Kenya will champion the Commonwealth Living Lands Action Group on climate-resilient agriculture for food security, pledging to lead coordinated efforts across 56 Commonwealth member countries.
The announcement was made after a Commonwealth event held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on December 3, 2023 during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28).
The Commonwealth Secretariat unveiled a new implementation structure to coordinate action among the 56 Commonwealth states on land, biodiversity and climate challenges, directly impacting a quarter of the world’s land area.
The launch of the new framework comes following extensive consultations with Commonwealth countries after the adoption of the Living Lands Charter last year.
Speakers, among them Malta Prime Minister Robert Abela and, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thiaw supported the framework.
“The world is experiencing a planetary crisis, addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity, and nurturing ecological restoration of our land has become an urgent priority for all Commonwealth members,” Abela said.
He added, “We are here to renew our commitment to work together towards the same through the Living Lands Charter. We hope that our experience inspires Commonwealth countries facing similar tough challenges.”
The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland urged countries in the Commonwealth to lead bold actions to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
“With this implementation framework, we are taking a giant leap forward. It will leverage the combined strength of the Commonwealth through thematic action working groups – learning from each other and spurring one another on towards systems change and a better future for all,” intimated Scotland.
The framework takes a system-wide approach towards implementing the Living Lands Charter through five thematic action areas:
• Climate-resilient agriculture for food security
• Soil and water conservation;
• Sustainable green cover and biodiversity
• Carbon neutral and climate-resilient livestock rearing and animal husbandry
• Indigenous and local people for climate-resilient development.
Here are the countries that have stepped up to lead on priority areas of action:
• Kenya will lead action on climate-resilient agriculture for food security.
• Guyana will champion action on sustainable green cover and biodiversity.
• Malta will spearhead the conservation of soil and water.
The Commonwealth has undertaken to offer extensive support to countries to achieve their commitments within each thematic area.
This entails mobilising funds for implementation, availing analyses for policymaking, facilitating institutional governance, offering capacity-building assistance, and generating knowledge for member countries.
The implementation framework has been developed in response to a mandate received from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in June 2022.
The Secretariat for the three Rio Conventions lauded the framework expressing confidence in its ability to aid countries realise targets set out in the Paris Agreement, the Global Biodiversity Framework and the UNCCD Strategic Plan for Land Degradation Neutrality.
The launch of the framework coincides with the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action.