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By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, February 14, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A three-day Post-Durban Dialogue on climate change and agriculture to examine the outcome of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP 17) that was held in November-December 2011 in Durban, South Africa opened today at the Mt. Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Dialogue is being organized jointly by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community, (EAC) in collaboration with Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS-EA), a global programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

The Dialogue, which has brought together climate change and agriculture experts from nine Eastern Africa countries of Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda is expected to focus on decisions of agriculture with a view to propose activities that would be considered under the agricultural work programme of Parties (members of UNFCCC).

Addressing the opening session, Tanzania's Minister for Agriculture Hon. Prof. Jumanne Abdallah Maghembe informed the experts that Governments in the region and other Regional Economic Communities were fully committed to respond to the impacts of climate change collectively through policy and practical measures since the impacts had no boundaries.

Prof. Abdallah, who was represented by the Director General of Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) Ms Epiphania Kimaro, recognized the technical support that COMESA and her partners were providing to ensure developing countries fully benefit from the negotiations through providing necessary skills and information to the technical experts and negotiators to effectively negotiate and argue the case for Africa.

He added that the experts dialogue is an important opportunity for member States to reflect on the outcome of the Conference with the aim of preparing how to implement specific decisions that are of priority to the region and specifically to identify key issues relating to agriculture with a view to prepare a common position for consideration by the subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) during its 36th Session schedule for May 2012.

The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sector Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva disclosed to the participants that EAC had already considered the outcome of the COP17 during the Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Environment and Natural Resources that was held on 1 to 3 February 2012 in Arusha.

Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, who was represented by EAC Climate Change Coordinator Mr. Brian Otiende informed the meeting that EAC was in the process of implementing three critical policy documents approved by the EAC Heads of State Summit in April 2011 namely; the EAC Climate Policy (2011); the EAC Food Security Action Plan (2011-2015) and the Heads of States Summit Declaration on Food Security and Climate Change.

He reiterated that the EAC, COMESA and other strategic partners were committed to working with stakeholders in Eastern Africa with a view to developing a common position on issues related to agriculture for consideration by SBSTA and other bodies of the COP.

In attendance of the regional climate change dialogue are experts, government officials, and representatives of civil societies and researchers.