Expert Panel Calls for Action Now to Meet Food Needs, Build Resilience to Climate Change
Addis Ababa – 15 May 2014 – African and European experts from the Montpellier Panel are calling for ‘sustainable intensification’ to be embraced as a necessary and urgent pathway for meeting global food needs and building resilience to climate change at the IFPRI 2020 conference taking place from 15-17 May 2014.
Sustainable intensification is about increasing agricultural productivity while using fewer resources – land, water and fertilizer.
The Montpellier Panel, chaired by Sir Gordon Conway, works together to make recommendations to enable better European government support of national and regional agricultural development and food security priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tom Arnold, Special Hunger Representative to Concern Worldwide and Chair of the Convention of the Irish Constitution stresses, “Acute and frequent weather shocks are becoming the norm, not the exception; we must adapt and prepare for this new reality.”
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) says, “Special and urgent attention is needed for vulnerable people and communities; the poor and marginalized are always last in line, it’s time now to put them at the front.”
Building resilience to shocks and stresses caused by higher temperatures or erratic rainfall patterns for crops, livestock and people are today’s most pressing global challenges. Sustainable Intensification urges the preservation and enhancement of natural capital alongside a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions originating from agriculture.
Ousmane Badiane, Africa Director for the International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI), says, “The fact that non-major shocks continue to cause significant suffering to rural households in the Sahel region of West Africa is unacceptable. Our failure to fully respond to these threats is a sign that there is much work to be done still in building resilience for farmers.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds that climate change could decrease food production by 2% every decade for the rest of this century. With the global population expected to grow to 9 billion people by 2050, failure to take urgent action on climate change may make it impossible for food production to keep pace with demand.
With agriculture responsible for around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, farmers must be supported to both adapt to climate change and to partake in reducing emissions.
Joachim von Braun, Director, ZEF, University of Bonn informs, “Sustainable land management is critical to coping with weather stresses, improving soil health and increasing agricultural yields.”
Prabhu Pingali, Professor and Director, Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative, Cornell University appeals, “We are only on the cusp of understanding the challenges presented by recurring shocks and must re-double our efforts to invest in research and align our policies in support of the poorest to build resilience against climate change.”
Donors, farmers and governments globally must invest in climate-smart agriculture, food security and nutrition. The growing volatility of weather patterns and the growing scarcity of natural resources mean that sustainable intensification is not only a necessary pathway, but an urgent one.
Notes to Editors:
The Montpellier Panel is a panel of international experts from the fields of agriculture, sustainable development, trade and global development chaired by Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London and Director of Agriculture for Impact. The Panel is working together to make recommendations to enable better European government support of national and regional agricultural development and food security priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Panel first met in Montpellier in March 2010.
The Montpellier Panel members include the following experts serving in their personal capacities:
- Gordon Conway (Chair), Professor of International Development, Imperial College London
- Camilla Toulmin (Co-Chair), Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
- Tom Arnold, Chair of the Convention of the Irish Constitution
- Joachim von Braun, Director, ZEF, University of Bonn
- Henri Carsalade, AfricaRice Board Member and Chairman of Agropolis Foundation Board of Directors
- Peter Hazell, Visiting Professor, Imperial College London
- Namanga Ngongi, Former President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
- David Radcliffe, Senior advisor: Agricultural Research for Development, DG Development and Cooperation, European Commission
- Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)
- Ramadjita Tabo, Director, Regional Hub West and Central Africa, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT),
- Prabhu Pingali, Professor and Director, Tata-Cornell Agriculture and Nutrition Initiative, Cornell University (observer)
- Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
- Dr. Oumar Niangado, Delegate of Syngenta Foundation for West Africa
- Jane Karuku, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
- Ruth Oniang’o, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND)
Agriculture for Impact is an independent advocacy initiative led by Professor Sir Gordon Conway, author of the book One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World. It aims to enable better European government support for productive, sustainable, equitable and resilient agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing in particular on the needs of smallholder farmers. Agriculture for Impact also acts as the convenor of the Montpellier Panel, a group of international experts from the fields of agriculture, trade, policy, ecology and global development. It is based at Imperial College London and is supported through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. www.ag4impact.org