“It is important that, as we discuss and strategise on matters related to food security in ACP countries, we pay serious attention to the state of our environment. The environment is a vital element in maintaining sound ecosystems on which enabling factors depend, such as rain, soil fertility and moisture, among many others. These ensure reliable production of food crops...” stated Hon. Mr. Musikari Kombo, Member of the Kenyan Parliament, during the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly meetings that took place in the European Parliament on 5 and 6 October.
During the two-day meetings, the Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly discussed the current situation in the Horn of Africa where undernourishment is affecting more than 40% of the population.
Ahmed Senhoury, Director of the West African Regional Marine and Coastal Conservation Programme (PRCM), a joint programme where IUCN is involved, highlighted the importance of sustainable management of coastal ecosystems and its numerous local communities who live on the services that ecosystems provide, such as fish. In its work, IUCN promotes sustainable management of resources, for example in fisheries and forests.
Reflecting on the hearing ‘Good Governance issues in the CFP external dimension reform’ at the European Parliament that took place earlier that week, Mr. Senhoury stressed the external dimension of the Common Fishery Policy (CFP) which also concerns the vulnerable resources in Africa. Greater transparency in contracts between the EU and West African countries, a better regulation of the activities of European fleets in the ACP regions and mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in Fishing Agreements are all crucial elements in this respect.
After the debate at the EU Parliament, Taholo Kami, IUCN Regional Director for Oceania said: “There is no sustainable food security discussion without healthy ecosystems including clean water and soil fertility. Mangroves ecosystems provide multi-benefits such as spawning grounds for fisheries, coastal protection and special needs for local communities. Any food security discussion must include the environmental component if we are going to have a green economy.”
The IUCN Regional Office for Oceania is currently working with the IUCN Regional Office for Asia to expand the Mangroves for the Future programme to the Pacific. Mangroves for the Future is an integrated, ocean-wide approach to coastal area management initiated by a number of Asian countries that were severely affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The visit of IUCN Regional Directors and Representatives from the ACP region to Brussels (4-6 October) was facilitated by the IUCN European Union Representative Office.