Putting science into action for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Photo: C. Schubert (CCAFS)

The Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture wrapped up three intensive days focused on deepening understanding of the climate-smart agriculture (CSA) concept. The event, held in Ede, the Netherlands brought together researchers  from around the world to share best practices on the ground. Together, they worked to identify key priorities for further knowledge development as well as ways to effectively implement known solutions. The participants ranged from scientists, non-governmental organizations, farmer’s associations to ministry representatives and universities.

The conference was an important stepping stone for future climate meetings, building momentum in the hope that agriculture will be seen as part of the solution to climate change and not only as contributing to the problems, through the triple win of climate-smart agriculture. This common vision was outlined by Sir John Beddington, Lindiwe Sibanda (FANRPAN), in the opening keynotes.

Science for action

’The Wageningen Statement: Climate-Smart Agriculture – Science for Action’ is the official declaration from the meeting. The declaration states that agriculture must be part of the solution to climate change and that there is a need to recognize the critical role of farmers in sustainable development and in alleviating poverty. Further, women and youth are acknowledged to play an important role in agriculture and sustainable development for which there is need to involve them in research and development of CSA practices and food security.

The declaration states that it is crucial to recognize that agriculture is context specific and thus one-size –fits all solutions will not work. Instead, a focus should be placed on participatory research and filling existing research gaps to find suitable practices. There is a need to scale up CSA through learning-by-doing in close collaboration with farmers and service-providers; build institutions and incentives to enable all farmers to adopt CSA practices; adopt a farmer-based approach when designing policies and setting priorities to achieve action on the ground; increase investments and finance ‘early-action’ on proven technologies; and adopt a decision to establish a Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice Programme of Work at COP 17 as a first step to mainstream agriculture in international climate change policy. Read the full press release from the World Bank.

The conference was co-sponsored by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with Director Bruce Campbell giving a well-received presentation to an audience of 160 participants. Regional Program Leader Robert Zougmoré from CCAFS West Africa region was one of the workshop facilitators during the meeting. Details on Bruce Campbell's presentation will be posted in the upcoming days.

Workshop participants came from diverse countries as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Mali, USA, Denmark, United Kingdom, Argentina, and China, including Florence Birungi Kyazze, from Makerere University in Uganda, who was part of a CCAFS household baseline survey team in Uganda. Florence was keen to join the conference, and noted that by bringing together high-level scientists with grassroots researchers, the event helped produce a deeper understanding of the potential challenges and opportunities with climate-smart agriculture.

Many of the organizers of the Wageningen conference will continue their campaign for climate-smart agriculture in Durban at Agriculture and Rural Development Day on 3 December. Visit the Agriculture Day website to register and join the climate-smart journey to Durban!