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Offshoots from EBAFOSA Nigeria National Day of Climate Resilience Food Security and Innovative Volunteerism

On 24th November 2017, EBAFOSA Nigeria commemorated their 1st National day of Climate Resilience & innovative volunteerism with objectives to take stock of progress made in the past year and leverage it to promote EBAFOSA as the priority initiative that will accelerate socioeconomic transformation in Nigeria through the implementation of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) commitments under the Paris Agreement. The strategic thrust behind the EBAFOSA Modus operandi is to establish EBA-Driven Agriculture led, clean energy powered agro-industrial zones.Five strategic achievements were discussed and shared with stakeholders drawn from government, academia, private sector & non-governmental organizations.

First, on enabling NDCs implementation policies, the EBAFOSA Nigeria Inter-Agency policy harmonization task force was officially inaugurated. The task force which is already operational is hosted & chaired by the Ministry of Environment with co-chairs being the Ministry of Budgets, Planning & Coordination and the Ministry of Agriculture. This task force has put in place formal working arrangements and is engaging other critical ministries to drive NDCs implementation focusing on establishment of EBA-Driven Agriculture led, clean energy powered agro-industrial zones. The aim of this inter agency task force is to create an enabling policy environment for NDCs implementation spanning all the critical ministries.

Secondly in following up on the above, the Ministry of Environment announced it had integrated EBAFOSA into its budget as a framework to implement Nigeria’s NDCs. The incentive for the Ministry was in line with section 5 of the Paris Agreement – where EBAFOSA Nigeria having mobilized multiple state & non-state actors critical to NDCs implementation offers a low risk implementation platform for the Ministry. The Ministry through the Director of Climate Change lauded EBAFOSA’s innovative approach ensuring climate action becomes a socioeconomic opportunity ensuring not only enhanced ecosystems & mitigated carbon but wealth creation as well – priorities that cut across the entire government.  He remarked that it was the first time the Ministry was allocating a budget to work through a grand initiative for NDCs implementation and expressed confidence in its success.

The third success discussed was on innovative financing where the UNEP EBAFOSA Nigeria / Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing Facility for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) partnerships was inaugurated. In this partnership, UNEP EBAFOSA, and the Central Bank of Nigeria NIRSAL are collaborating to enhance capacity of the existing risk sharing facilities by integrating Ecosystems Based Adaptation (EBA) as an additional risk averter to de-risk the entire agro-value chain in Nigeria – specifically covering the climate induced crop failure risk by leveraging on EBA. This collaboration is set to catalyse flow of private finance & capital to upscale EBA – providing market driven incentive to upscale EBA. The objective is to move EBA from being applied in subsistence farming to commercially driven, where NIRSAL provides commercialization capital for EBA. And by this achieve sustainable financing for climate adaptation & upscaling nature based, sustainable EBA-Driven Agriculture approaches – both which are Nigeria’s NDCs priorities. Work is starting off at the pilot phase where focus is de-risking on-farm / farm level production enterprises. The flagship crop is cassava which has been prioritized for scaling and for which an appropriate policy for scaling – the cassava bread policy exists. Through this collaboration, the government of Nigeria will not only be implementing its NDCs, but also enhancing operationalization of its ground-breaking cassava bread policy meant to maximize the earnings of the cassava crop for wealth creation. Nigeria is the largest cassava producer globally & this crop has been earmarked as being a strategic economic asset for Nigeria. The next phase of this collaboration will focus on financing the post-farm gate value chain where focus will move to include financing for clean energy systems powering agro-processing & ICT for low-carbon market & supply chain linkages to meet Nigeria’s mitigation priorities & create additional wealth opportunities. The NIRSAL team and the EBAFOSA Nigeria actors led in expounding this partnership and concluded by noting that this collaboration was a win-win for both UNEP EBAFOSA & NIRSAL. For UNEP, it is moving the climate finance discussions from classical “climate financing as a need” to discussing value chains that can generate financing. Where first start finance becomes an investment to generate more market driven finances that are sustainable. From a NIRSAL perspective, this collaboration will enhance NIRSAL aims of moving agriculture from being a culture to being a business by further minimizing agro-value chain risks – specifically climate induced crop failure risk which will now be covered by EBA and  this incentivize more agro-related businesses.

