African Union of­fi­cial calls on US to re­join pact

Sum­mit stresses need for co­op­er­a­tion on cli­mate, praises China’s com­mit­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The African Union is call­ing upon the United States to re­join the Paris cli­mate agree­ment, say­ing the re­cent US with­drawal neg­a­tively af­fects Africa’s vul­ner­a­ble agri­cul­ture sec­tor, said Josefa Sacko, AU Com­mis­sioner for ru­ral econ­omy and agri­cul­ture.

The AU of­fi­cial was speak­ing to the press on Satur­day dur­ing the 29 th AU sum­mit in Ethiopia’s cap­i­tal Addis Ababa, where she said the pan-African bloc has taken var­i­ous mea­sures to pro­mote sus­tain­able nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment and mit­i­gate im­pacts of cli­mate change.

In June, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced the with­drawal of his coun­try from the mile­stone agree­ment.

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion re­gard­ing the im­pact of the US exit on agri­cul­ture in Africa, Sacko said, “of course, it will af­fect cer­tain pro­grams”. How­ever, she said African na­tions are de­ter­mined to fol­low the ac­cord and that the US exit will not stop its im­ple­men­ta­tion.

She noted that Africa set the pace in the adop­tion of the Paris cli­mate change deal at the 21st ses­sion of the Con­fer­ence of Par­ties to the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, and made enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions to the out­comes of the COP 22 meet­ing held in Mar­rakech, Morocco.

Africa, which is said to be the least contributor to global warm­ing and car­bon emis­sion, suf­fers most from cli­matic change and its ad­verse ef­fects.

Un­der­ling the need to em­ploy col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts to deal with cli­mate change, the AU com­mis­sioner hailed Chi- na’s com­mit­ment to ad­dress­ing the chal­lenges of cli­mate change.

The com­mis­sioner said the drought in East Africa and the fall army­worm, in par­tic­u­lar, are the ma­jor chal­lenges fac­ing Africa at present.

Suf­fer­ing from drought

An es­ti­mated 16 mil­lion peo­ple are suf­fer­ing from the worst drought in decades in East and Horn of Africa while in the com­ing months, many more will be need­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and be­ing dis­placed due to the poor rains, ac­cord­ing to data from the UN In­ter- na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion Mi­gra­tion in June.

To make things worse, an out­break of fall army­worm has been re­ported in 25 African coun­tries and is still spread­ing, hav­ing in­fested 1.5 mil­lion hectares of crops, mainly maize, the sta­ple food of many Africans, Sacko said, adding the AU is tak­ing steps to de­velop mech­a­nism to sup­port its mem­ber states in ad­dress­ing the “un­prece­dented” in­fes­ta­tion.

To ad­dress chal­lenges in the agri­cul­ture sec­tor and achieve food se­cu­rity, the of­fi­cial also ex­pressed the AU’s keen in­ter- for est in strength­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion with China.

“We are go­ing to work more be­cause China has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in agri­cul­ture. We can get a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties. We are look­ing for­ward, dur­ing my ten­ure, to strengthen the co­op­er­a­tion in the sec­tor of agri­cul­ture,” she said.

“We need to strengthen the depart­ment, to as­sure that Africa’s food se­cu­rity is in con­trol and in terms of the cli­mate change is­sue, we can also part­ner with China.”

hectares of crops, mainly maize, have been in­fested by an army­worm out­break in Africa.

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