not later than 30 June 2015

 

 Contact details

Dr Elmekass Ahmed

AU-SAFGRAD Coordinator

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Tel: 00226 25306071

Or

Koutou Mamadou

Program and Research Officer

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Tel: 00226 78804108

 

 Download the TORs in Pdf format

 

 

Article of Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, in l'Observateur Paalga

Article of Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, in l'Observateur Paalga

On Wednesday June 17th, 2015, l'Observateur Paalga, one of the most important newspapers in Burkina Faso, published an article written by Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, on the occasion of the International Day of Desertification. The article has been posted on line in the web site of the daily journal that is among the most popular.

Here is the link to the article.

 

AU SAFGRAD NEWSLETTER, MARCH 2015

icon AU SAFGRAD NEWSLETTER, MARCH 2015 (3.37 MB)

 

17 June 2015, today is the World Day to Combat Desertification. Desertification: A silent process with a loud effect

17 June 2015, today is the World Day to Combat Desertification.

Desertification: A silent process with a loud effect

As I sat at home to put pen to paper for this piece, I was still pondering on how to start this over vexed topic when I was asked by my children what I was writing. As i tried to explain what desertification means, it became very obvious to me that for quicker comprehension there was a need to link the effect to the causes. It was important to focus their attention on deserts and the features of a desert to make them understand what desertification is.

 Directeur

Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU-SAFGRAD Coordinator

 

A SILENT PROCESS WITH A LOUD EFFECT

D

esertification the process of land degradation and a type of land degradation where the land cover becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife1. It is caused by the removal of vegetation cover due to natural and man made effects; alone or in combination such as drought, climatic shifts,tillage for agriculture, overgrazing and deforestation. 2. A look at these causes reveals that human activities (agriculture, deforestation and overgrazing) are the most invasive causes of desertification. Desertification is a significant global ecological and environmental problem that reduces the ability of land to support life, affecting wild species (los of biodiversity), domestic animals, agricultural crops and people3. Despite these seemingly silent causes, desertification has a very loud and profound effects. It has played significant roles in human history; contributing to the collapse of several large empires, such as Carthage, Greece, and the Roman Empire, as well as causing displacement and relocation of local populations4. It is also the cause of most conflicts arising from natural resources use with attendant loss of lives and properties and large scale emigration. Greet social and economic losses have been linked to desertification. Desertification often occurs over many generations, on a very large scale and so it is difficult for individuals to notice the onset and take action to combat it5. In a very subtle way, desertification is doing great havoc to human livelihood and welfare that if adequate and concerted actions are not taken to combat the spread it reduces the ability of states to meet development goals and poses great danger to human existence.

THE NEED OF CHANGING MENTALITY

The most effective way to combat desertification is a change in peoples’ mentality and a general commitment to reverse the spread.

At the Earth summit in Rio, 1992, desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified as the greatest challenges to sustainable development. The United Nations Convention to combat desertification (UNCCD) was established in 1994as the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management6.

 AFRICAN UNION-SAFGRAD CONTRIBUTION

At the continental level, the African Heads of State and Government (HOSG) in 2014, during the 22nd ordinary summit renewed their commitments to combating desertification. The HOSG pledge their commitments to implement the UNCCD protocol to address issues of land degradation, desertification, biodiversity loss and effects of drought so as to promote sustainable development on the Continent. The HOSG requested Africa Union Commission (AUC) to support Regional Economic Communities ( RECs) and Member States in collaboration with Partners to review the Regional Action Programme to combat desertification in Africa and to align it to the UNCCD Ten Year Strategy with the view to supporting poverty reduction and environmental sustainability on the Continent. To achieve this, AUC was requested to rationalize and strengthen its specialized units --the Semi-Arid Food Grains Research and Development (SAFGRAD) and the Climate Change and Densification Unit (CCDU)- as effective platform for guidance, experience sharing and coordination among the existing African Centres of Excellence on Desertification.

AU-SAFGRAD as a specialized, technical office of AUC, with mandate of building livelihood resilience of small holders in the arid zone of Africa (people that are most vulnerable to the effects of desertification), has over the years focused its activities on combating desertification in the continent. The officeplayed a key role in facilitating the release of several drought adapted food grains cultivars which are cultivated by farmers in the semi-arid regions of Africa. AU-SAFGRAD has set a functional network that brings together all the actors on the same table. Furthermore, capacity building and training of research scientists on issues of desertification has been a major activity of AU-SAFGRAD over the years (3) It also has contributed to building the knowledge base on desertification in the Semi-Arid Agriculture through production/dissemination of articles and periodicals.

