High Level Panel of Experts Tackles Agriculture and Climate Change

Climate change has been an underlying theme of many of the Landscapes Blog posts, as it is becoming an integral piece of agriculture discussions. But this week, the Blog is focusing specifically on some of the recent publications with particular significance for climate change, agriculture, and food security. The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, convened by FAO to advise the Committee on World Food Security, has released two new reports. Of particular interest this week is the publication with recommendations on climate change and food security. The panel hones in on the chain of vulnerabilities within food security – from the biophysical impacts on crop productivity and associated food price variability to socioeconomic contexts exacerbated by changing climatic conditions. With a target audience of high level decision makers, this publication not only synthesizes the ever-growing field of agriculture and climate change, but also provides sound, actionable items for the local, national and international policy levels.

Both overarching recommendations and those specifically for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) are provided:

  1. Integrate food security and climate change concerns: increasing investments in food security and climate resilience; refocusing agricultural research to incorporate climate change mitigation and adaptation to achieve multiple objectives; modernize extension services; and build capacity at multiple levels.
  2. Increase resilience of food system: base adaptation measures on risk and vulnerability assessment; and facilitate access and exchange of practices, genetic resources, weather forecasting, financial services, and water resources and infrastructure.
  3. Develop low-emissions agricultural strategies without compromising food security: improve land use management to reduce pressure for expansion, increase soil carbon storage, and cut emissions through better practices and technologies.
  4. Collect and share more information: monitor practices and performance, improve the availability of data for vulnerable communities and regions, and organize exchange of knowledge at regional scale.
  5. Facilitate participation of all stakeholders in decision making and implementation processes.
  6. Specifically with regards to the CFS, the panel emphasized the need for more recognition of climate change and food security at international policy processes, such as the UNFCCC and World Trade Organization negotiations. As the CFS develops a Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition, the panel also encouraged the inclusion of the previous five recommendations.

Coordination and coherence of policy and action, as recommended by the panel, resonates with the principles of an integrated landscape approach, which calls for multi-stakeholder processes. This includes cooperative research, extension services, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. As the CFS continues to solidify its Global Framework and moves into its 39th session in October, it will be interesting to see how climate change and these specific recommendations are addressed.

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