Leading scientists and development experts met in Nairobi to give input into plans for a collaborative global research program led by the CGIAR and partners to confront the enormous challenge of sustainably feeding more people in a climate-constrained world.
The purpose of the Nairobi meeting was to build a consensus amongst partners of the overall framework for action in the years ahead.
The program will provide diagnosis and analysis for inclusion of agriculture in climate change policies and identify and develop pro-poor adaptation and mitigation practices that will benefit poor farmers, the urban poor, and provide global environmental benefits.
In its initial phase, the program, “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security,” will focus efforts in three regions: Indo-Gangetic Plains, West Africa, and Eastern Africa, but in years to come it will identify and expand to other priority regions.
“Our partnerships with national meteorological systems, civil society, private sector, regional organizations, and research institutes involved in climate related work will guide project implementation,” said Bruce Campbell, director of the Program.
A reaction from Pramod Aggarwal of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute:
“You may not share my aggregated view of this situation, but the model of agriculture from the 20th century is a road to disaster for the 21st century,” said Achim Steiner of UNEP. “We have to change the lens in which we look at the problem.”
Steiner suggested that scientists and policymakers look toward new frontiers that increase production sustainably and provide farmers with options that enable them to be custodians of natural resources, rather than miners.
The need for a new model was also discussed in the context of international agricultural research.
“The major message at the GCARD meeting was that the global agricultural system is fractured. The challenge is to bring the different pieces together,” said Carlos Seré of the International Livestock Research Institute. “This meeting and other programs the CGIAR is putting together are based on the idea that a unified approach is crucial to addressing the threats facing agriculture, including climate change. The problems that we are facing now and in the future go well beyond science.”
In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, head of the food security organization FANRPAN, said “If we go into a deal which does not help Africa adapt to climate change challenges, that does not allow the farmers to build their resilience to cope with the challenges they already face, it means we are closing out on livelihoods and closing out some countries because they will not have any income, they will not have any food.”
“We have put together plans for demonstrating local success stories about mitigation. These will be showcased in Bonn at the UNFCCC meeting,” said Campbell. “We are also working with partners like the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, FANRPAN, FAO and others on a high-level report on climate change and food security. The report will include information on how agriculture should feature in climate change policies and how climate change should feature in agriculture.”
“It goes without saying that all this work has to be done with partners. We need to magnify all our voices through partnerships,” said Campbell.
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)