Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013...7:31 pm

Introduction – 3rd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change

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The 3rd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change is now underway in Johannesburg, South Africa, from December 3-5, 2013. The conference seeks to build on the momentum from previous conferences in The Hague, Netherlands (2010), and Hanoi, Vietnam (2012), to secure agriculture’s integral role in the global climate change agenda. A core conference goal is to design and form a Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance, while also providing a forum for knowledge sharing and action-oriented discussions on partnership development and the proliferation of Climate Smart Agriculture practices around the world.

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach that seeks to increase agricultural productivity, strengthen farmers’ resilience to climate shocks, reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions and in some cases increase carbon sequestration. It has been coined a “triple-win” for agriculture, climate, and food and nutrition security.

The importance of CSA is manifest. The world will need to increase food production by 60-70 percent by 2050, with the vagaries of climate change expected to pose significant challenges to meeting this target and ensuring global food security and rural livelihoods. Developing countries are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, particularly in the face of food insecurity and malnutrition.  Population growth and climatic effects (including reduced rainfall, volatility of temperature pattern, and extreme weather events) exacerbate the need for action.

The CSA approach recognizes that farmers are the cornerstone to its success and seeks to find ways to effectively and efficiently provide these primary stakeholders with the appropriate technology, data, and tools to implement agricultural practices in line with CSA goals.

During the conference, delegates will discuss the design and potential launch of a Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (CSAA). CSAA would bring together governments, private sector, civil society, farmers, research institutions, and other actors to spearhead an action plan for scaling-up CSA, among other objectives. This is crucial because, as evidenced in recent Doha and Warsaw climate change negotiations, agriculture was regrettably side-lined in the multilateral system.

Thanks to the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and CIERP, there are five Fletcher and Friedman students attending and blogging live at the conference: Tameisha Henry (MALD 2014), Julia Leis (MALD 2014), Easwaran Narassimhan (MALD 2015), Tori Okner (MALD / MS Agriculture, Food and Environment 2013), and Gregory Sixt (Friedman PhD Student Agriculture, Food and Environment/Water Diplomacy Fellow). We are looking forward to keeping you updated on the proceedings of the conference and the progress towards a Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.

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