by Cecilia Schubert
With women making up 60-80 percent of farmers in Africa, they are likely to be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. However, they are also in the position to be effective agents of change in supporting both mitigation and adaptation activities. This is visible in the work of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), a partner in the CGIAR climate program. The organization recently released a video (see below), produced by ICRISAT's Alina Paul-Bossuet, which shows how women from the Indian women organization Adarsha, volunteer as village network assistants within the program Virtual Academy for Semi-Arid Tropics. The women continuously work with ICRISAT scientists on issues and concerns based on farmers’ problems related to climate change. The women act as intermediaries between the scientists (who come up with context-specific agricultural solutions), and the farmers. The two groups met every week via audio and video conferencing facilities at the village resource center, demonstrating innovative use of Information and Communication Technologies for development (ICT4D). Read more »
This week, Gerald Nelson, who leads CCAFS research on frameworks for policy analysis, was honoured with the “Publication of Enduring Quality Award” by the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). Nelson, who is a senior scientist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and his co-author Daniel Hellerstein, were recognized for their 1997 paper Do Roads Cause Deforestation? Using Satellite Images in Econometric Analysis of Land Use. The paper outlines an innovative technique for turning satellite imagery into economic data, allowing researchers to simulate the effects of human activity on the environment. Read more »
Guest blog by Ousmane Ndiaye, Senegal National Meteorological Agency.
It was a hot June day in Kaffrine, Senegal. As usual at this time of the year all eyes were looking toward the sky, expecting a good rainy season in a country where more than 80% of the activities rely on rainfall. Farmers were still wondering when the first rain would occur, and whether the rainy season would be able to sustain their crops. As climate grows increasingly unpredictable, seasonal forecasts will be essential to help farmers plan and reduce the impacts of weather variability. As part of ongoing work on managing climate risk, researchers from the CGIAR Climate program (CCAFS), have joined with climatologists, NGO workers, and agricultural advisers to take on the challenge of empowering farmers to better understand and use probabilistic seasonal climate information. Read more »
If poor farmers are to contribute to climate change mitigation, mitigation options need to have a positive impact on livelihoods. In fact, what may be needed are livelihood options that produce mitigation co-benefits, as well as and carbon finance schemes that provide additional incentives to help farmers to meet both livelihood and environmental objectives.
To better understand the current state of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and policies in our focal regions, the CGIAR Climate program is collaborating with students from Harvard University's Kennedy School who have are spending their summers in West Africa and South Asia to talk to policy makers, development organizations and farmers about mitigation and adaptation activities. Read more »
Devastating reports coming from the Horn of Africa indicate that some places are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. And while it may seem logical to blame the dry conditions on climate change, CCAFS theme leader Philip Thornton warns against attributing a single event to climate change. In a recent interview, he told IRIN Africa that there are challenges in projecting climate change impacts in East Africa:
”Some people think that East Africa is drying, and has dried over recent years; currently there is no hard, general evidence of this, and it is very difficult as yet to see where the statistical trends of rainfall in the region are heading, but these will of course become apparent in time.”
Delegates to the 13th meeting of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), which opens formally at FAO in Rome on Monday 18 July, attended a Special Information Seminar on Climate change and genetic resources for food and agriculture: state of knowledge, risks and opportunities on Saturday.
Among the speakers was Andy Jarvis, CCAFS Theme Leader, who took the opportunity to tell the Commission that the exchange of genetic resources, one of the CGRFA's key concerns, will be an essential aspect of the adaptation of agriculture to climate change. Jarvis explained the idea of "future climates," that conditions predicted for, say, Zimbabwe in 2050 were very like conditions today in Democratic Republic Congo. So varieties and agricultural practices that do well in DRC now probably have something to offer Zimbabwe down the line. Read more »
Climate change is expected to aggravate the already serious challenges to food security and economic development, especially in developing countries where pests cause 30 to 50 percent of the yield losses in agricultural crops. An increase in temperature could give a greater advantage to the growth of pest populations compared to biocontrol agents (parasitoids) and thus decreasing efficacy of biological control. Read more »
The final report is now available for the CCAFS study "Mapping Hotspots of Climate Change and Food Insecurity in the Global Tropics". This study was coordinated by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) to identify areas that are food insecure and vulnerable to the impacts of future climate change, across the priority regions for the CGIAR centres. The research was undertaken by a team of scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The study matches future climate change “hotspots” with regions already suffering chronic food problems to identify highly-vulnerable populations, chiefly in Africa and South Asia, but potentially in China and Latin America as well, where in fewer than 40 years, the prospect of shorter, hotter or drier growing seasons could imperil hundreds of millions of already-impoverished people. Read more »
Last month we launched a report showing global hotspots to climate induced food-insecurity, garnering significant media attention. Several weeks later, the authors noticed two errors in the calculations, and so we immediately took the report offline for corrections. We have issued an erratum that outlines the errors in the first version as well as in the press release. The errors are related to calcluation of population numbers, in one case the number of people at risk is underestimated, while in the other case the number of people most at risk is overestimated. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
Poor women and men in the Least Developed Countries (LDC) will most likely be differently vulnerable to climate change impacts, finds a study on gender and vulnerability to climate change in South Africa (PDF). This is because of existing inequalities between men and women, referring to their different positions and roles in society. It is also believed that access to financial and natural resources, could also potentially affect women and men's ability to respond to the effects of climate change. But despite the recognition that there are gender differences in how climate change affects and impacts lives, the UNDP has found that most climate funds for developing countries are not likely to reach or improve the lives of poor, rural women (80 percent of African farmers are women). 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)