Mapping hotspots of climate change and food insecurity across the global tropics

A farmer in Ninigui village, Burkina Faso, which is prone to erosion and desertification. Photo: P. Casier.
(view original)
Apr 1, 2011

by

Wiebke

What are the future “hotspots” where climate change is likely to make food insecurity more severe and therefore increase vulnerability? On March 15, 2011 the CCAFS researchers based in Nairobi held a seminar at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to present and discuss preliminary findings of the CCAFS-funded work on mapping the hotspots of climate change and food insecurity across the global tropics. The seminar was co-presented by ILRI scientists Polly Ericksen, Philip Thornton and An Notenbaert and attended by over 30 CGIAR scientists.

The CCAFS program asked a team of ILRI/CCAFS scientists to help to locate global hotspots by carrying out a rapid assessment of vulnerability of food systems to climate change in the global tropics. This will help identify locations where a) climate change impacts are projected to become increasingly severe by 2050 and b) people are likely to become increasingly food insecure by the 2050s. Mapping is following the conceptual approach that vulnerability is a combination of exposure to a hazard (climate change), the sensitivity of a system to that hazard, and the coping capacity the system has internally to buffer or alleviate the impacts.

Eight preliminary climate change exposure hotpots have been identified to 2050, based on consequences of both changes in precipitation and temperature in different ways, and in terms of their impacts on agricultural systems and livelihoods.  Sensitivity has been defined in terms of cropped area. For coping capacity, we are reviewing a number of different food security outcome indicators, and will use a measure of chronic undernutrition.  These indicators will be combined to derive vulnerability domains, which we can then map across the global tropics. 

This assessment of the vulnerability of food systems to climate change will be an component of informing CCFAS’s future region/site selection process. It may support the identification of regions where specific place-based CCAFS work could be located in the future.

The final report of this research will be released in May.