Fourth and still related to innovative financing, the Director of Climate Change also announced that the Nigeria Green Bonds initiative – the first of its kind in Africa to implement climate actions, will work with the UNEP EBAFOSA Nigeria to operationalize the green bonds fund. The Director explained that the aim of the green bond was for the government to raise capital to invest in green enterprises capable of meeting Nigeria’s NDCs simultaneously with creating income opportunities given that the market for fossil fuels was dwindling & the globe was moving towards cleaner investments. To this end, he announced that UNEP EBAFOSA will be prioritized as a mechanism for identifying & managing the enterprises where the green bonds money will be invested. With already ongoing enterprises operating and the establishment of the risk sharing facility, EBAFOSA was lauded as a low risk platform on which the green bond proceeds could be invested for maximized returns for the government & investors of the green bond.

Fifth, EBAFOSA Nigeria launched the first phase of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) application that will integrate processes, products & services along the entire EBA-Driven Agriculture led clean energy powered agro-industrialization value and supply chain in Nigeria – called M-eBAFOSA Nigeria. All the actions discussed above – including the financing from NIRSAL & the green bonds will be channelled through this application where enterprises will be mapped and linked to markets & complementary supply chains to ensure profitability.      

The National Day of resilience in Nigeria demonstrated how different actors – state & non-state as called for under Section 5 of the Paris Agreement & SDG 17, can define their niche in the paradigm of low emissions development. And in the process, contribute to furtherance of the SDGs & Paris Agreement objectives. 

Next steps

1.     At the operational level, from the partnerships mobilized during the event, the EBAFOSA Nigeria will ramp up operationalization of the cassava value chain for wealth creation & scaling of EBA leveraging on the risk sharing model to be run by NIRSAL.

2.      At the policy level, partnerships generated at the event will be channeled to expedite the work of synchronizing policies for NDCs implementation in a manner that unlocks income opportunities – building on what will be ongoing with the cassava value chains actions as ground actions to validate policies.

3.      EBAFOSA focal points stationed in all the states to continue mobilization of additional actors to enhance driving the above actions. This will be through the M-eBAFOSA Nigeria application which will map these actors and facilitate seamless and frictionless interactions between them towards bridging gaps & establishing enterprises that create income & implement Nigeria NDCs – especially priorities on greening agriculture where EBA will be up-scaled & clean energy – especially for powering various levels of agro-value addition.

EBAFOSA Nigeria becomes the 4th National branch to commemorate their first anniversary.

Congratulations EBAFOSA Nigeria!

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Offshoots from EBAFOSA Uganda National Day of Resilience and Food Security

On 22nd September, EBAFOSA Uganda commemorated their 1st anniversary since the launch of EBAFOSA in Uganda at the Uganda National Farmers Federation hall, Kampala. The objective of this commemoration was to take stock of EBAFOSA progress and based on this, promote EBAFOSA as the priority initiative that will accelerate climate resilient socioeconomic transformation in Uganda through establishing the EBA Driven Agriculture based, clean energy powered agro-industrial zones. As a result, attract support of additional key stakeholders at policy level (to finalize establishment and recognition in government of the inter-agency policy task force) and at operational level to aggregate ground actions towards establishing these clean energy powered agro-industrial zones towards a low emissions development pathway.

The guests of honour were the Director of Environment Affairs, Ministry of Water & Environment and the Minister of Agriculture in the Buganda Kingdom. In his remarks, the Director of Environment thanked EBAFOSA for providing Uganda a forum to mobilize innovative ideas towards climate proofing & maximizing productivity of its food systems in a manner that is paving a pathway way towards realising low emissions development. He noted that agriculture, a critical socioeconomic sector employing 70% of Uganda’s labour force is impacted by climate change lowering agro-productivity and by extension the Ugandan economy. For example, the rate of economic growth in 2016/2017 is at 3.9%, well below the projected 5.8%, a fact that coincided with two droughts experienced in quick succession. The implication being that the drought could be among contributory factors. He therefore lauded the integrated EBAFOSA approach eliminating inefficiencies along the entire food system. From on farm where EBA approaches capable of increasing yields up to 128% under the changing climate are used ensuring climate change does not lower yields; to direct linkage of on-farm production to clean energy to power value addition & ICT to enhance linkages to markets & supply chains – all which serve to lower post-harvest losses (PHLs) that average as high as 60% and create additional income opportunities without adding onto aggregate emissions of Uganda. He underscored the need for partnerships among complementary actors at both policy & operational level towards building climate resilient economic growth in Uganda as above. He further noted the policy & financial investments put in place by the government towards the above on which EBAFOSA is building through catalysing additional mutual partnerships at both policy & operational level to actualize the envisaged economic, climate resilience & food security strategies of Uganda.

