Maurine Ambani of the CARE-Adaptation Learning Programme, Kenya, reports from the 5th Annual Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change Conference, in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The first three days of the 5th Community Based Adaptation (CBA) Conference in Bangladesh allowed participants to visit different communities where CBA is being implemented. Community action research groups were an interesting concept that was observed in the Sirajganj district in Bangladesh. The groups are involved in developing detailed analyses of climate impacts on their daily lives.
Through their own observations, members of the community group in Baagbhaura village have noted changing rainfall patterns in their area. Over the last 10 years, they say that the number of seasons has reduced from 6 to 3; floods have become more frequent, intense and they extend over a longer duration. Rajna, the leader of the women’s group, then went on to explain how they developed a social map to spatially locate the areas that were at risk, the most vulnerable people in those areas and the available resources. This map made it easier for the community to identify the problems they faced, probably due to the visual element. Read more »
Nancy Omolo, University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, reports from the 5th Annual Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change Conference, in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The conference, which is being held from 24-31 March, has attracted 350 international delegates from 60 different countries from all the continents of the world. The theme of CBA5 is “Scaling up Community Based Adaptation.” The term scaling up has two meanings. Firstly, it implies replication or multiplication from few hundreds (now) of adaptation initiatives to thousands and even hundred of thousands that will be needed in the future. Secondly, there is the notion of scaling up the policy chain from the very local or community level to higher levels of decision making within each country and as well as globally. Read more »
Climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture is more than merely “the need for better seeds”. It needs a way to exchange information so we can re-apply proven solutions rather than re-inventing the wheel every single time….
In a wide, slow gesture, Gurbachan Singh shows me a panorama of lush fields. It is as if he hand touches the abundant, young wheat sprouts from afar. They are bright green, showing a promise for a plentiful harvest. Wide fields are bordered with tall poplar trees whose leafs softly whisper in the light wind, chasing away the early morning mist.
“All of this”, says Gurbachan, “All of this was gone. Flooded. As far as you can see. All of it. People had fled to higher grounds, but the twenty-four hours notice we had before the flood, was not sufficient to evacuate all live stock. Most buffalo and cows drowned. The harvest was lost.”
A New York Times article this month reports on the dwindling yields and rising prices of Colombian and Central American coffee, due to climate change. The article mentions some startling statistics: Colombian coffee production has fallen by 37% since 2006; prices in futures contracts have increased 85% in the last 8 months, and coffee companies and cafés in the U.S. have been raising prices by 20% to keep up. Climate change will thus affect coffee producers and consumers alike.
As a recent CIAT Policy Brief on Mesoamerican coffee explains, heat lessens the climatic suitability of coffee, especially high-quality, acidic Arabica coffee. It also brings more pests and diseases, such as coffee rust, which destroyed large swaths of last year's coffee crop in Cauca, a major coffee-growing department in Colombia. Read more »
Food security research programmes such as CCAFS need to consider extremely complex systems, with many agricultural, environmental, social and economic subsystems interacting with each other on a variety of scales and at a variety of levels on each. This poses considerable challenges in terms of representing the current state of knowledge, exploring how these systems might evolve in the future in response to external drivers and human input, and displaying the behaviour of the many variables involved in a way which is meaningful for stakeholders and policy advisers.
A new paper produced for CCAFS by Robert Muetzelfeldt explores how a modelling approach based on System Dynamics can be used to:
The work was conducted as part of the CCAFS Scenarios activity, which brings together a broad range of regional stakeholders to discuss plausible futures and contemplate what these regions would be like by 2030.
The challenge ahead is clear: feed 9 billion people by 2050 in a changing climate. There are different approaches to doing this, ranging from large scale industrial methods to small-scale organic farming. A new report from the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, argues that agroecology is the best strategy for tackling hunger in the face of climate change.
The concept of agro-ecology has long been cited as a farming approach that generates multiple benefits, especially at the local level. Industrial methods that rely on heavy chemicals and big machines are criticized for inaccessible to smallholder farmer in the developing world, and not being particularly adapted to climatic shocks.
In addition to the weed-eating ducks, the report cites many examples of ecological farming, which uses natural inputs and other solutions to control pests and unwanted species, and enhance soil productivity. Overall, it argues, agroecology can be less expensive for small farmers, with local knowledge replacing chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
The CCAFS program works with a range of partners worldwide, and getting the right mix of partners is crucial for ensuring long-term food security in the face of climate change. CCAFS is building partnerships with government agencies in target regions to ensure that the science is locally appropriate, in demand, and useful to national policy makers.
A recent workshop in Addis Ababa brought together partners in Ethiopia working on climate change, including ILRI and CCAFS researchers, donors, and the Ministry of Agriculture, among others. The purpose of the event was to assess gaps and priorities for CCAFS work in Ethiopia and to initiate a platform to address climate change impacts and climate variability.
One of the CCAFS sites is located in Yabelo, Borana Zone, Oromia region of southern Ethiopia and action research on adaptation strategies, in conjunction with ILRIs' program on Index Based Livestock Insurance, will begin this year.
Partners at the workshops agreed to craft a road map for further work, and set up an awareness campaign of the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector. They will also work together to assess the gaps in adaptation and mitigation knowledge in order to move forward.
Andy Jarvis, Theme Leader at CCAFS and scientist in CIAT's Decision and Policy Analysis Program is featured in the "Growing Talents: Youth in Agriculture" series by the CGIAR's ICT-KM program
He speaks of his passion for mapping biodiversity and climate change, as well as his role in ensuring that all of the 15 individual agricultural research centres in the CGIAR work together on climate change.
“Once we have all the Centers working together for a number of years, we should be producing technologies and more knowledge about how agriculture can stand up to the challenges of climate change. At the same time, research on the ground should be showing that we have the agricultural knowhow to get the right solutions to smallholder farmers. Our responsibility as scientists right now is tremendous.”
Last week's announcement launching the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, has generated significant interest from a wide range of stakeholders and the media.
To recap, the Commission, which is set up by CCAFS and brings together 13 international experts on sustainable agriculture and climate change, will synthesize existing research to clearly articulate scientific findings on the potential impact of climate change on food security globally and regionally.
The story was covered worldwide, including in the Commissioners' home regions. Some highlights below:
Science To Take Up Food Security Where Politics Disappoints : Wall Street Journal, 10 March
High food prices said foretaste of climate shocks: Reuters, 11 March 2011
Climate change may result in foodgrain demand-supply gap: Business Standard (India), 11 March 2011
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Channel Africa: Radio interview with Dr. Bob Scholes, 11 March 2011 (listen below)
There may already be data showing that a changing climate is adversely impacting key crops. That's what Stanford agricultural scientist David Lobell and his colleagues at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) discovered when they looked at "a hidden trove" of crop yield data from corn trials in Africa. They found that a temperature rise of a single degree Celsius would cause yield losses for 65 percent of the present maize-growing region in Africa – provided the crops received the optimal amount of rainfall. Under drought conditions, the entire maize-growing region would suffer yield losses, with more than 75 percent of areas predicted to decline by at least 20 percent for 1 degree Celsius of warming. Read more »
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)