COMESA, World Bank to Host Regional Forum on Climate Change Resilience

The Regional Forum on Climate Adaptation and Food Systems Resilience in Eastern and Southern Africa takes place on 25 – 26 October 2018 in Lusaka, Zambia.  The forum will provide a platform for COMESA Member States to share experiences and lessons learned in preparing for and responding to adverse climate change phenomena.

It will bring together decision makers from across the COMESA region and representatives from other regional groupings (EAC, IGAD, IOC, SADC) to facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange in developing shared policies, programming and systems. 

The gathering will also provide an opportunity for COMESA and its Member States to highlight their development priorities. Anticipated outcomes include: stronger awareness among regional policy makers of good practice, from within the region as elsewhere and stronger appreciation for the supportive role that COMESA, the World Bank and other partners can play in helping the region to confront and better manage growing climate risks and uncertainty. 

“This is a platform for high-level policy makers in the region, technical experts, and development partners to exchange knowledge and insights into how to reverse the region’s growing climate vulnerability,” Dr Mclay Kanyangarara, the COMESA Climate Change Coordinator said. “It will achieve this objective by facilitating the sharing of experiences and lessons learned among countries from across Eastern and Southern Africa in preparing for and responding to the impacts of the 2015-16 El Nino event.”

During 2015-16, record-high temperatures, droughts and floods fueled by one of the strongest El Niño events in recent decades crippled agricultural production across Eastern and Southern Africa. By early 2016, millions of households faced food insecurity as crops failed, incomes dropped, and food stocks tightened. Several countries in the region were hit particularly hard.

A central theme of the Forum will be to explore the role of regionalism and collective, supra-national pathways towards resilience. Among intermediate outcomes expected from the Forum is a stronger awareness among regional policy makers of good practice policy options and approaches and a stronger appreciation for the supportive role that COMESA and the World Bank can play in helping the region confront growing climate risks. 

Expected output of the forum include Improved understanding of the challenges and opportunities of strengthening regional collaboration, mainstreaming DRM into regional development strategies, and harmonizing climate adaptation approaches among member states. It will also result in stronger appreciation of the role of regional trade and enabling policy in stimulating needed investments and the growth of more resilient agri-food systems.

Other expected outcomes include providing better awareness of challenges and opportunities for investing in the development of sustainable and effective social safety net program, based on case studies from across the region resulting in improved awareness of pathways toward strengthening regional cooperation and capacity on DRM through a diverse range of actors.

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