KINSHASA – The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa [AFSA], the largest civil society organisation coalition championing food sovereignty across the continent, is gearing up for its trailblasing convening set for August 29-31 in Kinshasa, DR Congo.
Themed “Regional Summit in reconciling food production with biodiversity conservation and climate emergency in the Congo Basin”, the gathering aspires to forge a path forward amidst the challenges of food systems, biodiversity conservation, and the looming threat of climate change.
The convening, organised in collaboration with Congo Basin Conservation Society [CBCS], Comité National pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture Familiale [CNPAF], the Société Civile Environnementale et Agro-Rurale du Congo [SOCEARUCO] Climate Change Africa Opportunities [CCCAO] and in partnership with the National Ministry of Agriculture, seeks to address the profound challenges facing the Congo Basin. This initiative aligns with the vision of President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, emphasising agroecology as the cornerstone of sustainable food systems and climate adaptation strategies.
AFSA, with 40 active members from 50 African countries, has been at the forefront of promoting agroecology as a bold climate action for Africa, a just pathway to transforming our food systems, and a social movement to ensure Africa’s health and social justice.
The Congo Basin is the focus of this summit, a vital ecological treasure that houses Africa’s most extensive rainforest, dubbed the “lung of Africa.” This event aims to address the pressing matters of biodiversity conservation, food sovereignty, and climate change in the vast and vital Congo Basin region.
Dr. Million Belay, AFSA General Coordinator, said, “The summit confronts the interconnected challenges of food systems, biodiversity conservation, and climate change. Our aim is to galvanize the diverse voices in the region, advocating for food sovereignty and a transition to agroecology. It is imperative for policymakers and donors to recognise that an industrial food system is not the answer for the Congo Basin. Our genuine hope is rooted in a comprehensive approach, addressing the array of challenges facing both the region and broader Africa. This encapsulates the spirit of agroecology – a holistic response to intricate problems.”
By organising this summit, AFSA aims to create a melting pot of ideas, with diverse stakeholders, from governmental bodies to grassroots conservationists, participating in crucial dialogues. These discussions are expected to yield strategies that merge ancestral knowledge with contemporary conservation methods, all under the overarching theme of a changing climate.
Josué ARUNA, Executive Director of Congo Basin Conservation Society [CBCS], said “The Congo Basin, spanning six nations, is not merely our planet’s lung, but the very heartbeat of over 60 million lives. These forests represent more than carbon sinks; they are the lifeblood of diverse food systems and cultures.”
He added: “As the DRC navigates dire environmental shifts, our indigenous communities stand on a precipice, balancing development, conservation, food security, and their quest for justice. This convening is our rallying call, urging us to embrace agroecology as a holistic solution to the intertwined challenges of climate change and food sovereignty.”
Highlighting the broader implications of the convening, Charles Mulozi, advocacy and campaign coordinator at AFSA said “Our ultimate goal is to carve out sustainable solutions that not only shield our irreplaceable ecosystem but also enshrine food sovereignty for our communities.”
The convening is poised to culminate in a series of actionable outcomes, including comprehensive reports, a detailed database cataloging key issues and actors, official position statements, and a roadmap for advocacy at both national and regional levels.
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