The 3rd Conference on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL) -- Addressing the Nexus Issues on Food Security & Food System Resilience in Africa organized successfully and fruitfully in Kenya

During June 26-27, 2023, the “3rd Conference on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL) -- Addressing the Nexus Issues on Food Security & Food System Resilience in Africa” was organized successfully and fruitfully at UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference was organized by UNEP-IEMP and AGRA- Sustainably Growing Africa's Food Systems, with support from UNEP, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). 

With an overall aim to promote the coordination and integration of the cooperation mechanisms between partners to address issues and challenges on sustainable development, especially on food security and food system resilience through nexus approach in Africa, the conference brought approximately 100 participants from 35 institutions of the Global South - governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, as well as regional, international and sister UN agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). 

At the opening session, Ms. Susan Gardner, Director of Ecosystems Division, UNEP stressed the significance of food security and resilience in relation to the triple planetary crisis of climate, nature, and pollution, and stressed the need for collective actions. She also encouraged the scientists and stakeholders from China, Africa and beyond to work together to deliver powerful science for policy and towards expediting practical solutions to addressing the SDGs.

Ms. Aggie Konde (representing Ms. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President) emphasized the urgency from testing to scaling up the actions to address the food challenges in Africa under the changing climate while also protecting ecosystems. She also expressed her appreciation that this conference was also to materialize the cooperation of AGRA-UNEP with everyone as part of the journey. Likewise, 

Mr. ZHUANG Yan, Director of Division of International Organization Programs, Bureau of International Cooperation, CAS encouraged everyone to join hands to overcome global issues and gave relevant examples of international cooperation under CAS, including UNEP-IEMP (jointly established between CAS and UNEP) and Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (between CAS and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya).


During the course of the conference, more than 40 presentations were made around the issues of food security in Africa. These include Africa study findings from 15 ongoing UNEP-Africa-China cooperation projects, global or UN level initiatives and actions to address cross linkages and nexus issues. There were discussions on challenges, gaps and opportunities facing Africa on food security, including sustainable food production and consumption, sustainable land and natural resources management along with livelihood security, food system vulnerabilities and resilience. Importantly, key areas for cooperation were also defined, including capacity building programme for systems thinking, inter-regional and regional peer learning and collaboration (including China-Africa cooperation), empowering to farmers and bottom up approach on technology transfer, technology research cooperation and integrated land use planning and management.

At the end of the conference, Ms. ZHANG Linxiu, Director of UNEP-IEMP delivered her closing remarks by thanking all who have involved in preparation, deliverarying and participations to this conference. She concluded that the conference was a real feast of scientific knowledge exchange from all the disciplines and encouraged everyone to further enrich knowledge and expand networks. UNEP-IEMP would be happy to continuously play the convening role when there is a need.

Ms. ZHANG Linxiu delivering a closing speech 

This CEL Africa conference is part of the continued effort of UNEP’s flagship programme on CEL, launched in 2016 and implementation led by UNEP-IEMP, to assist countries in the Global South to improve livelihoods through ecosystem restoration and conservation in the context of climate change. South-South Cooperation is a key feature of the CEL implementation and Africa is one of CEL focal geographical areas. Expertise from China has been mobilized by UNEP-IEMP to enhance partnership on science, technology and policy related to CEL topics together with the African partners and other international experts.

 Group photo of all participants

UNEP-International Ecosystem Management Partnership, a joint global center between UNEP and Chinese Academy of Sciences, is hosted by Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences.  

This conference was well reported by media, please see below links.

Chinese, African scientists call for climate-resilient food systems to beat hunger

The 3rd Conference on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Africa, focusing on Africa food security

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