Top Experts Gather in Nairobi, Kenya to Plan Campaign on Climate Threat to Global Hunger and Poverty
As Agriculture Fights for Recognition in Climate Talks, Researchers Warn Shifting Weather Patterns Are Poised to Depress Crop Yields in Poorest Regions, Leaving Millions at Risk of Increased Hunger and Poverty
Leading agriculture and climate scientists, policymakers, farmers, and development experts from around the world will gather in Nairobi on May 4 to focus on the threat of climate change to the global food supply. If not dealt with, climate change could imperil efforts to reduce poverty and hunger and threaten the stability of entire nations as farmers struggle in hotter and more uncertain conditions to feed a population set to reach 9 billion people by 2050.
The Conference on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security comes in the wake of talks in Copenhagen last December, where high-level recognition of the link between climate change and food security was reinforced, and less than a month before negotiators reconvene in Bonn, Germany to continue discussions to reach consensus on a new global agreement for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to their impacts. African leaders have been particularly frustrated by the failure of negotiators to give adequate attention to the food security-climate change connection and have joined other developing country officials in declaring: â€œno agriculture, no agreement.
The Conference is jointly convened by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). It is linked to a rapidly emerging research program led by the CGIAR in partnership with ESSP that seeks to provide farmers and policy makers with the means to support sustainable food production in a world where climate change could radically alter agriculture ecosystems and where farmers will be under pressure to simultaneously increase yields and reduce carbon emissions.
A study by the CGIARâ€™s International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) warns that in Africa alone, over the next four decades higher temperatures and more frequent droughts could depress wheat yields by over 30 percent, rice by 15 percent, and maize by 10 percent. Yet the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has projected that over this same period food production globally must increase by 70 percent to feed a population expected to reach 9.1 billion people. IFPRI found that neutralizing the effects of climate change on productivity requires investing at least $7 billion per year on research, irrigation, and rural roads.