H.E Mrs. Pavely Tenal Musaka,
The minister of Mesti, Hon. Mahama Ayarigah,
The Minister of foreign Affair and Regional Integration, Hon. Hannah Tetteh,
The minister of Education, Hon. Prof. Jane Nana Opoku-Agyeman,
All protocols observed,
The issues of climate change and food insecurity have become topical around the globe. The agricultural sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, especially where farming relies heavily on rain. African countries are particularly vulnerable to climate change because, in addition to their dependence on rain-fed agriculture, they experience high levels of poverty, low levels of human and physical capital and poor infrastructure.
As both staple and cash crop agriculture are almost entirely rain-fed, rainfall variability during the growing season leads to fluctuating food production from year to year. Changes in rainfall also often lead to reduced harvest of staple foods, thus contributing to food insecurity.
Madam Chairperson, distinguished guest, many crops have annual cycles, and yields fluctuate with climate variability, particularly rainfall and temperature. Maintaining the continuity of food supply when production is seasonal is therefore challenging. Droughts and floods are a particular threat to food stability and could bring about both chronic and transitory food insecurity. Both are expected to become more frequent, more intense and less predictable as a consequence of climate change.
In rural areas that depend on rain fed agriculture for an important part of their local food supply, changes in the amount and timing of rainfall within the season and an increase in weather variability are likely to aggravate the precariousness of local food systems.
It is to be noted, the affordability of food is determined by the relationship between household income and the cost of a typical food basket. Global food markets may exhibit greater price volatility, jeopardizing the stability of returns to farmers and the access to purchased food of both farming and non-farming poor people.
Madam Chairperson, distinguished guests, the change in seasonality attributed to climate change can lead to certain food products becoming more scarce at certain times of year. Such seasonal variations in food supply, along with vulnerabilities to flooding and fire, can make livelihoods more vulnerable at certain times of the year. Although these impacts might appear indirect, they are important because many marginal livelihood groups are close to the poverty margin, and food is a key component of their existence.
Agriculture is often at the heart of the livelihood strategies of these marginal groups; agricultural employment, whether farming their own land or working on that of others, is key to their survival. In many areas, the challenges of rural livelihoods drive urban migration. As the number of poor and vulnerable people living in urban slums grows, the availability of non-farm employment opportunities and the access of urban dwellers to adequate food from the market will become increasingly important drivers of food security.
Agriculture-based livelihood systems that are already vulnerable to climate change face immediate risk of increased crop failure, loss of livestock and fish stocks, increasing water scarcities and destruction of productive assets. These systems include small-scale rain fed farming, pastoralism, inland and coastal fishing and forest-based systems. Rural people inhabiting coasts, floodplains and drylands are most at risk.
The urban poor, particularly in coastal cities and floodplain settlements, also face increasing risks. Among those at risk, pre-existing socio-economic discriminations are likely to be aggravated, causing nutritional status to deteriorate among women, young children and elderly, ill and disabled people. Future vulnerability is likely to affect not only farmers, fishers, herders and forest-dependent people, but also low-income city dwellers, in developing countries, whose sources of livelihood and access to food may be at risk from the impact of extreme weather events and variable food prices, and who lack adequate insurance coverage.
Madam Chairperson, distinguished guests, the youth run the risk of them also contributing to climate change and failing to mitigate it, just as past generations have been doing. In order for the youth to actively and meaningful participate and influence development into the direction of climate resilient development, it is important that they understand these issues and the challenges to their achievement.
Given this scenario, there is need to allow the youth to actively participate in addressing the climate change problems, not as victims but more importantly as solution providers. It is in this context that the African youth should be recognised (not only on paper) as an age group with a lot of potential in addressing the climate change problem which spans within and across generations.
Madam Chairperson, distinguished guest, in order for Africa to achieve climate resilient development, there is a need create appropriate packages for climate change adaptation and mitigation for the youth in particular. If the youth are not actively involved in the current climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, they themselves when they pass the youth stage will keep on doing the same old ways which have been found to go against the objective of climate resilient development.
This therefore require everyone’ participation, which calls for the active participation of the youth; it is in the youth that today and tomorrow’s development foundation is anchored. Growing attention to climate change and sustainable development offers a chance for green economic growth. Green jobs not only provide much-needed employment opportunities for youth, they also give the youth an outlet to contribute directly to the fight against climate change by adopting green behaviors in their private lives.
Kenneth Nana Amoateng