Written by on August 26, 2022

As part of efforts toward mitigating the effects of climate change on the Member States, Lawmakers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been charged to facilitate the establishment of sustainable governance mechanisms for climate change in their various countries.

The ECOWAS Commission’s Project Coordinator, Climate Change Environmental Directorate, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, Raoul KOUAME, gave the charge at the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament Joint Committees demoralised meeting in Bissau, Capital of Guinea Bissau.

Members of Parliament said there is the need for the Member States to do more at addressing the effects of climate change in the sub-region by developing strategies at the national level that will make their governments adopt policies for the betterment of the citizens.

The Coordinator who revealed different efforts by the commission to mitigate the effects of climate change, says more funding for the subject will go a long way toward making the efforts succeed.

The environment directorate has developed some key documents which is the ECOWAS Environmental policy and also from there we draw the regional climate strategy which comes along with the climate finance access and mobilization strategy for us to allow the commission to mobilize the adequate resources for the implementation of the climate change strategy and also contributing to the implementation environmental policy.
As you know also for the implementation of such a document, we need to put in place some mechanism, some law at the national level where the MPs also have a role to play.
So our intention of presenting all these documents is for them when going back to their different countries, they can also be aware of what efforts at the regional level has been taken by the commission and they also need to translate into the national law.

The Director of Agriculture and Rural Development, ECOWAS Commission, Alain Traoré, made a case for a 10% budgetary allocation to agriculture in order to attend to the Malabo commitments.

He however warned that if the status quo is maintained in the approach to Agriculture among member states, the 2025 goal for the elimination of hunger and poverty in the sub-region will not be achieved.

Some Parliamentarians want countries to do more in their oversight functions at making sure that every fund allocated for projects is judiciously utilized.

If you have a national budget agriculture investment plan, designed, approved and adopted at the national level so it means you will be given the necessary budget allocation on annual budgeting programming, if you do not do annual budgeting programming then you will not meet it, then, of course, you need to do the economic analysis so that you know where investment will be going and even though when you meet the 10% of allocation you also have to look at the efficiency of the investment.
Is the money going on the ground to the farmers at the local level or is the money going somewhere else? These are the typical questions.
And of course, the public leaders have primary responsibility for allocating enough funds to the Agric sector.

The 10% is just the minimum so that we can get the target of ending hunger and making agriculture contribute to the global growth economy in each of the member states.

Giving concerns about the presentations, a member of the joint committee, Hon. KAIPAY Jonathan Lambert expressed worries over road connectivity in member countries. According to him, when farmers cannot get their farm produces to the market due to bad roads, they get spoilt and this encourages hunger.

One of the integrated parts of agriculture is road connectivity, how do we facilitate, what are the strategies in place, and how do we ensure that there is a programme that facilitates agriculture along road connectivity?

If the farmers produce the crops and cannot get them to the market, you have a problem.
How can we encourage member states, especially the government to look at agriculture when it comes to a sustainable tool?

Some countries have agriculture development banks, some banks are dedicated to agriculture institutes, how do we encourage these institutions so that they lend out resources so farmers could be encouraged thereby boosting farm production thus addressing the issue of food insecurity?

Also speaking, a member of the joint committee, Hon. Musah Abdul-Aziz Ayaba, who expressed worry over the challenges of importation of fertilizer due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, called for the encouragement of the production of fertilizer within the West African sub-region.

This Russia/Ukraine war has affected us a lot in the area of fertilizers and now we want to know what recommendations we need to know so that when we want to produce our own fertilizer in the coming years.

After listening to the committee members, the presenters promised to holistically look into the concerns raised to help the people of the sub-region have more sustained life.

The theme of the delocalized meeting is A critical look at the ECOWAS Environmental Policy and Climate Strategy, as well as a biennial review of the agricultural production, food and nutritional security in the Member States.

(Source: ECOWAS Parliament).

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