On his part, the Minister of State for Agriculture of the Kingdom of Buganda used the occasion to formally launch the Buganda Kingdom - EBAFOSA Uganda collaboration aimed at maximizing productivity of the cassava value chain. Cassava, the second most important staple crop in Uganda faces up to 90% Post Harvest Losses (PHLs) translating to over US$30 million lost annually primarily due to lack of adequate value addition. Through this collaboration, the Buganda Kingdom which has negotiated to supply the Uganda Breweries with high grade cassava will benefit from reduced inefficiencies along the entire value chain. On-farm, where through EBAFOSA Uganda, the Buganda Kingdom farmers will partner with experts for knowledge on application of EBA driven approaches and with suppliers of solar powered micro-irrigation for clean energy on-farm value addition - cumulatively enhancing resilience of their crop against droughts to stabilize their supply to the breweries hence consolidate their markets. Post-farm gate where through EBAFOSA, farmers will partner with clean energy enterprises for various levels of post-farm gate value addition e.g. solar drying to minimize spoilage and also benefit from ICT applications for lower cost, timely linkages to markets & supply chains. Cumulatively these post farm gate linkages are projected to lower PHLs thus stabilize & enhance farmer incomes. All these achieved without adding onto aggregate emissions from Uganda. This collaboration is projected to create income opportunities not only at the farmer level but along the entire cassava value chain with suppliers of cuttings and also in ancillary chains of clean energy & ICT.          

The event also included exhibitions by multiple actors along the EBAFOSA continuum making impact in creating socioeconomic development opportunities out of climate actions that connect clean energy with agro-value addition. For example, through the framework of EBAFOSA, collaboration between a high school & a university are creating income opportunities for youth in waste to energy called the “Waste to Energy Youth Project”. This collaboration between the St. Kizito High School and the Ndejje University is producing fuel briquette and organic fertilizers complete with packaging from farm waste. And in the process, creating incomes. Fertilizer production is part scaling EBA while fuel briquette provide clean energy alternatives to offset carbon from forest harvesting. This initiative successfully transformed St, Kizito High School, from use of firewood to use of their fuel briquettes saving up to 7 trucks of firewood per term and 21 trucks per year. Scaling this model across Uganda, with a total of 20,000 schools means saving over 4,200,000 trucks worth of trees every year.

Targeting youth of 12 to 35 years the initiative is not only imparting practical skills in briquette production, EBA & smart agriculture and waste management but is also supplementing technical skills with the Business / Entrepreneurial training. This is knowledge required for them to start, run and expand such project. The business component covers basic feasibility study, market research, business plan formulation, pitching to investors to starting and expanding the venture. This collaboration is ensuring the participants come out of the training as green job creators rather than the trend of job seekers that are being produced from the Education institution. Going forward, EBAFOSA is set to introduce standardization and ICT enabled market & supply chain linkages to enhance marketability & reduce marketing costs of this group of youth. It is also set to link these energy sources to additional uses along the agro-value chain especially eateries.  

At the policy level, EBAFOSA is set to ensure linkage to the Ministry of Education to facilitate integration of this green jobs model to relevant curriculum at primary & high school level.   EBAFOSA Uganda becomes the 2nd National branch to commemorate their first anniversary.

Through these two land-mark initiatives alone – the cassava value chain & the waste to energy - EBAFOSA is demonstrating how bridging silos through mutual partnerships, Africa can pave a low emissions development pathway – actualizing leading socioeconomic development priorities of food & livelihood security while simultaneously offsetting carbon &  enhancing ecosystems resilience to meet objectives of the Paris Agreement.

