INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND


CLAB-Africa Project

The CLAB-Africa Project was conceived with by Future Africa Institute to provide a platform for Africa’s scientific community to contribute to the developmental works of African governments and development institutions. The nature of the Project’s contributions will be in the form of science-based actionable policy recommendations within the four identified clusters. These clusters are namely: (i) climate impact on food systems; (ii) land restoration and biodiversity; (iii) <people—animal—ecosystems> health and wellbeing; and (iv) land-water-energy resources uses.

THE FOUR CLUSTERS

The objectives for each cluster are as follows:

  • climate impact on food system - pursing recommendations on how: (i) applying climate change science can improve food systems; (ii) renewable energy can be a solution for climate sensitive food solution; and (iii) Africa’s plant diversity can be used for reducing the yield and nutrition;
  • land restoration and biodiversity - pursing recommendations for land restoration for improved biodiversity in farming landscapes and achieving neutrality for land degradation;
  • <people—animal—ecosystems> health and wellbeing - pursing recommendations for improving human health through interventions in ecosystems and animal health; and
  • land-water-energy resources uses - pursing recommendations for resource use optimization for improved food production that emit less greenhouse gases (GHGs).

To achieve these objectives, Future Africa has leaned on Africa’s top-tier scientific experts in the respective clusters. Thus far, the experts have provided assistance in building a critical pan-African synthesis and an assessment of existing scientific productions from an African and transdisciplinary perspective. These contributions were presented and critically discussed during the CLAB Symposium (held virtually in June 2021). Following the symposium, the experts will continue to work towards crystallising actionable policy recommendation, which will be presented at the highest political level both regionally and internationally.

METHODOLOGY OF CLAB PROJECT

Accordingly, the methods used for the Project include, inter alia, a review of the relevant literature per cluster to identify, from a scientific basis, the actionable policy recommendations sought and innovations giving effect thereto. The key international forums falling within this calendar year include the:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15 (11-24 October 2021, Kunming, China), which will include discussions on the post 2020 global biodiversity framework, related matters for enhancing implementation and further technical issues;
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (3-11 September, Marseille, France), whose themes include, inter alia, conserving freshwater to sustain life, managing landscapes for nature and people and advancing knowledge, learning, innovation and technology;
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification COP 15 (between May-October 2022), which address issues of, among other things, desertification and land degradation as well as stakeholder participation; and
  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 26 (1-12 November 2021, Glasgow, United Kingdom), whose goals include, among others - (i) securing global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees with reach; (ii) adapt to protect communities and natural habitats; and (iii) working together to […] accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

Other than aligning with international and regional policy frameworks such as the United Nations Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, part of the Project’s aim is to have its recommendations advanced in various international forums, which includes the three Conference of Parties (COP) for three international legal instruments (Rio Conventions) taking place during this calendar year. In this regard, 2021 presents a unique opportunity for African stakeholders to simultaneously advance the continent’s agenda on climate change, food security, biodiversity protection and combatting land desertification.

PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH

The first high-level event of the CLAB Project was the CLAB Symposium, which took place 21 to 23 June 2021. Sponsored and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Embassy in South Africa, this symposium was attended by more than 40 experts across the four thematic areas. For more information, please access the symposium report here. Follow-up activities are planned for August 2021 – with a high-level reception hosted by the French Ambassador – H.E Mr Aurèlien Lechevallier – at the French Residence. Thereafter it is proposed that cluster-specific webinars are organised to continue the in-depth engagement of each thematic area with targeted participation from a wider audience.