Welcoming remarks by South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Tina Joemat Pettersson, on the occasion of the African Ministerial Meeting on Climate-Smart Agriculture
|13 September 2011, Johannesburg|
I hope you all travelled safely and had a wonderful sleep last night! I wish to express my humble appreciation and pleasure that you have managed to put aside your hectic engagements and decided to prioritise this important conference.
This conference is aimed at sharing experiences, leadership perspectives, exploring challenges and, analysing the meaning of “Climate Smart Agriculture”.
We are all aware that South Africa will be hosting the 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will be held from 28th November 2011 to 09th December 2011 in Durban. Our Ministry forms part of the South African preparatory and planning processes for the hosting of this high level and global event.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has already started with various consultative processes including national, regional and international stakeholders meetings and forums in preparation for the climate event. A month ago, we hosted the national stakeholders conference on climate change with the aim of creating momentum and build-up towards CoP17 and allow the opportunity for all stakeholders to participate at CoP17- directly and indirectly.
Although there is no globally accepted definition of Climate-Smart Agriculture, the FAO defines this concept as “production systems that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes Green House Gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals”. In short, Climate-Smart Agriculture includes proven practical techniques and approaches that can help us achieve a triple win for food security, adaptation and mitigation.
It is my fervent hope that from this conference, a number of clear important issues such as communication on climate change issues with different stakeholders, including the general public on important concepts such as the Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) should be considered to ensure that farmers are in a position to mitigate against the risk associated with climatic challenges on time.
This conference, however, will focus on the following Key Messages:
This African Ministerial Conference provides an opportunity for all the participants to share experiences and cooperation on their country strategies for Climate Smart Agriculture.
It is our belief that many people wish to see Agriculture elevated to where it is supposed to be within the UNFCCC negotiations and this can only be achieved if we collectively adopt a common and shared understanding.
The intellectual depth of the panelists will shape the two-day discussions and give us a road-map as we join the Road to Durban. We do not wish to foist or coerce our fellow African brothers and sisters on our thinking, hence the need to meet here to find common ground so that we sing from the same hymn sheet at CoP17 in Durban towards the end of the year.
Finally, chair; honourable Ministers and distinguished delegates, I wish you a successful conference; enjoy the hospitality of the people of South Africa and what the country has to offer.