Governance

Food security in a globally-connected world will require better governance at all levels – local, national and international.

By Chase Sova and Andy Jarvis.

The role of agriculture has been the subject of serious debate at each of the last global climate change conferences. The most recent event, held in Poland this past December, offered no exception. Chants of “No agriculture, no deal” resonated along the Warsaw Stadium hallways, backed by a host of government, civil society and private sector actors.

Agriculture contributes to approximately 30% of total global green house gas (GHG) emissions when related deforestation and post-production steps are considered. Its treatment by the international community is thus of major consequence, both for mitigation and adaptation outcomes. Yet agricultural mitigation targets — and a binding agreement to back them — continue to be plagued by sticky issues around national security, terms of trade, and climate justice.

Most actors in the international arena have acknowledged the immediate and urgent adaptation needs of nearly 1.5 billion small-scale producers and have promised action. In fact, the world has become a testing ground for adaptation policies and projects in nearly all sectors.

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by Elisabeth van de Grift and Joost Vervoort

CCAFS Scenario team and partners help governments in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador plan under uncertainty.

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By Alex Canepa.

In the midst of the acrimony surrounding the U.S. Congress’ decision to cut upwards of $8 billion from the SNAP (food stamp) program in the 2014 Farm Bill, many observers missed a significant new departure in American food policy - financial incentive for healthy eating.

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In climate change adaptation and development circles we often speak of ‘politics’ and ‘power’ as things that stand in the way of progress. We see this frequently in international negotiations where obstruction and grandstanding are common negotiating tactics by politically motivated actors. Yet this negative view of politics is altogether more widespread than that—it’s present in national planning workshops, project development, and just about any forum were complex interests are negotiated. 

Because power and politics are viewed as inherently negative forces, climate change adaptation theorists and practitioners are often guilty of creating a political deficit in adaptation— that is, we choose to avoid these forces altogether. Instead, we view climate change and its responses as a purely technical endeavour, modelling impacts and using empirical data to prioritize adaptation actions (science rightly tells us that this is the correct approach!). 

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By John Ingram, Food Systems Programme Leader, Environmental Change Institute, on the 'Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System' report to which he contributed:

It is well recognised that climate change poses considerable risks to global food production: IPCC AR5 and many other analyses detail where, by how much and to what types of production system given degrees of climate change will have impact. There are, however, fewer analyses of the challenges facing the food system as a whole. While disruptions to production are clearly important, climate change – and extreme weather in particular – will impact many of the food system’s ‘post-farm gate’ activities and hence food security; food security depends on more than just food production. For instance, damage to food transport and storage infrastructure due to storms and floods causes local shortages, affecting food affordability and variety. Temperature and humidity changes can lead to numerous food safety issues, and hence both health considerations and food waste, the later also affecting availability. Consumer behaviour can also change, leading to changes in diets and hence nutrition.

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We're pleased to offer a guest blog post by Elisabetta Aurino, originally published on the Young Lives website for World Food Day.

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By Cory Rodgers

On May 4th, the Oxford Food Security Forum hosted its third annual conference at St. Antony’s College, featuring three panels organised around the theme “Critical Perspectives and Marginalised Issues.”

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By Christopher Adam and Doug Gollin, Department of International Development

A new issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy discusses the economics and politics of the rapidly changing global food and agricultural system. 

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By Chase Sova.

Emerging economies often look to the United States as a model for how to grow their agricultural sectors. Doing so when climate impacts strike, however, may yield more questions than answers.

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