TO AVOID THE DRYNESS OF MIND

In conclusion, it must be borne in mind that combating desertification is a collective responsibility. As stated above, though the causes are cumulative and often unobserved, the effects are loud and devastating. All hands must be on deck to stop this great scourge that seeks to consume entire population and the continent. Our actions and inactions will decide our fate and destiny. Policy and decision makers at all levels, scientist, farmers, herders, development planners, women, youths and children must all be involved. The must be able to appreciate and link their actions and activities, in their micro environment, to the long term consequence in the global environment. Policies that encourages conservation and sustainable use of natural resources must be implemented and aggressively enforced at all levels. If we do not start as individuals, families and groups to seriously and positively contribute and be strong partners in development of our countries, if we are still waiting for external experts to plan for us, if we put everything in the side of decision makers without our real contribution and waiting mistakes to blame them , in that time I can say we have drought in our mentality which has to be treated and to start to be positive member in our villages or our cities and contributing to the development process by combating desertification.

 

 

Dr. Ahmed Elmekass, Coordinator

African Union SAFGRAD

 

REFERENCES

1. Geist 2005, The Causes and Progression of Desertification. C.F. Desertification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification)

2. Geeson, Nichola et al (2002). Mediterranean desertification: a mosaic of processes and responses. John Wiley & Sons. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-470-84448-9. C.F. Desertification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification)

3.www.botany.uwc.ac.za/envfacts/facts/desertification.htm,

4. Geist, Helmut. "The causes and progression of desertification". Antony Rowe Ltd. Ashgate publishing limited. Retrieved 6 July 2013. C.F. Desertification - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertification)

5.www.botany.uwc.ac.za/envfacts/facts/desertification.htm,

6. UNCCD Website

 

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Gaps in the CAADP-based National Agricultural and Food Security Investment Plans (NAFSIPs) in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal : A Policy Brief

gaps in the CAADP-based National Agricultural and Food Security Investment Plans (NAFSIPs) in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal: Assessment of investment programmes

A POLICY BRIEF

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) is at the heart of efforts by African governments under the African Union 's New Partnership for Africa ' s Development (NEPAD) agenda to accelerate growth and eliminate poverty and hunger among African countries. The main goal of CAADP is to help African countries reach higher pathways to economic growth through the agricultural sector. CAADP provides a shared framework for strategic planning and partnership for the development of the agricultural sector. It also offers the prospect for political, technical and financial support for countries with plans and strategies, which are aligned with CAADP principles. Aligning with CAADP framework, therefore, requires countries to abide by two important objectives of the Maputo Declaration of: (i) achieving an annual growth rate of the agricultural sector of at least 6 percent; and (ii) allocating at least 10 percent of the national budget to agriculture.

In the West Africa region, Heads of States mandated the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at their meeting in 2002 in Yamoussokro (Ivory Coast) to support and coordinate the implementation of the CAADP program. The ECOWAP/CAADP agenda is an integrated national and regional effort to support the implementation of national and regional investment programs, modernize the agricultural sector and improve livelihoods of the people. Following, the signature of the compacts, each country held a stakeholder meeting to review the draft NAIP and integrate comments and suggestions, which emerged during the compact to develop an investment plan, and operationalize it into an investment project to stimulate the growth of the agricultural sector. After four to five years of implementation, there is a need to assess the implementation of the NAIPs. This policy review focus on four countries: Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.

Study focus

Study focuses on reviewing national investment plans in the areas: land management, Land degradation/desertification and climate change. However, all these three themes are tightly related but they are quite different. The CAADP-Pillar 1’s main objective is to help countries extend their production areas under sustainable land and water. Here, we are mainly focusing on the land aspects.

Assessment of the investment programs

The regional investment program (RAIP) and the national agricultural investment programs (NAPs) are major instruments for operationalizing the strategies on how to ensure that interventions would promote growth quickly. Along the lines, ECOWAS and its’ member countries, have been working on six major themes of which three directly relates to this review: 1) water management 2) improvement of shared natural resources and 3) sustainable development of agricultural farms. Countries, therefore, have tried to identify activities that could be carried out under these three themes building on going processes.

