CTA & Partners at CoP21

International Conference

Report from COP21: Food security-climate change nexus gains momentum

The impact of climate change on agriculture brings into stark focus the issue of food security in the context of a growing world population. At the global climate change summit in Paris (COP21), a CTA co-organised event focused on some of the issues related to climate change, agriculture and food security. 

At the Paris Climate talks, President of Palau, Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr., feels "like a fish out of water".

"I hope I have good news to go back home and tell my people," he says during the high level segment of "From Farmer's Fields to Landscapes: Food Security in a New Climate Regime", a side event co-organised by CTA at the climate change negotiations.

President Remengesau notes that as an island nation, Palau's food security revolves around the ocean. He, however, outlines the impact of a changing climate on agriculture. "All our agricultural farmlands on the coastline are already destroyed, and our farmers now have to move inland to higher ground," he says, adding that these interior lands are often not very fertile.

A bold climate agreement in Paris will launch a new era for building food security. The high-level panel discussed commitments to food security in a climate-constrained world, and highlighted various approaches to tackling this challenge. These approaches include targets for the agricultural sector, to inspiring land and seascape management proposals.

The discussion comes a significant number of countries have included agriculture in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), raising the profile of the agriculture sector in the climate change talks. Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, explains that the Centre came to Paris with a view to aiding efforts at ensuring that agriculture is included in the new climate deal in light of the sector's role as a contributor to, and tool in countering climate change.


The climate change and food security event was one of two that CTA co-organised with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) at COP21. The other event, "Scaling up innovative approaches to climate-smart agriculture in Africa", highlighted innovative approaches to agriculture in Africa in the context of a changing climate that can be part of the implementation of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and showcased solutions for smallholder farmers in Africa.

INDCs are intended to allow for the tracking of progress and achieve a collective ambition level sufficient to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels. Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Program at CCAFS, says his organisation reviewed the INDCs ahead of COP21 and is pleased with the response of the media to the events organised by CTA and CCAFS.

The inclusion of agriculture in the INDCs proves that the sector "has risen in the sensibilities of most governments," says Sunny Verghese, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Olam. He adds: "This is a welcomed start." Verghese also outlines some of the steps that need to be taken to ensure the significant emissions reductions needed to have sustainable agriculture.


Photos from events co-organised by CTA at COP21
Watch other videos from CTA at COP21


Climate Change and SIDS: A voice at COP21 for small farmers (Ramphal Institute, CaFAN and CTA, 2015).
Climate solutions that work for farmers (CTA, 2015).
Evidence of impact: climate-smart agriculture in Africa (CTA and CCAFS, 2015).
Special edition of the Spore magazine Global warming: Doing business in a time of climate change (CTA, 2015).
Climate-smart agriculture success stories from farming communities around the world (CTA and CCAFS, 2013).
Guide to UNFCCC Negotiations on Agriculture: Toolkit for Communications and Outreach (CTA, CCAFS and Farming First).

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