In this newly released video interview, made by Francesco Fiondella at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), CCAFS theme leader James Hansen discusses the causes of the current drought plaguing the Horn of Africa. He points out that even if the lack of rain is a root cause of the crisis, it is still only one of many factors that has lead to the ongoing drought. Other factors are on a more long term basis, such as poverty, which leads to vulnerability to climatic shocks and population growth, where many depend on rainfed agriculture for their livelihoods. The environmental issues plaguing the area namely water and soil degradation also exacerbate the situation further. Read more »
According to a recent article in The New Agriculturist pastoralism is the best way to cope with drought. This statement is based on the findings from the report ‘An Assessment of the response to the 2008-2009 drought in Kenya’, produced by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Based on interviews with pastoralists the researchers found that the best way for them to cope with famine was to ensure that they had access to grazing and watering areas. Pastoralism was also viewed as the most productive use of drylands in the Horn of Africa and increased mobility of pastoralists could prevent future food crisis in these areas. In other words, by allowing pastoralists to move to other, unused grazing areas, they can more easily mitigate livestock losses during a drought. This is becoming increasingly problematic however, the report states, since mobility is being reduced and impeded. The report recommends that interventions targeting the removal of restrictions to mobility and access should be considered as prime activities during preparedness. To read more about the ILRI report please click here. Read more »
The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change has been hard at work the last few months, synthesising evidence on three overarching questions: (1) What are the major components and drivers of the current food system and what will this system look like in the future? (2) What does an alternative future food system look like and how can this system be brought into being? (3) What investments (technical, political, financial, social) are essential to an alternative future food system and who can make them? Read more »
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have the potential to help monitor climate change as well as help farmers adapt and mitigate to its effects. This important link was discussed at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) symposium on ICTs, Environment and Climate Change held in late July in Accra, Ghana.
In Africa, where half the continent’s population uses a mobile phone, people now have unprecedented access to information via their handsets. The Guardian recently reported on the multiple ways mobile phones have catalysed innovation, including in the farming sector. For example, farmers from isolated areas can access weather information via text messages (SMS) or phone calls, to prepare for upcoming drought spells, heavy rain or floods. Read more »
The future of food security and the need for farmers to adapt to a changing climate was recently discussed by CCAFS Theme Leader Gerald C. Nelson when he was interviewed by the National Public Radio (USA). Also participating in the radio program ‘Feeding a Hotter; More Crowded Planet’ was the President o the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) Lester Brown and the director of Oxfam America Gawain Kripke.
Gerald C. Nelson, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and leader of the CCAFS policy analysis research together with the other participants, discussed the challenges of keeping food supplies secure in the face of a changing climate and potential solutions. Since nearly one billion people worldwide don’t have reliable access to food, something climate change might increase, solutions are more than critical. Read more »
A new analysis of the Horn of Africa famine by Oxfam's Duncan Green looks at what is known so far about its causes, and what can be done. We've covered this issue before, noting that it's impossible to link the devastating East Africa drought with climate change but there are many connections.
Green concludes that whether this extreme weather incident is linked to climate change or not, it is an indication of what may come as such incidents become more commonplace. Read more »
The build up to the Bhutan Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas received unprecedented response last week with the completion of expert group meetings on the key themes of water, biodiversity, food security and energy.
The Bhutan Climate Summit is an initiative of the Royal Government of Bhutan, and will bring together leaders, decision makers and technical experts from Government agencies as well as research and development organizations to identify key issues and priorities for climate change adaptation in the eastern Himalayas, and foster partnerships and networking to facilitate sharing of information and experiences. Read more »
by Cecilia Schubert
An average temperatures rise by 2.3 degrees Celsius by 2050 could potentially wipe out Uganda's most profitable tea producing areas, with severe losses in productivity already apparent by 2020. This was revealed in the new report Future Climate Scenarios for Uganda's Tea Growing Areas (PDF) produced by researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. The alarming scenarios - decreasing yields and a more favorable environment for pests and diseases - indicate that Uganda’s tea producers need to take firm action to adapt and mitigate to the upcoming changes in climate. Read more »
At the recent FAO meeting of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), CGIAR Climate researcher Andy Jarvis stressed that 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, based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), was speaking at a special information seminar on climate change and genetic resources for food and agriculture. Read our summary of the session, including a video interview with Dr. Jarvis. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin has also produced a detailed summary.
The event was successful not only in raising participants' awareness of the important links between genetic resources, food security and climate change adaptation, but also in pushing the Commission to move ahead with a roadmap on climate change and genetic resources for food and agriculture that will guide its future work in the area. 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)