CCAFS @ COP26 | The Role of Innovation in Transforming Africa’s Food System under a Changing Climate

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This high-level discussion will showcase a transformative vision and an Africa-led agenda on the role of innovation to deliver sustainable food systems in a changing climate. The event will highlight the role that research and innovation play to support transformation towards sustainable, inclusive, healthy and climate-resilient food systems. The speakers will unpack the concept of innovation in terms of a clear vision, financing mechanisms, engagement, capacity development priorities and the approach of "blended" food systems. The event will frame the key transformative steps required in this transition and provide key insights on a policy and implementation road map.

The side event is organized by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA).


    • Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
    • Manyewu Mutamba - Senior Programme Officer, African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD)
    • Dhanush Dinesh, Head of Partnerships and Outreach, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
    • Elizabeth Nsimadala, President Pan-African Farmers Organisation
    • Chakib Jenane, Practice Manager, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, Africa, World Bank Group


    Africa has the world’s fastest-growing population, estimated to reach 1.7 billion in 2030. This number is expected to increase to 2.5 billion by 2050. Even for today’s population, the status of the continent’s food and nutrition security is a major concern. Transformation and innovation to improve the continent’s food systems in the face of climate change is needed. The COVID 19 pandemic has laid bare the increasing vulnerability of populations to compounding and amplified shocks to the food system stemming from extreme weather events, supply disruptions, and inequitable access to resources.   To sustainably feed its growing population, the continent will require a transformation of its food systems. Accelerating this progress requires a profound change in all facets of the food system, especially in the context of climate change, emerging pandemics, and threats to biological diversity.

    While the impact of extreme climate events on agriculture are well known, climate change also affects all the dimensions of food security, as well as food quantity, quality, safety and ultimately food prices, with significant implications for the availability of and access to healthy diets.  

    The urgent need for transformed food systems is well recognized as a basis for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all. Transforming food systems needs a systems approach that takes the entire value chain into account. Multiple drivers conspire to make it challenging to articulate direct causal connections between climate innovations and improved nutrition outcomes; nevertheless, understanding these connections is essential in the search for process and production innovations and technologies that are synergistic, inclusive and equitable, while at the same time magnifying positive changes at scale.


    • Explore opportunities for an African-led food systems transformation under a changing climate that achieve sustainability, nutritional and climate-resilience outcomes
    • Unpack the different elements of food systems transformation and how they contribute to climate resilience through a just and equitable transition  
    • Highlight some of the different roles that innovation can play for system-level change and transformation across Africa’s food systems
    • Describe opportunities to advance efforts through the Global Action Agenda for Innovation in Agriculture


    This event page provides details for one of the events that CCAFS will be participating in with partners during COP26 (31 Oct–12 Nov 2021). To see other events that CCAFS is co-hosting or participating in, please click here.