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Climate Change and Agriculture

Experts, practitioners, civil society, researchers and others gathered to discuss issues related to food security, climate change and rural development on 3 December at Agriculture Landscapes and Livelihoods Day during the climate change negotiations in Doha. The fifth edition of the event offered a mix of policy discussions, ‘Big Ideas’, and networking opportunities.

Discussions early in the day looked at the progress made to date and the challenges ahead in terms of solutions, gaps and priorities for achieving food security in the face of climate change. While the global food supply and the livelihoods of millions of farmers depend on a sustainable agriculture system, climate change is threatening both.

The urgent need for more foresight was stressed, highlighting the critical impacts on food security, the environment and livelihoods of climate change. Yet, agriculture is significantly under-represented in the UNFCCC negotiations, with no dedicated work programme for agriculture as of yet and no progress in Doha.

One of the reasons little negotiating progress has been made is linked to the ongoing debate over-focusing on adaptation-to versus mitigation-of climate change. The notion that the two are dichotomous was debunked by panellists during ALL-5, who cited the synergies between, and interdependence of, mitigation and adaptation activities. Many practices such as improved water efficiency of crops and returning of organic matter to soils help farmers adjust to climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. Adaptation and mitigation cannot be considered separately and synergies must be identified.

Extreme weather, water scarcity, and increased pest pressure were identified as key gaps in research. It was also evident that there is a strong need for gathering local data in a way that can be aggregated and shared to serve decision-making at the national level as well as at the farmer level.

To watch the closing video, please visit There is an excellent presentation by Franklin Moore regarding the UN Committee on World Food Security, my own summation of the outcomes of Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day (at 26.46 into video), and then a wrap up speech by his Royal Highness the Prince of Swaziland. The entire event is moderated by the talented and insightful Lindiwe Sibanda of FANRPAN.

Robynne Anderson

Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

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