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Île-de-France Region - Antananarivo Urban Commune: adapting to climate change through urban farming and organic waste recovery (January 12, 2016)

700million city-dwellers worldwide use urban and peri-urban farming (source: FAO2014). Urban farming is a climate change adaptation strategy which helps to build the resilience of cities. In this context, the IMV (Institut des métiers de la ville - Institute of Urban Trades and Occupations), a platform for cooperation between the Île-de-France Region and Antananarivo Urban Commune, has been working since2011 on a project called AULNA (“agriculture urbaine, low space no space”), for local intra-urban vegetable production. This approach helps to provide better food for 500households.

In 2015, the project was selected following a call for climate projects launched by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI). In this framework, the aim of the Île-de-France Region and Antananarivo Urban Commune is to introduce the programme throughout the urban area, like a policy aiming to improve food security and climate change adaptation, by handing over to local actors such as NGOs and associations. The purpose of the project is to set up a platform of development actors and help them to incorporate this component into their action. A committee will draw up proposals for local organic waste recovery, combined with urban farming.

We met Tamara Teissedre-Philip, Director of the IMV in Antananarivo and co-founder of the project, at the stand of the Île-de-France Region in the Climate Generations areas at COP21, on Friday, 11 December 2015.

In a context of widespread poverty in Madagascar, urban areas are faced with food security problems, especially the capital. This means they are less able to adapt to the impacts of climate change (risk of flooding, poor access to food). Urban farming is a means of securing supply, without relying on the transport of food, while reducing transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Management of urban waste is a major issue: Antananarivo Urban Commune is faced with a growing quantity of waste (100,000new inhabitants per year), but its resources (number of lorries, fuel, etc.) are already wholly inadequate for collecting and processing the existing waste. Only a tiny proportion of this waste is recovered in a satisfactory way. Transporting this organic waste to the municipal dump generates greenhouse gas emissions (including CO2). The anaerobic decomposition of household waste (natural biological breakdown of organic matter) also emits large quantities of methane, which has a greenhouse effect 21times greater than that of CO2.

Image Diaporama - Photo : IMV

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Image Diaporama - Photo : IMV

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Image Diaporama - Photo : IMV

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Image Diaporama - Photo : IMV

Photo : IMV

Image Diaporama - Photo : IMV

Photo : IMV

On 11 December, Tamara Teissedre-Philip, Director of the IMV in Antananarivo, answered our questions in person at COP21, where the project had just been discussed at the Île-de-France Region stand in the Climate Generations areas.

MAEDI: What are the aims of your project in the context of combating climate change?

Tamara Teissedre-Philip : The project is based on a platform of development actors who incorporate urban farming into their respective action frameworks, to reduce the risk of food insecurity in the most vulnerable communities. A proposal on urban organic waste recovery is being drawn up.

What solution have you highlighted for combating climate change?

The practice of urban farming mitigates the impacts of climate change by:

  • lowering greenhouse gas emissions through reduced transport of foodstuffs, self-sufficiency and short supply chains;
  • lowering CO2 emissions caused by organic waste composting, while also eliminating the use of chemicals;
  • increasing urban greening, thus improving climate regulation, especially in urban heat islands.

What do you see as the main benefits of the project, both in terms of combating climate change and for the citizens concerned?

In Antananarivo, food insecurity is a particularly acute problem. Vulnerable neighbourhoods are less able to adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as flooding, higher food prices during cyclone season, and so on. Urban farming is an adaptation mechanism that helps to secure people’s ability to provide themselves with fresh food, locally, without relying on the transport of foodstuffs, while reducing transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. It allows the most vulnerable people to build their own resilience, for collective resilience, at the level of the neighbourhood or even the city. Most of the beneficiaries are former farmers seeking a better life in the capital; producing their own vegetables and selling the surplus at the market allows them to meet the needs of their families and earn additional income. Urban farming lends a social status that changes the lives of the people involved.

In a few words, tell us an idea you’d like to develop or a wish you’d like to share.

By 2050, the number of city-dwellers worldwide will have doubled. We would like to widely share the benefits of urban farming, especially in large cities in the South. Urban farming is currently practised by one in five city-dwellers worldwide and offers the following benefits :

  • improved food and nutrition security for vulnerable communities;
  • greater resilience of cities through the development of income-generating activities;
  • vulnerable urban communities are less reliant on road transport of food;
  • lower greenhouse gas emissions;
  • recovery of urban organic waste for compost production and improved urban sanitation.
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From left to right: Bertrand Fort, Delegate for the External Action of Local Government (MAEDI); Tamara Teissedre-Philip, Permanent Representative of the Île-de-France Region to Madagascar, Director of the Institut des métiers de la ville (IMV, Institute of Urban Trades and Occupations), Antananarivo Urban Commune; Laurent Pandolfi, Special Assistant for Asia and the Indian Ocean, Île-de-France Region; Antonio Randriatsimihory, Special Assistant for Urban Agriculture, IMV, Antananarivo Urban Commune; Sandra Rajoelison, Special Assistant for Urban Agriculture, IMV, Antananarivo Urban Commune; Didier Jean, Head of the International Department of the Île-de-France Region - 11.12.15, Île-de-France stand in the Climate Generations areas at COP21. Photo: DR

The actors involved

In France:

  • Île-de-France Region (project manager)
  • AgroParisTech/French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA, scientific and financial partner)
  • Experts Solidaires (association of experts in various fields supporting international solidarity)

In Madagascar:

  • Antananarivo Urban Commune(project manager)
  • IMV (Institute of Urban Trades and Occupations)
  • LRI research laboratory (scientific partner)
  • Parcs et Jardins and Phyto-logic nurseries (expertise in management of green waste)
  • NGO called EAST, specializing in water, agriculture and healthcare in tropical environments (consulting on sanitation linked to urban farming)
  • NGO called Action contre la faim (consulting on healthcare and nutrition)
  • Company called Madacompost and NGO called Gevalor (technical expertise on waste recovery)

This project was selected under the 2015 call for climate projects launched by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI), in partnership with the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry (MAAF), as well as the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of the Fondation de France.

More information in the section on “external action of local governments” of the France Diplomatie website (in French only).

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