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Offshoots from EBAFOSA Gambia National Day of Resilience and Food Security

On 5th October, EBAFOSA Gambia commemorated their 1st anniversary since their launch. The objective of this commemoration was to promote EBAFOSA as the priority initiative that will accelerate socioeconomic transformation & combat climate change in the Gambia through establishing the EBA based, clean energy powered agro-industrial zones. By this, establish market-driven incentives catalysing transition to low emissions development pathway for the country through practical actions to close both policy and operational gaps. Through this promotion, EBAFOSA Gambia sought to attract support of additional key stakeholders at policy level (to finalize establishment and recognition in government of the inter-agency policy task force) and at operational level to aggregate ground actions towards establishing these clean energy powered agro-industrial zones.

The guests of honour was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources, Mr. Lamin Jawara. In his remarks, he noted that the Gambia welcomes the EBAFOSA as it seeks to solve leading challenges in the Gambia. Among these need to achieve food security, create jobs for bulging youth population, combat poverty while simultaneously protecting ecosystems to cumulatively build climate resilience. He also lauded EBAFOSA as supporting Gambia meet its objectives as signatory to all three Rio conventions – UNFCCC, UNCCD, UNCBD. He further lauded the innovative approach of EBAFOSA, the inclusive partnerships that leverage the strengths of multiple actors and targeted sectors for synergy towards building climate resilience & ushering the Gambia into a low emissions development pathway. He pledged his Ministries support to EBAFOSA Gambia towards ensuring actualization of a low emissions pathway that meets socioeconomic needs alongside climate objectives in the Paris Agreement to unlock multiple Sustainable Development Goals.

On her part, the UN FAO assistant country resident representative to the Gambia lauded EBAFOSA for focusing on agriculture as it is the corner stone of economies in Africa and hold the key to accelerated socioeconomic development. She emphasized the urgent need to increase agriculture productivity in the continent to safeguard economies and noted that this will be by taking an integrated rather than silo approach. Her for instance noted that since the 1900s, up to 75% of crop diversity has been lost from fields globally compounding quest for food security. She further noted need to maintain soils health & prevent erosion – all meaning the urgent need to mainstream food production approaches that enhance & protect ecosystems. She also noted the need to ensure not only adequate food but adequate distribution networks to make it accessible & affordable. She decried the fact that Africa resorts to importing food that can be produced locally and in the process, depleting its foreign reserves and weakening economies. All these implying need to consider the entire agro-value chain holistically. She  noted that Africa is the only region in the world where per capita food production has declined steadily over the years. To remedy, he noted an urgent need to empower multiple population segments – especially women & youth to engage in this value chain & enhance productivity competitively targeting both domestic & international markets. He noted for instance that if women in agriculture had the same access to capital resources as men, the number of food insecure people globally would decline by 150 million.

Noting the need for locally driven solutions to solve such challenges, the UN FAO Deputy Representative  lauded EBAFOSA for taking an integrated approach addressing inefficiencies along the entire agro-value chain including health of foundational ecosystems. She also lauded EBAFOSA for providing space for locally driven solutions & one where the capacity of multiple actors critical to maximizing productivity of Africa’s food systems – like the women & youth can be built.  She concluded by pledging UN FAOs commitment to work with EBAFOSA in the agriculture & natural resources sector towards building climate resilient communities & food systems.

The University of the Gambia also participated in the event. Students pledged to work with EBAFOSA Gambia by volunteering their time & knowledge to build partnerships & networks with experienced professionals and ongoing enterprises so they can enhance their practical skills to engage in enterprises along the EBAFOSA continuum – be it clean energy powered agro-value addition, ICT, financing, marketing & business planning along others.  

The Gambia Immigration department also participated in this event. 70% of youth across Africa immigrate illegally in search of socioeconomic opportunities and in the process, loose their lives at sea. Noting the capacity building & socioeconomic opportunities along the agro-industrialization supply chain & continuum that EBAFOSA provides for the youth, the Immigration department pledged to work with EBAFOSA and develop a counselling programme targeting youth illegal immigrants. The objective of this programme will be to counsel youth on socioeconomic opportunities available within the Gambia through EBAFOSA, thus disincentivize illegal immigration.  

