Climate Change


Last month the Montpellier Panel presented the report on ‘Growth with Resilience: Opportunities in African Agriculture’. The report’s vision states:

“The challenge is to generate agricultural growth that produces enough food, ensures it is accessible to all, is inclusive of the most vulnerable and is resilient, and hence able to withstand the increasing multiple stresses and shocks that afflict the world.

To this end, we believe the priority should be supporting the creation of:

  • Resilient markets that enable farmers to increase production and generate income through innovation and taking risks, while ensuring food is available at an affordable price.
  • Resilient agriculture that creates agricultural growth out of knowledge and innovation, while simultaneously building the capacity of smallholder farmers to counter environmental degradation and climate change.
  • Resilient people who are able to generate diverse livelihoods that provide stable incomes, adequate nutrition and good health in the face of recurrent stresses and shocks.

To achieve these goals we will also need political leadership that demonstrates the necessary vision and will”.

The report is available from the Imperial College London website 

End of last year IIED and IUCN published a book in which the authors explain that our current way of providing food and other basic needs involves industrialised systems that are linear, centralised and globalised. In the linear approach, it is assumed that at one end of a system there is an unlimited supply of energy and raw materials (which there isn’t), while at the other the environment has an infinite capacity to absorb pollution and waste (which it hasn’t). The inevitable result is resource shortages on the one hand and solid waste, climate change, biodiversity loss, and air pollution problems on the other.

An alternative to the current linear paradigm is to develop productive systems that minimise external inputs, pollution and waste (as well as risk, dependency and costs) by adopting a circular metabolism. There are two principles here, both reflecting the natural world. The first is that natural systems are based on cycles, for example water, nitrogen and carbon. Secondly, there is very little waste in natural systems. The ‘waste’ from one species is food for another, or is converted into a useful form by natural processes and cycles.

This book shows how these principles can be used to create systems and settlements that provide food, energy and water without consuming large quantities of fossil fuels and other finite resources. In the process, greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution are minimised whilst human well being, food and livelihood security, and democratic control are enhanced.

This book/report is available from the IIED website

This Discussion Paper published by EcoAgriculture Partners with support from CARE and WWF-US examines how Conservation Agriculture (CA) might support climate change adaptation and mitigation in the context of smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. It also defines and analyzes a broader approach to CA—including natural resource management and support for human and social capital at the farm, village, and landscape scales—that may increase synergies between food production, ecosystem services, and climate change adaptation. The study concludes by suggesting ways in which new policy priorities and climate finance sources may support the scaling-up of CA in appropriate contexts throughout sub-Saharan Africa, following the mainstreaming of CA that occurred in the Americas in prior decades.

This Discussion Paper is available from the EcoAgriculture Partners

1. Agricultural Systems/Climate Change Mitigation
Achieving sustainable food security in a world of growing population and changing diets is a major challenge under climate change. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is looking for an innovative, results-oriented young scientist with excellent skills in agricultural systems analysis and modeling. The scientist will work as a member of CIMMYT Global Conservation Agriculture Program (CIMMYT-GCAP), and will play a key role in a large multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team. The selected scientist will work closely with CIMMYT’s research teams in the different regions where systems research is conducted, as well as partners in advanced research institutes, national research programs, and the CCAFS (CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) community. He/she will be responsible for evaluating the potential impact, in the Indo Gangetic plains, of improved agricultural management practices, including conservation agriculture, to mitigate climate change. The position is supported by the CGIAR Research Program (CRP7-CCAFS) and other donors.

The complete description of this position is available from the CIMMYT website

2. Agricultural Systems/Climate Change Adaptation
Achieving sustainable food security in a world of growing population and changing diets is a major challenge under climate change. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is looking for an innovative, results-oriented young scientist with excellent skills in agricultural systems analysis and modeling. The scientist will work as a member of CIMMYT Global Conservation Agriculture Program (CIMMYT-GCAP), and will play a key role in a large multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team. The selected scientist will work closely with CIMMYT’s research teams in the different regions where systems research is conducted, as well as partners in advanced research institutes, national research programs, and the CCAFS (CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) community. He/she will be responsible for assessing the potential of conservation agriculture as an adaption measure to climate change in the Indo Gangetic plains and East Africa, in coordination with similar studies in South Asia region and in East Africa. The position is supported by the CGIAR Research Program (CRP7-CCAFS) and other donors.

The complete description of this position is available from the CIMMYT website

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature is an international collaborative initiative that aims to scale up successful strategies that simultaneously improve livelihoods, conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, and feed the world while helping to address climate change. This integrated approach combines interests across multiple sectors to improve landscape management.

Dialogues of this three year collaborative initiative will start in an international forum in March 6-10th 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. Co-organizers include Biodiversity International, Conservation International, EcoAgriculture Partners, FAO, Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, UNEP, UNU-IAS and the World Agroforestry Centre.

The complete description of the initiative is available here

The book provides a stocktaking of where we are with livestock system classification. It presents the most up to date maps of global livestock production systems and provides revised estimates of the number of poor livestock keepers, globally, within the different production systems. It proposes alternative approaches to mapping production systems that are explicitly linked to livelihoods, and reviews the ways in which intensive production can be accounted for. Several examples are presented of how systems’ information can be of value. It also underscores the areas that need further development. The FAO and ILRI continue to work jointly on several of these.

Download the pdf of this FAO/ILRI book

Stockholm Resilience Centre is looking for input, comments and suggestions on the commissioned report by Hivos and Oxfam Novib: “Agricultural biodiversity, smallholder farmers, and adaptive capacity – status of knowledge in the context of resilience and transformations”.

The report aims “to identify knowledge gaps related to biodiversity conserving agricultural production and marketing systems, to reduce risks and improve the livelihoods of rural people living in poverty”. Inputs should be addressed to Pernilla Malmer.

The draft report and annexes are available from the PAR website

Next Page »