17 April 2018, Hyderabad (India) — Experts in the areas of climate change and agriculture from eight member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) gather today in Hyderabad, India, to explore effective ways of regional research and action on climate-smart agriculture, an approach to agriculture that contributes to the achievement of countries’ climate action, food security and development goals.
The conference, entitled “Regional Expert Consultation on Climate-Resilient Agricultural policies, strategies and programmes” is being held on 17–19 April 2018, jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, the SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) and the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), and hosted by the National Academy of Agriculture Research Management (NAARM), an institution under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research.
The need to examine effective action and partnerships at the intersection between climate and agriculture is more pressing than ever as recent estimates show that agricultural production will need to increase by at least 70 percent to meet global demand by 2050. This has to be addressed in the context of climate change, which is projected to further reduce productivity and production stability, leading to food insecurity.
The conference also comes at a time when the international climate community seeks to strengthen climate adaptation and mitigation actions to safeguard food security, including through the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture being developed under the United Nations climate negotiations.
The chief guest of honour, Shri SK Joshi (IAS), Chief Secretary, Government of Telangana, India stressed the multifaceted nature of the issue of agriculture under a changing climate, and invited stakeholders from all sectors to work together in order to develop optimal solutions to address issues surrounding agriculture and climate change. He also underscored the important role of traditional wisdom in providing innovative solutions.
“It is only through combined strength that we can address the looming threat of climate change. The regional consultation provides such a common platform for South Asian countries to learn, share and reflect on the impact of climate change on agriculture. The regional consultation is also opportune because parties of the UNFCCC at COP23 put in place for the first time a joint work programme on climate change and agriculture, the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture,” highlighted Dr JR Bhatt, Adviser, MoEFCC and APN national Focal Point of India in his opening remarks.
“It is an honour for APN to be able to partner with MoEFCC, SAC and NAARM to organize this conference on an issue that is not only challenging the agricultural policy of the Global South. Rather, it is a global issue overarching the entire range of the societal strategy making, including research, education and capacity development, infrastructure planning, effective legislature and on-the-ground implementation of strategies to help farmers to sustain their livelihood and produce enough food for everybody living on this planet,” said Mr Yukihiro Imanari, Division Head, Development and Institutional Affairs, APN Secretariat.
Dr WART Wickramaarachchi, Senior Programme Specialist, SAC introduced the history of SAC and gave a vote of thanks to the co-organizers, the local host and all experts from SAARC member states and APN members who made the event possible. “As a member of the organizing team, I strongly believe the regional consultation will result in useful recommendations towards research and capacity development to address the challenges of climate change on agriculture in South Asia,” said Dr Wickramaarachchi.
By promoting the understanding of climate change impact on agriculture and evaluating agricultural policies that integrate climate change adaptation, the conference will explore and prioritize issues and gaps in climate change policy, research, capacity development and knowledge management, with the aim of formulating key policy recommendations and developing a framework for collaborative action.
It is expected that the outcomes of the conference will contribute to developing partnership activities that enhance integration and mainstreaming of climate change issues into agricultural policies, especially in relation to South Asian countries’ adaptation commitments under the Paris Agreement.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the main agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government of India for the planning, promotion, coordination and overseeing the implementation of environmental and forestry policies and programmes in India. The primary concerns of the Ministry are the implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country’s natural resources including its lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals, and the prevention and abatement of pollution.
The SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) is a regional centre established by SAARC with a mandate for research and development, policy planning, and knowledge management in the field of agriculture. The goals of SAC are: to strengthen agricultural research and accelerate technology transfer; to provide inputs for developing regional policies, strategies and projects; to promote new and innovative techniques and systems in agriculture; to facilitate collaborative studies, capacity building programmes and information dissemination for agricultural advancement in the South Asia region.
The Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) is an intergovernmental network of 22 countries working towards pursuing an Asia-Pacific region that is successfully addressing the challenges of global change and sustainability. To achieve its mission, APN: 1) funds regional, multi-country and transdisciplinary research projects on global change and sustainability that provides underpinning scientific input to policymaking; 2) funds and implements projects and workshops to develop the capacity of individuals and organizations to conduct high-quality research on global change and sustainability; and 3) fosters and strengthens interactions between the science and policymaking communities to produce actionable science and informed decision-making.
The ICAR-National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) was established by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1976 at Hyderabad. The major mandate of the Academy is to build capacity in agricultural research, education and extension education systems, and provide policy advocacy for the National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES). To fulfil these mandates, the Academy organises various capacity building programmes for researchers, academicians, extension personnel, scholars and other stakeholders in NARES.