Thursday, 27 October 2011

Global Conference on Climate Smart Agriculture

Alain Ange of FARA
24-26 October. Ede, The Netherlands. “Scientists and technology have a critical role to play if we are to achieve food security in the context of climate change,” said Sir John Beddington, Chair of the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change at the opening of the Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture in Ede, The Netherlands. He urged the participating agricultural experts from governments, international agencies, and universities to think about smart ways for farmers to produce enough food while managing and adapting to climate change.

The talk included a foretaste of the soon to be launched recommendations from the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change. The Commission, made up of thirteen experts from around the world, has been collecting evidence to synthesizing the evidence to develop practical actions to support sustainable agriculture in the context of climate change. The summary will be aimed for policy makers and launched in time to be fed into the discussions in Durban.

COP 17 - a unique opportunity to put agriculture on the climate change agenda

Sir John urged scientists to contribute to the global challenge of moving the world into a ‘safe operating space’ in which agriculture can meet global food needs while reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. He highlighted how the scientific evidence base can contribute to policy action. Beddington also proclaimed COP17 in Durban in December as a unique opportunity to put agriculture on the climate change agenda.

Sir John said that the agricultural potential in Africa is substantial and existing technologies can be used to create the necessary transformations. Farmers need to produce more food without further encroaching on sensitive ecosystems in order to contribute to a food system that is sustainable and climate safe. Climate-smart agriculture, he said, has to both appeal to and benefit the rural farmer while not undermining livelihoods. Sir John will deliver the Commission's full recommendations at Agriculture and Rural Development Day on 3 December, in Durban.

Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of FANRPAN attended
the Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture in
Wageningen 24-26 October. Photo: C. Schubert (CCAFS)
Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), and member of the International Science Panel of the CGIAR climate program (CCAFS), said that Africa, a vulnerable continent to climate change, needs to improve its productivity in a climate smart manner. And this is where climate-smart agriculture becomes imperative, since CSA puts people and food first. Sibanda underlined that women are driving agriculture in Africa, which is why “we need to follow women – in everything”.