The event also featured an exhibition by EBAFOSA Gambia stakeholders on how through EBAFOSA, they are bridging gaps to practically enhance food & livelihood security while also combating climate change. And as a result, practicalize a low emissions development pathway. Among key exhibitors was a bio-fertilizer entrepreneur. Through EBAFOSA, he has partnered with livestock farmers to harvest manure & groundnut farmers to harvest shells and using these as raw material, produce bio-fertilizer for sell. Through the EBAFOSA compliance standard which recommends bio-fertilizer and set to be adopted by the National Regulators in 40 countries, the market for bio fertilizer is set to expand. In addition, an ICT app to link to markets is set to be launched in the Gambia where this bio-fertilizer actor will be mapped out as a supplier. Cumulatively, these market driven actions are set to incentivize bio-fertilizer production, which is a low emission livelihood activity.

Another exhibitor was a women cooperative group who have mobilized through EBAFOSA to pool resources & launched a waste-to-energy & fertilizer enterprise. These women are making briquettes & compost manure from agriculture waste from nearby farms. These products are all recommended in the EBAFOSA compliance standard set to be launched & enforced by the Gambia Bureau of Standard to further incentivize their use. Going forward EBAFOSA is set to map out these women in the mobile app as suppliers of clean energy & bio-fertilizer to users across the Gambia so they can access a wider market, and expand their production.

Cassava is the flagship crop that EBAFOSA Gambia is targeting to industrialize & gather lessons to replicate towards industrializing other crop value chains in the Gambia. To this end, two cassava actors exhibited their enterprises and what they hope to achieve through EBAFOSA. A leading challenge facing stakeholder was the prevailing gaps along the cassava supply & value chain. For example, while cassava can be processed and used as raw material for various market products – bread, gari a local flour etc., producers lack the necessary linkages to markets & supply chains that would enable them produce competitively. Among key inputs include relevant off-grid clean energy technologies to power processes like flour milling - given that grid-connectivity is low and solar irrigation to enhance yields under declining rainfall; linkage to consumer markets to cut middlemen who erode revenues & profitability of producers; linkage to affordable bio-fertilizer among others. Actors also noted the need for policies & institutional frameworks to address challenges unique to the cassava sector and need for continued research to enhance productivity. EBAFOSA is set to address these bottlenecks. For example, the EBAFOSA ICT app will ensure producers are linked to various actors critical to bridging productivity gaps along the value chain – be it suppliers of clean energy, fertilizer etc. The app will also ensure producers are seamlessly linked to various consumer levels mapped out as markets. At the policy level, the inter-ministerial policy task force provides a forum and will prioritize addressing cassava sector policy bottlenecks.

The National Day of resilience in the Gambia demonstrated how different actors – state & non-state as called for under Section 5 of the Paris Agreement & SDG 17, can define their niche in the paradigm of low emissions development. And in the process, contribute to furtherance of the SDGs & Paris Agreement objectives. 

Next steps

1.     From the partnerships mobilized during the event, the following next steps are prioritized. At policy level EBAFOSA Gambia will mobilize representatives from the Immigration department to participate in the policy task force. The objective will be to work with complementary actors to develop a youth counseling policy to build capacity of at risk youth captured attempting illegal immigration to create livelihood opportunities enterprises based on EBA driven agriculture and clean energy.  This will be part of the immigration department strategies to combat illegal immigration that will simultaneously enhance Gambia’s transition to low emissions development. This will be in line with section 5 of the Paris Agreement & SDG 17 which underscored partnerships as critical to actualizing low emissions development.

2.      At the operational level, the University of Gambia students from faculties of ICT, business, agriculture, environment, will join ongoing actions with established ICT stakeholders on EBAFOSA Gambia to finalize development & testing of a mobile app to integrate processes & actors along the entire EBA-driven agriculture & clean energy continuum to scale EBA (Article 7) and clean energy to mitigate emissions (Article 4) and SDG13. In the process, capacity of these youth to build enterprises based on clean energy and EBA is enhanced, to buttress Gambia NDC priorities. This is in line with Article 10 of the Paris Agreement on capacity building for country climate actions.  

