We launched the new global coordinating office of CCAFS in Wageningen and discussed partnerships to enhance our impact

In 2009, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) began its life as a CGIAR Challenge Program, before transforming into a CGIAR Research Program (CRP) in 2011. This year brings some new exciting changes for us. At the beginning of this year, the CCAFS began its second phase (from 2017 to 2022), with the aim to position CGIAR to play a major role in scaling up practices, technologies and institutions that enable agriculture to meet the triple goals of food security, adaptation and mitigation. In its second phase, CCAFS will continue to be led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and work with all 15 CGIAR centres in five regions: East and West Africa, South and South East Asia, and Latin America, with global coordination from the newly launched office in Wageningen University and Research (WUR).

In Phase I there were many exciting developments, with over 600 research papers delivered. But perhaps more important was the development outcomes that CCAFS contributed to. To address the need for proven and effective climate-smart agriculture (CSA) options, CCAFS developed the Climate-Smart Village (CSV) approach. This was piloted in 2012 in West Africa, East Africa and South Asia, and in 2014 it was expanded to Latin America and Southeast Asia. Today, CCAFS and its partners facilitate agricultural research for development (AR4D) in about 36 CSV sites, where we test technological and institutional options through participatory methods. Meanwhile, development agencies and governments have embraced integrated approaches to climate change, modeled on the CSV approach; and there are now several thousand CSVs being implemented. CCAFS also worked closely with partners to deliver climate information to farmers (e.g. seasonal forecasts) with the biggest success in Senegal where these were delivered to 7 million farmers through community radio. Partnership was key – with the meteorological agency, Columbia University for the cutting edge science of forecasts, the agricultural ministry and the association of community radios. The private sector is seen as a crucial part to scaling solutions – for example in India where our insurance partner, the Agriculture Insurance Company of India is delivering new insurance products to a million farmers – based on CCAFS crop modeling and climate downscaling.

CCAFS Phase II: What’s new?

The overall goal of CCAFS is to catalyse positive change towards climate-smart agriculture, food systems and landscapes, and thereby contribute to impact in three dimensions: 1. Reducing poverty; 2. Improving food and nutrition security for health; 3. Improving natural resource systems and ecosystem services. Each of these dimensions has a specific target to be achieved by CCAFS.

Phase II sees an increase in collaboration with WUR, and other Dutch agencies. This was highlighted in the one-day seminar today to officially launch the new CCAFS office and present the program to WUR staff, Dutch ministries, other Dutch universities and organizations based in the Netherlands.

Today @cgiarclimate & @WUR present new partnership on #climate change research incl. new CCAFS office at WUR! @LouiseOFresco

— Wageningen U&R (@WUR) March 31, 2017

In the picture: Louise O. Fresco, President of Wageningen University and Research, and Ruben Echeverria, Director General of CIAT.

At the event speakers from CCAFS, Wageningen University and Dutch ministries discussed insights and initiatives on climate change. Reina Buijs, Deputy Director General of International Cooperation, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said:

Engagement of science with civil society and the private sector is crucial to achieve impact, which will benefit women and men in developing countries.”

Martin Kropff, Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and former Rector Magnificus and Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen University and Research Center, highlighted: 

Scientific excellence, partnerships and capacity building, are the three crucial components for achieving impact, and the CCAFS-WUR partnership seeks to bring these components together.”

WUR will lead several CCAFS activities, but other Universities such as Utrecht also lead activities. A recent Call by NWO links Dutch knowledge institutes with CCAFS projects – this will greatly deepen the collaborations.

The targets in Phase II are ambitious. The already existing strong cooperation between CCAFS and WUR, WUR’s status as a center of excellence for agricultural research, as well as the Netherlands’ large international agricultural sector, will help achieve our ambitious goals.

A new area for CCAFS, amongst several others, is reducing food loss and waste. WUR will lead CCAFS research on this topic. Globally, one-third of food is lost or wasted, contributing to around 8% of annual GHG emissions. Reducing food loss and waste therefore has a high potential for cutting down on emissions, however, the link to climate change remains poorly understood. CCAFS research led by WUR will provide evidence for the amount of mitigation that could be achieved by reducing food loss and waste, and will identify strategies for reducing food loss and waste in ways that achieve a food and nutrition-secure food system while also reducing emissions. WUR adds value to the CGIAR portfolio through its connections to key players dealing with food waste, especially those in developed countries. Read more about this research area on the CCAFS website under Policy, incentives and finance for scaling up low emissions practices.

Reducing emissions intensities from livestock is an opportunity - and necessity - given current sectoral trends. In October 2016, the CCAFS project on sustainable intensification of dairy production in Indonesia was launched, led by the WUR and co-funded by the Dutch government. This initiative aims to increase the sustainability of smallholder dairy farms in West Java by low emissions strategies for Indonesian smallholder dairy farmers. Read more about this project on the WUR website: Sustainable Intensification of Dairy Production Indonesia

Other WUR-involvement in CCAFS research includes collaboration on Business models, incentives and innovative finance for scaling CSA and on Food and nutrition security futures under climate change. Utrecht University plays a key role in this latter topic as well. Furthermore, WUR will lead the project on assessing the contributions of CSA practices to narrow nutrient and yield gaps, and will also participate as a key partner in the CCAFS East Africa regional program.

We are excited to move to WUR and thank WUR for hosting us. The Netherlands Government is commended for its considerable support the international agricultural research centers (CGIAR).  We look forward the new partnership to help smallholder farmers around the world cope with climate change.

Read more

CCAFS profle on WUR website: Collaboration with Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

Bruce Campbell is the Director of CCAFS.