UN Climate Change News, 25 April 2022 – Climate-smart agriculture and nature-based solutions, such as carbon sequestration through mangroves, are crucial means of dealing with the accelerating impacts of climate change – but people particularly in developing countries need more information and capacity to effectively take action. This was the key conclusion of an expert meet during the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Climate Week which took place last month.
The MENA region is one of the most affected by climate change impacts, facing climatic challenges such as low rainfall, high temperatures and dry soil.Climate change is expected to put significant strains on already scarce water and agricultural resources. Responding to the knowledge and resilience needs through tailored information for knowledge users is crucial to implementing adaptation action in this region.
Youssef Nassef, Director of Adaptation Division at UN Climate Change:
“We are embarking on an era of intensifying adaptation work and scaling up adaptation. In this region, there are people already keen to do that, given the peculiarity of the MENA region in terms of impacts, vulnerabilities and the type of knowledge that is needed.
The purpose of the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) – UNFCCC’s knowledge-to-action hub on adaptation and resilience – is to facilitate scaling up of adaptation action in countries by closing knowledge gaps. As part of the work under the NWP, the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative (LAKI) is convening partners in the MENA region to close persistent gaps for knowledge users.
During a LAKI event at MENA Climate Week, participants learned about the climate smart agriculture and nature-based solutions that are closing adaptation knowledge gaps. For example, a ‘MENA Regional Climate Observatory Network’ set up by ICARDA and CGIAR in Morocco, Jordan and Iraq builds on collaboration among scientists to observe, monitor and record various types of biophysical data and ecological indicators. The network, for instance, provides information in a non-expert format to farmers. The data and information can also be utilized by other partners to inform adaptation plans and activities in the region.
A digital system via mobile phones developed by the National Agricultural Research Center in Jordan will also help address knowledge gaps for farmers by transferring key data and information on understanding climate shocks, applying climate-smart agriculture practices to shield from these shocks, and on increasing resilient food production.
In addition to provision of relevant information in scaling up climate smart agriculture and nature-based solutions, countries also need financial support in the region. Adequate financial resources also need to be channeled to those implementing these innovative solutions. The Arab region will be developing the first Arab climate finance strategy, which will gather information to inform financial investments into longer-term strategies for both emission reduction and climate change adaptation.
Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment of the Arabic Republic of Egypt:
“Going to COP27, we should be able to say that these are the needs, the knowledge gaps and the common factors and challenges across the different regions and we need to request the necessary finance for adaptation.”
As countries are embarking on an era of intensifying adaptation work and scaling up adaptation, partnerships such as the ones demonstrated through the LAKI are critical to build climate resilience in countries in the region. The next two major UN Climate Change Conferences are due to be held in the region: Egypt (COP 27) and UAE (COP 28), which should further drive implementation of the LAKI in these subregions.