3.     The bio-fertilizer entrepreneur will be mapped in the finalized app and linked to markets through the app. This will incentivize increased production of bio-fertilizer a notable low emissions livelihood activity to combat poverty (SDG 1), food security (SDG 2). The women group developing bio-fertilizer and energy briquettes will also be mapped in the ICT app as suppliers of clean energy & bio-fertilizer and linked to markets across Gambia towards incentivizing these low emissions enterprises. These directly buttress Gambia NDC priorities on scaling clean cook stoves as an energy priority, SDG 7 on scaling clean energy and diversified livelihoods as agriculture NDC priority to contribute to Article 3 of the Paris Agreement.  

4.     Stakeholders of the cassava initiatives who participated in the exhibition will benefit from linkages to clean energy & bio-fertilizer as well as markets through the ICT app being developed to enhance their productivity. In addition, the cassava actors will be among the initial actors who will have their products certified by the EBAFOSA compliance standards being developed. At the policy level, these cassava actors are set to share views with the task force on key areas that need to be addressed to create enabling environment to maximize productivity of the cassava value chain. 

EBAFOSA Gambia becomes the 3rd National branch to commemorate their first anniversary.

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Today, EBAFOSA commemorates 2 years since its formal establishment. Over this period, your hard & smart efforts applying Innovative Volunteerism to operationalize the EBAFOSA pillars shows the power of Innovative Volunteerism. It shows Innovative Volunteerism is the solution to maximize productivity of clean energy & EBA-driven agriculture, Africa's catalytic sectors for socioeconomic & climate benefits.   

From the coast-lines of West Africa, to the savannahs of southern Africa, to the rainforest of central Africa, to the highlands of East Africa and to the SIDS,  the Paradgm of Innovative Volunterism through the  EBAFOSA Policy and implementation framework is visible to all. 

For example,  just to name a few , under amalgamation, EBAFOSA's foundational pillar which implies that clean energy expansion be tagged directly to powering value addition of environmentally sustainably produced agro-products (rather than undertaking developments in these two sectors in silos), in Cameroon's Jakiri municipality, EBAFOSA is catalyzing partnerships at policy & ground level towards linking off-grid small-hydro directly to power cassava and Irish potato processing into varied product lines and linking these to markets & supply chains using ICT mobile apps. This is not only offsetting carbon in energy generation and building ecosystems resilience by incentivizing use of EBA approaches, but creating income opportunities along the entire agro-value chain & ancillary chains of clean energy & ICT. A total of 10 youth groups engaging in ICT, clean energy & marketing have been engaged creating green jobs for approximately 100 young people. Over 500 women now have access to value addition services and as a result have cut their PHLs to enhance their income stability & the community food security. 

On ICT as a driver of efficient linkages along the EBAFOSA chain pillar, the EBAFOSA driven ICT app called EdenSys developed by Kenya EBAFOSA is enabling farmers to use their mobile phones to access decsion making information & services along the EBAFOSA chain - including advisory services, information on inputs including clean energy, access markets where they can price and sell their products among other key actions. 

Going forward, to enhance financial inclusion, a dedicated financing service to finance products & services along the entire EBAFOSA chain called M-eBAFOSA is being developed  to be a one-stop-shop financing module, a door-way that links end-users/clients interested in financing along the EBAFOSA chain, to the relevant product & service providers along the entire EBAFOSA chain. Be it advisory services on EBA/clean energy; clean energy technology, EBAFOSA compliance standards etc. - and an array of financial service providers to effect various levels of payment. 

Significant progress has also been achieved in the other pillars of innovative financing, policy harmonization, and standardization across 25 countries in Africa.   

The message is simple - that many hands make for light work. That a single bracelet does not jingle. It is a call for all to converge around the model of Innovative Volunteerism & volunteer our professional skills, our talents, our professional, organizational & personal networks, our ongoing initiatives - and build mutual business partnerships with complementary actors to operationalize these EBAFOSA pillars towards maximizing productivity of clean energy & nature based, EBA driven agriculture. The continents catalytic sectors that will accelerate socioeconomic transformation sustainably. 

Africa counts on you! 

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