By Bruce Campbell
2011 was the first year of operation of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS brings together the work of all 15 international Centres in the CGIAR, and is a joint programme between the CGIAR and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). 2011 was a start-up year in terms of introducing a new way of working across Centres, but it was also a year of considerable research effort.
Work was initiated in the field at many sites, and baseline surveys were completed in three regions on two continents. Regional partnerships and learning platforms for climate- smart agriculture were established or strengthened in all regions.
CCAFS conducted or participated in a number of high- profile events in 2011 and set up the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, chaired by Sir John Beddington. International policy engagement targeted various processes linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A significant achievement was recorded in the Durban Agreement from the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17), namely the inclusion of ‘agriculture’ for further negotiation. Many publications were produced in 2011, including over 50 journal articles and a number of books.
External communication and media activities in 2011 have helped communicate science results and positioned CCAFS as an expert source of knowledge in global agriculture–climate discussions. Blog stories attracted 25 670 unique visits from 204 countries. Our monthly AgClim letters bulletin reached people in at least 124 countries and were sent to over 5000 recipients.
2012 will be a crucial year for negotiations on agriculture and climate change in the UNFCCC and for deepening activities with farmers at the multitude of research sites. 2011 has laid the framework, and it is particularly exciting to see the CGIAR starting to work as one system.
Dr. Bruce Campbell is Program Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Follow Bruce on twitter: @bcampbell_cgiar.