By Linda Ike
ECOWAS Parliament have been charged to facilitate the establishment of sustainable governance mechanism for climate change in their various countries.
The charge was made by the ECOWAS Commission Project Coordinator and Climate Change Environmental Directorate, Raoul Kouame at the ongoing Delocalised meeting of the Joint committee of ECOWAS Parliament in Guinea, Guinea Bissau.
KOUAME said Members of the Parliament need to be committed to addressing the effects of climate change in the sub-region by developing strategies at the national level that will make their government adopt policies for the betterment of the community citizens.
The Coordinator disclosed different efforts by the commission to mitigate the effects of climate, saying budgeting more funding into the subject will go a long way at making the efforts succeed.
He said, “The Environment Directorate has developed some key documents which is the ECOWAS Environmental policy and also from there we draw the regional climate strategy which come along with the climate finance access and mobilization strategy for us to allow the commission to mobilize the adequate resources for the implementation of the climate change strategy and also contributing to the implementation environmental policy.
“As you know also for the implementation of such document we need to put in place some mechanism, some law at the national level where the MPs also have role to play
“So our intention of presenting all these document is for them, when going back to their different countries, they can also be aware what efforts at regional level has been taken by the commission and they also need to translate in the national law”.
The Director of Agriculture and Rural Development, ECOWAS Commission, Alain Sy Traoré who presented a paper on the topic: “The Biennial Review of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security by Member Countries” made case for 10% budgetary allocation to agriculture in order to attend to the Malabo commitments.
He stressed that 2025 Goal for the elimination of hunger and poverty in the Sub-region will be achieved if status quo is maintained on approach to Agriculture amongst member states.
He tasked Parliamentarians to ensure every fund allocated for projects are utilised well.
“if you have a National budget Agric Investment plan, designed, approved and adopted at the national level, so, it means you will be given necessary budget allocation on annual budgeting programming, if you do not do annual budgeting programming then you will not meet it, then of course, you need to do economic analysis so that you know where investment will be going and even though when you meet the 10% of allocation you also look at the efficiency of the investment.
“That, is the money going on ground to the farmers at the local level or is the money going somewhere else? These are the typical questions.
And of course, the public leaders have primary responsibility for allocating enough fund into Agric sector.
“The 10% is just the minimum, so that we can get the target of ending hunger and making agriculture contributing in the global growth economy in each of the member state”. he emphasised.
Contributing to the topic, a member of the Committee Hon. KAIPAY Jonathan Lambort expressed worries over road connectivity in member countries.
According to him, farmers found it difficult to get their farm produces to the market due to bad roads, saying that the goods get spoilt thereby causing hunger to the citizens..
He said, “One of the integrated part of agriculture is road connectivity, how do we facilitate, what are the strategies in place, how do we ensure that there is a programme that facilitates agriculture along road connectivity?
“If the farmers produce the crops and cannot get them to the market, there is problem.
“How we can encourage member states especially the Government to look at agriculture when it come to a sustainable tool
He continued,”Some countries have Agriculture Development Banks, some banks are dedicated to Agriculture Institutes, how do we encourage these Institutions so that they lend out resources so that farmers could be encouraged, thereby boosting farm production thus addressing the issue of food insecurity”.
Another member of the Joint Committee, Hon. Musah Abdul-Aziz Ayaba, who expressed worry over challenges of importation of fertilizer due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, called for encouragement of the production of fertilizer within the sub-region.
“This Russia/Ukraine war has affected us a lot in the area of fertilizers and now we want to know what recommendation we need to do so that when we want to produce our own fertiliser in the coming years” he said.
The presenters however promised to look into the matters raised to assist the community citizens for a more sustained life.
The theme of the meeting is:“A critical look at the ECOWAS Environmental Policy and Climate Strategy, as well as a biennial review of the agricultural production, food and nutritional security in Member States”, on the topic, “ECOWAS Environment Policy and Climate Strategy”.