The East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit has unanimously endorsed an intensified focus on climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy as the most effective strategy to alleviate the impact of climate change and enhance food accessibility and availability for their populations.

Recognising the importance of water in agricultural sustainability, the leaders stressed the necessity of enhancing rainwater harvesting for increased irrigation capabilities.

Addressing the critical issue of post-harvest losses, the Summit committed to adopting modern technologies to transform the storage and distribution of agricultural products.

Additionally, the Heads of State underscored the significance of bolstering forest cover, protecting existing forests, and leveraging these efforts for carbon trading and climate financing on both regional and global scales.

The collective approach of the EAC was further highlighted, with the leaders expressing their intention to present a unified front at the upcoming COP 28 Climate Summit in Dubai.

The commitment to solidarity was articulated during the EAC High-Level Forum on Climate Change and Food Security in Arusha, Tanzania.

During the forum, Evariste Ndayishimiye, Chairperson of the Summit and President of Burundi, emphasised Burundi’s commitment to climate resilience.

The country has invested in agroforestry initiatives to combat soil erosion, launching an afforestation programme five years ago to increase forest coverage.

President Ndayishimiye urged joint efforts in resource mobilisation to tackle climate change and promote environmental sustainability.

President Samia Hassan Suluhu of Tanzania highlighted the role of climate-smart agriculture in boosting food production and stressed the involvement of the private sector.

Tanzania’s initiative, Build Better Tomorrow, focuses on engaging youth and women in agriculture to increase productivity, reduce poverty, and conserve the environment.

President Suluhu highlighted the government’s support for irrigation schemes, climate financing, and tax incentives for investments in green renewable energy and agriculture.

Kenya’s President William Ruto outlined the country’s efforts to protect water resources, especially in arid and semi-arid regions, through the conservation of water towers.

He disclosed plans to plant 15 billion trees over the next decade and convert the National Youth Service into a “green army” to ensure the sustainable growth of trees.

President Ruto also detailed initiatives to increase irrigation acreage, reduce post-harvest losses, and enhance access to climate financing through a restructuring of multilateral financial institutions.