GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Achieving Food Security in a Changing Climate: The Potential of Climate-Smart Agriculture
Paper Proposal Text :
Many researchers, decision-makers and civil society actors believe that the current century’s biggest challenges will be climate change and food security. Presently, close to 1 billion people are already suffering from hunger worldwide and the future is daunting too: food needs are projected to increase by 70% by 2050 when the global population reaches 9 billion, while climate change is projected to reduce global average yields, among other severe consequences. Within this perspective, many believe that agriculture must become central to future climate-change and food security governance:

· Firstly, because the agriculture is the sector most vulnerable to climate change and will suffer from many threats, including the reduction of agricultural productivity, production stability and incomes in areas of the world that already have high levels of food insecurity and limited means of coping with adverse climate impacts. Moreover, climate change will affect agriculture through higher temperatures, greater crop water demand, more variable rainfall and extreme climate events such as heat waves, floods and droughts. Many impact studies point to severe crop yield reductions in the next decades without strong adaptation measures, especially in areas where rural households are highly dependent on agriculture and farming systems are highly sensitive to volatile climate;

· Secondly, because the agriculture contributes a "significant" proportion of global carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions (about 14% of emissions according to current estimations);

· Thirdly, because the agriculture can be a major part of the solution: helping people to feed themselves and adapt to changing conditions while mitigating climate change. This mitigation potential can be largely achieved in developing countries.

The need to tackle climate change while producing more food to feed the world's growing population means that "climate-smart agriculture" is on of the best ways forward. This approach defends an agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation) while enhancing the achievement of food security and development goals. Being able to transform agriculture to feed a growing population in the face of a changing climate without hindering the natural resource base will not only achieve food security goals but also help mitigate the negative effects of climate change. More productive and resilient agriculture will need better management of natural resources, such as land, water, soil and genetic resources through practices, such as conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, agroforestry and sustainable diets.

This paper aims at exploring how climate change is likely to impact agriculture, food production and security, and what actions can be taken to increase agriculture productivity, build resilience to the negative impacts of climate change, as well as contribute to the reduction of GHG emission through enhancing climate-smart agriculture – both in policies and practices. Given the interlinkages between climate change, food security and agriculture policies, an integrated governance approach will be developed during this research.

Keywords: Food Security; Climate-Smart Agriculture; Sustainability; Integrated Governance.