COMESA Secretariat through the Climate Change Programme has developed a virtual knowledge management portal. The portal is intended to promote national and regional sharing of information on diverse activities on climate action being undertaken in the region.
The portal was activated on 14 July 2021 during a webinar which brought together COMESA Member States and non-members. It was developed by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a longstanding COMESA partner and will be populated with content by users (Member States).
The portal is expected to increase understanding of critical issues around climate change, while providing a broad knowledge-hub to strengthen cooperation between technical organisations and Member States. It will respond to the Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) pilot programmes coordinated by COMESA involving five member states: Eswatini, Madagascar, Seychelles, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It is also part of an initiative to organize key information in one place and enable the region to access and share knowledge with ease.
Speaking at the event, COMESA Climate Change Programme Manager, Ms. Edith Tibahwa said majority of member states are highly vulnerable to climate-induced risks. These include crop failure and livestock losses due to prolonged drought and more frequent and severe floods and destruction of infrastructure as recently experienced in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Malawi, among others.
“COMESA has therefore continued to address some of these emerging challenges by supporting member states to develop and implement sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, promote the adoption of climate smart innovations such as Climate Smart Agriculture,” she said.
Regional dialogues and consensus building on major climate change issues have also been facilitated particularly in international negotiations and capacity building. This has assisted member states in dealing with the challenges of climate change and reduced the vulnerability of populations.
COMESA CSA Programme provides support to countries in the ACP regions to manage the climate change challenges that hinder development. The programme is funded by the European Union Commission under the Intra Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries (Intra ACP) Global Climate Change Alliance plus (GCCA+) programme.
FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission, Dr Tshilidzi Madzivhandila said the initiative will further strengthen the long existing partnership between two organizations.
“Our partnership and will surely address the critical knowledge and information needs required to successfully meet challenges brought about by the climate change in the COMESA region,” he said.
He stressed the need for such innovative interventions amidst COVID19 Pandemic to enable technical cooperation at national, regional, and continental levels.
Participants were encouraged to regularly visit the portal as it will serve as a valuable source of timely information such as the events leading up to the 26th Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
The webinar was attended by stakeholders directly involved in exchanging climate change information and knowledge and was an opportunity for sharing experiences among the network members and non-member states and promote cooperation among states. Others were representatives of research/scientific community, civil society, the private sector, and farmers’ groups.