The Dialogue was a follow-up to the Drought Dialogue for the Agricultural sector held in June 2016, which concluded with 32 jointly identified challenges, prioritised to 5 actionable points that were subsequently implemented. The April 2023 Dialogue went beyond drought to cover all climate-related extremes and disasters across the Western Cape Province, aiming to “Move from relief to resilience and risk reduction”.
Since 2016, climate-related disasters have persisted and appeared to be occurring with increasing frequency, intensity and impact on agriculture. The reliance on disaster relief is not sustainable in the longer term. A new emphasis on disaster risk reduction and the building of climate resilience is necessary, with stronger collaborations and partnerships and more efficient use of resources.
The SmartAgri plan (Climate Change Response Framework and Implementation Plan for the Agricultural Sector of the Western Cape, 2016) is based on four Strategic Focus Areas, the second of which aims to “Strengthen effective climate disaster risk reduction and management”. The SmartAgri external evaluation of 2020 concluded that only patchy progress had been made thus far in implementing the objectives under this Focus Area. Therefore, we must identify and implement adaptation actions that proactively respond to inevitable future extreme circumstances such as heat waves, wind and storms, hail, floods, droughts, fires, increased pressure of pests and predators, and devastating diseases/epidemics to reduce impacts through greater preparedness and resilience.
The Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Climate Disaster Solutions for the Western Cape brought together 81 government decision-makers at District and Provincial levels, with critical National level officials, smallholder and commercial farmers and representatives of organised agriculture and industry commodity organisations, conservation bodies, representatives of the banking sector, related agri-businesses, and selected subject experts (see Appendix for list of participants).
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