In July 2021 the African Union (AU) released a Green Recovery Action Plan for the continent, in the context of COVID-19 and climate change. The basis of the plan is that a “clean and resilient recovery in Africa will lead to employment in the industries of the future whilst ensuring that we address the linked challenges of public health, prosperity and climate change.” The plan is a sort of blueprint with which it encourages AU member states to align or develop national programmes and policies related to climate and biodiversity, along five priority areas.
The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is research and advocacy organisation working towards food sovereignty and agroecology in Africa, with a focus on biosafety, seed systems and agricultural biodiversity. We are committed to dismantling inequalities and resisting corporate-industrial expansion in Africa's food and agriculture systems.
The African Union (AU) has embarked on a mission towards harmonising seed regulatory frameworks across the continent, beginning with the establishment of a set of Guidelines on seed law harmonisation.
The African Centre for Biodiversity, along with other civil society organisations and farmers’ associations from Africa, have actively engaged in the development of these Guidelines. In April 2021, we attended an online stakeholder consultation and then provided preliminary comments.
For over two decades, and in defence of life and democracy, diverse constituencies in Africa have promoted the rights of small farmers and their seed systems, and have expressed and continue to express concern related to the use and governance of modern biotechnology on the continent. We include smallholder farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, hunter/gatherers, indigenous peoples, citizens, environmentalists, scientists, and cooperative civil society mechanisms. All are legitimate rights holders on the continent, of whom the African Union (AU) is supposed to be a representative mechanism.