1.The Burkinabe NAIP: National program of the Rural Sector (PNSR), 2011-2015

The program was declined into five main axes: 1) Improvement of food security and sovereignty; 2) Improvement of the income of rural people; 3) Sustainable development and natural resource management; 4) improvement of access to potable water; and 5)Development of the partnership between actors of the rural areas.

The growths of the various sectors of the agricultural economy were: food (1.5%), commercial (1.1%); livestock (2.7%); and forests and fisheries (1%). These results clearly show that the agricultural sector is not adequately playing its role of the Burkinabe economy and hence contributing to the impoverishment of rural communities.

In that respect, the successful of the NAIP in Burkina must focus on three main sub-axes: 1) focus on providing improved seeds and fertilizer to farming communities; 2) rehabilitating and extending irrigated areas, especially given that Burkina like the other three Sahelian countries face frequent droughts and food shortages.

2.The Malian NAIP: National Priority Investments in the Agricultural Sector (PNIP-SA), 2011-2015

The approach of the plan is quite innovative as it focuses on three main programs, which are all geared towards responding to market demands: 1) promotion of cereals (maize, millet/sorghum, and rice); 2) promotion of livestock products (meat and milk); 3) promotion of fisheries and aquaculture; and 4) crosscutting issues.

CAADP modeling results in Mali has shown that the food sector contributed only 1%, the commercial sector, 1.4% and livestock 1.9%. Mali has a large comparative advantage for both crop and livestock production. Better integrating these two sectors would reduce costs greatly and also achieve higher impacts. There is scope to better integrate crop production and livestock by developing a third program that would focus on food and feed value-addition, especially making high value feeds for livestock and poultry for the region.

3.The Nigerien NAIP: Plan d’Actions de l’Initiative 3N

The national Investment program for Niger was discussed, validated, and the pact signed on December 15, 2010. However, severe food crises retarded the implementation of the NAIP and a formulation of a new initiative that came with 11 priority actions: 1) increasing irrigated farming; 2) modernization of rainfed-cropping; 3) securing livestock production; 4) intensification of long-cycle production systems; 5) intensification of short-cycle production systems; 6) sustainable management of land and biodiversity; 7) valorization of forest products; 8) transformation and marketing of products; 9) prevention and management of food crises and catastrophes; nutrition improvement of the Nigerien; and 11) capacity strengthening for the implementation of the 3N initiative.

The modeling results have shown that the contribution of the various sectors to the agricultural economy has been variable: irrigated farming (4.2%); rainfed cropping (2.4%); livestock (2.5%) and forests (2%). Similarly to Burkina Faso, there would be need for a focus on three to four priority actions, especially PIP-1, PIP-2, PIP-4 and PIP-5.

4.The Senegalese NAIP: Implementing the ECOWAP/CAADP process in Senegal, Investment Plan, 2011-2015

Senegal, like the other three countries developed its program as a strategy and prioritization process. All the sectors were evaluated and their impacts on the performance of the agricultural and national economy were also evaluated. The program was developed along the 6 axes of the CAADP: 1) Promotion of water control; 2) preservation and sustainable management of other natural resources; 3) increasing production and improving productivity; 4) development of the transformation of agricultural products; 5) market access; 6) strengthening research for better generation and transfer of new technologies; 7) strengthening the capacity of the actors; 8) coordination and piloting of the sectors. Clearly, there are two programs that are worth focusing: program-1-reduction of climatic risks through water control and 2) program-3-increasing production and improving productivity. In addition, these activities were selected according to their stage of formulation. These activities must be inserted on a-five-year schedule to better see the implementation plan.

Conclusion

The reviews of the NAIPs in the four countries reveal that every country succeeded in domesticating the ECOWAP/CAADP process in their policies and strategies. These NAIPs outlined their long term strategy for the development of their rural sector. Though, Mali is the sole country whose NAIP has moved from strategy to priority by selecting as well as developing projects for the three priority areas 1)food crops: rice, maize and millet); 2) livestock (meat and milk) and 3) fisheries. The Malian NAIP also tried to identify leverages for achieving program objectives. The other plans are missing that intermediary step that makes any project appealing and therefore bankable for donors and private sector.

 

DOWNLOAD THE POLICY BRIEF IN PDF FORMAT HERE

POLICY BRIEF 1

POLICY BRIEF 2

 

 

 

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