Adapting to Climate Change in Africa through Plant Genetic Diversity

Interdisciplinary teams from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Senegal and Uganda met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement seed sharing and use for climate change adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation.

The teams discussed ways to work together to implement two international agreements; the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Plant Treaty) and the Nagoya Protocol; to conserve and exchange plant genetic resources with each other and with the rest of the world, and share related benefits.

Alternative varieties or replacement crops that can grow in the changing climatic conditions are a necessity for African farmers, as  the International Panel on Climate Change predicts that agricultural production is set to decline, with yields of major crops in Africa declining by up to 8% .

Mahlet Teshome, Biosafety Expert – Environmental Law, African Union Commission said:

“Africa is blessed with an abundance and variety of genetic resources. The manner in which these genetic resources are used to meet the challenges of the region such as climate change adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation is key. The AU Guidelines cover the range of benefits that may be derived from genetic resources, including plant genetic resources, and proposes access procedures that ensure benefits are shared between providers and users of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. The guidelines and the provisions for Africa are perfectly in sync with the AU’s Agenda 2063 which aspires to a prosperous continent with the means and resources to drive its own development.”

While Andreas Drews,  an expert in ABS Capacity Development Initiative said:”It is really important for African countries to think through how to bring access and benefit-sharing (ABS) into the national implementation processes in a coherent way. Since the beginnings of agriculture farmers and local communities have exchanged their seeds to improve and diversify crops they grow to adapt to changing conditions. These days, we are all faced with new environmental challenges, such as increased flooding, heat and drought – and that is why everyone needs crop diversity: to be able to maintain food security for everyone.”

Torture in Africa: The Law and Practice

A meeting of African experts on the law and practice on torture was held in Naivasha, Kenya in May 2012.
It was organised by REDRESS in collaboration with the Independent MedicoLegal Unit (IMLU) as part of the project on “Reparation for Torture: Global Sharing of Expertise” supported by the EU’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
The meeting formed a part of a series of regional events that REDRESS has organised in different parts of the world that seek to strengthen
collaboration of practitioners to more effectively combat torture. The contributions made before and during the meetings will form part of regional and global reports on the law and practice relating to the prohibition of torture.
It provided an opportunity to exchange information and experiences on litigating torture cases and advocating legal and institutional reforms.
Throughout, experts identified both systemic challenges and best practices in relation to promoting accountability and redress for torture.

The summary report of 11 pages can be read at Redress here. You can also read the full 42 page Torture in Africa: The Law and Practice report from September 2012. This is an important resource for those in the field, and indeed all human beings.

New Dimensions in Legal Adaptation to Global Dynamics

Moi University, Eldoret, is holding its 8th Annual International Conference in September.

The programme

Symposium IV
School of Law
Theme: “New Dimensions in Legal Adaptation to Global Dynamics
International and Comparative Perspectives”
Sub Themes
1. Constitutional law
2. Gender and family law
3. International trade, commerce and investment law (including intellectual property and information
technology law)
4. Public international law
5. Environmental law
6. International criminal law (including transitional justice and international humanitarian law)
School Symposium Organising Committee
Mr. H. J. A. Lugulu – Dean, School of Law
Mr. J. I. Ayamunda – Coordinator
Mr. J. O. Ambani – Member
Ms. L. Khaemba – Member
Prof. N. W. Sifuna – Member
Mr. M. Oduor – Member
Mr. V. Mutai – Member

On Thursday, September 6, 2012, there are sessions not to miss:

10.30 am–11.00 am Session 1
Room: 4 A
Chair: I.M. Orina Rapporteur: Emmy Soi/J Ambani
TRIPS Article 27(3)b and its Impact on Agriculture for Kenya
Constance Gikonyo
11.00 am–11.20 am 4#05
Intellectual Property Laws and Regional Integration: A Case for Harmonisation in the
East African Community States
J Ayamunda and J Wabwire
11.20 am–11.40 am 4#25
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA):
Kenyan Agenda
Duncan Kiboyye Okoth-Yogo