Lessons for the World from the “Islands of the Moon” – Comoros: Opportunity, Ambition and Scale Up – Comoros

Lessons for the World from the “Islands of the Moon” – Comoros: Opportunity, Ambition and Scale Up – Comoros


Deputy Regional Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

Senior Principal Advisor for SIDS

Director and Executive Coordinator, Character, Weather and Electrical power, UNDP

A single of the most placing functions on descent into Comoros’ Moroni Airport is the breathtaking perspective of the magnificent ocean. The elegance of the grey seashores is extreme, juxtaposed with the consequences of cooled lava, carcasses of applied automobiles and uncollected waste — a reminder of the fundamental growth difficulties that lay forward. From the airport, we set off to stop by a governing administration-led initiative on livelihoods and financial empowerment in the agriculture sector supported by UNDP. En route, we see groups of females waiting to fetch drinking water with their jerrycans. Plastic squander strewn by the roadside, a attribute of the road that hugs the shoreline.

Nevertheless, when we arrived at the Centre Rural de Advancement Economique (Rural Centre for Financial Advancement – CRDE) in Diboini, we saw firsthand how some of the troubles just observed can be turned into possibilities, bringing transformative improve for the individuals.

An computerized weather station system (also masking other parts of the island) deployed via financing from the Global Atmosphere Facility (GEF) for the Reinforcement of Comoros’ Resilience to Local climate-Similar Dangers and Climate Alter (Renforcement de la résilience des Comores aux risques de catastrophes liées au changement et à la variabilité climatique) has strengthened info assortment and enhanced temperature and local climate forecasting. This information, crucial to inform determination-making in the encounter of climate-induced challenges, is relayed to the Technological Division of Meteorology (Route Strategy de la Météorologie), where technicians, educated with means from the GEF and other companions, concern common forecasts to smallholder farmers. In short, with this critical investment, communities –mostly women– are much better positioned to plan agriculture pursuits, and can consequently count on improved yields, in spite of a array of weather- and weather conditions-induced threats.

In the very same vicinity, drinking water harvesting tanks ended up set up by investments from the Inexperienced Local weather Fund (GCF), doing work seamlessly in an built-in and systemic way with funding from the GEF, to counter expanding disruptions to rainfall designs and water shortages. This straightforward investment decision now supplies farmers with the possibility to turn to irrigation, which has amplified their creation and doubled incomes. The Authorities, with assistance of UNDP and the GCF, is at work to increase obtain to consuming drinking water from 15{c5466d9839d9660ad83a95a07074dd6b0a7efe56d69bf04927ce209c5d4dfaeb} to 60{c5466d9839d9660ad83a95a07074dd6b0a7efe56d69bf04927ce209c5d4dfaeb} of the island’s 450,000 inhabitants. This is a superior example of how development assets can deliver critically transformational modify, at scale.

To maximize agricultural productiveness, encourage foodstuff security and create a lot more beneficial earnings for farmers, the Authorities of Comoros and UNDP, with partners’ assist, are building enhanced types of bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes and ginger schooling para-veterinarians growing the availability of veterinary medications and increasing animal husbandry tactics. These initiatives have previously borne fruit, this kind of as the creation of improved breeds of milch cattle, drastically shifting stakes for the gain of the people today.

In all of this perform, what is crucial to transformative modify is the strategic alternative by the Govt and UNDP’s Comoros crew to place communities centre-stage, offering them company and to plan for tasks to overlap geographically, thereby offering 360-diploma impactful alter.

The aim forward is distinct: developing resilience and scaling up for influence.

With effective foundations for weather improve adaptation laid, now is the time to deepen investments in developing resilience. It is also the time to scale up.

On an island where about 80{c5466d9839d9660ad83a95a07074dd6b0a7efe56d69bf04927ce209c5d4dfaeb} of the rural population depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood, this sector has to be the bedrock for catalyzing improvement. With effective foundations for weather improve adaptation laid, now is the time to deepen investments in constructing resilience. It is also the time to scale up.

Critical to scaling up is integrating cross-portfolio alternatives. For example, this could be completed by incorporating sustainable electrical power manufacturing with enhanced drinking water provides making sure entry to market place for farmers to notice revenue from their greater creation or furnishing alternatives for price addition, which include by way of investments in infrastructure, this sort of as streets, and improved cold chain.

Investing in benefit addition for Comoros’ agricultural raw resources need to be the next action in direction of modernization and industrialization. Alongside one another with the government and development banking companies, UNDP Comoros is presently working to supply concessional loans enabling tiny and medium enterprises to build benefit – included products. But this is not more than enough. We have to do the job with communities to group in far more investment decision, bring in additional companions and broaden these excellent lessons not only inside Comoros, but also in other international locations across the area, to widen the basket of transformative adjust.

Modest Island Acquiring States this kind of as Comoros are leading the way in Africa.

With Comoros assuming chairmanship of the African Union in 2023, there is a distinctive opportunity to do just this: bring these activities to bear at continental scale. In lots of methods, the challenges and possibilities we noticed in Comoros mirror those people of other components of Africa. Like Comoros, resetting Africa on monitor to attain the Sustainable Improvement Objectives demands investments at scale and achieving structural financial transformation, building long-term resilience to latest and long run shocks, lowering Africa’s dependency (particularly on food stuff and gasoline) and increasing its effective capacity. Building resilience in Africa’s foodstuff programs is significant to making certain food items safety, and will increase the continent’s agricultural efficiency, even though placing a reliable foundation for agro-based industrialization. It will allow for Africa to income in on its property as the region internet hosting 60{c5466d9839d9660ad83a95a07074dd6b0a7efe56d69bf04927ce209c5d4dfaeb} of the world’s unexploited arable land.

As the African Union dedicates 2023 as the yr to speed up the implementation of the AfCFTA, African international locations have a distinctive opportunity to place improved exports in a 1.4 billion-individuals current market with a blended GDP of US$3.4 trillion. A ‘One African Market’ that has totally free movement of merchandise, products and services and men and women can significantly, positively change the continent’s development trajectory – with the prospect of lifting 30 million men and women out of excessive poverty, and one more 69 million out of moderate poverty, as a result boosting intra-African trade by 33{c5466d9839d9660ad83a95a07074dd6b0a7efe56d69bf04927ce209c5d4dfaeb} and rising the continent’s income by $450 billion by 2035.

This can be a current market for Comoros…and for the other African Union member states – if the appropriate investments are built.

We still left Comoros with hope: that the Diboini approach, if scaled, presents this gorgeous island a new advancement probability: just one that is anchored on agency – empowering communities and maximizing the worth of their assets to combat poverty, develop wealth, and push back on the rigors of the local climate unexpected emergency.