An international partnership – ICARDA with CGIAR Research Programs on Dryland Systems and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, and the Qatar National Food Security Program –pressed for agricultural research to become a strategic priority of the UN’s efforts on climate change.
The case was made at Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day 5 (ALL Day 5), a forum for the natural resource and agriculture community to share solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Recognizing that shifting climate patterns are having their most acute effect on people living in the world’s dry areas, and that these rural communities are largely dependent on agriculture, the partnership argued that improvements in agricultural research and practices are the primary protection from climate related problems.
This case – made in a report entitled Strategies for Combating Climate Change in Drylands Agriculture – stresses that targeted agricultural investment in innovative technologies and practices, backed up by robust policies, can reduce the vulnerability of farming communities to drought and climate change and sustainably improve agricultural activity.
Held alongside the Conference of Parties (COP 18) at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ALL-DAY 5 was a unique opportunity for ICARDA and its partners to present viable options to help rural communities earn a living and produce food securely in a situation where land is degraded and water scarce.
Proven interventions shared included improved crop varieties and livestock breeds, farming practices that reduce risk and improve nutrition, efficient water management, and ‘climate smart’ technologies.
Given the chance to seize available opportunities, scientists contended that farmers can increase food production to keep pace with growing populations and reduce the need for costly food imports.
Projections from the recently launched CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems suggest the planned interventions will result in higher and more secure income for 87 million people, while improving the productive capacity of natural resources and reducing environmental degradation across nearly 11 billion hectares.
Scientists also expect significant increases in agricultural productivity: by 20-30 per cent in high potential areas and 10-20 per cent in low potential or marginal lands.