As we get close to the UN Climate Conference (COP21), calls are mounting for serious commitments to addressing key drivers of climate change (greenhouse gas emissions) and to protecting key affected sectors (agriculture). While necessary, those foci are not sufficient if we take equally seriously the goal of ending malnutrition by 2030 – one of the key agendas agreed to by world leaders for the new Sustainable Development Goals. Nutrition isn’t determined just by food supply. The quality of foods and diets matters just as much, combined with actions to ensure clean water, access to health care and more. In other words, protecting global food output from climatic threats (while critically important), is not the only commitment needed for improving nutrition.
It took the world food price crises of 2008 and 2011 to force policymakers to refocus on the fundamental building blocks of development: agriculture, energy, water, prices, and the complex ways through which these shape food systems and people’s nutrition. Commodity price volatility was compounded by unpredictable policy responses, while weather shocks were mirrored by oil price scares. A new normal emerged. Today, we have higher real prices of many commodities than in 2007. In response, government and donor investments in agriculture productivity surged.
But actions need to enhance diets and resolve child and adult malnutrition are lacking. Of course there will be serious climate impacts on farming, through more unpredictability of rains and temperatures, more climate-driven shocks, and the migration of pests and diseases into unprepared agricultural ecosystems. Calls for climate-smart agriculture are therefore all the rage.
But implications for diet quality and nutrition have yet to sink in. Nicholas Stern has argued that “climate change and nutrition are natural partners in the quest for sustainable development.” Using nutrition as a lens through which to promote climate-smart policies would move us beyond the goal of ‘producing more food’ toward securing more diversified, more efficient food systems as a whole. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition argues that we need to promote productivity of affordable nutrient-rich foods and protect the nutrient quality of crops in the context of nutrient-degrading atmospheric conditions. Innovations are also needed in food storage, processing, packaging and marketing, wherever possible leading to reduced carbon emissions along the value chain.
In other words, to secure real gains for nutrition in the context of climate change, thinking about adaption and policy prioritisation has to move beyond the farm-gate. COP21 has the chance to link climate-focused actions with food system resilience by paying genuine attention to higher quality of global diets and nutrition. Will it?Learn more
Download: Policy brief 'Climate-Smart Food Systems for Enhanced Nutrition' (pdf)
Download: Global Nutrition Report (IFPRI)
Downlowd: Lloyd's 2015 Food System Shock report (pdf)
Read blog story: "Foster Climate-Smart Agriculture" (World Bank)
Adapted from Caitlin Shaw's post on IFPRI's Capacity Strengthening blog with contributions from Suresh Babu.
Strengthening all actors of a country's policy system is critical for a well-functioning policy process. This is particularly true for the agricultural sector in developing countries, where the participants involved in the policy process range from farmers to parliamentarians. In Myanmar, a country currently in transition from central planning towards a participatory and inclusive policy process, effective participation by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) remains weak.
While the CSOs have the motivation to engage in policy process, they often lack capacity skills and knowledge needed for connecting with policy makers. In order to help members of such organizations in Myanmar deepen their understanding of this process, the USAID funded Food Security Program (FSP) – a joint activity of International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Michigan State University, and the University of Pretoria – hosted a workshop on Strengthening Policy Systems through Communications and Advocacy from July 27-29 for members of Myanmar’s Food Security Working Group (FSWG).
The training used the kaleidoscope model ( Resnick et al, 2015), developed by FSP researchers, as a framework for focusing on five key elements of the policy cycle necessary for change to occur: agenda setting; design; adoption; implementation; and evaluation and reform. Close to four-dozen participants attended from FSWG member organizations. This included representatives of local and international non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations and farmers’ organizations, as well as members of the media and the Myanmar Development Research Institute (MDRI).
Participants reflected on past FSWG policy engagement and advocacy actions. They then analyzed the next steps in the policy environment by discussing how to identify policy priorities such as responsible agribusiness development and investment climates and policies on food and nutrition security, agricultural input supply, smallholder farmer rights protection, strengthening farm advisory services, land, and environmental conservation.
Strengthening all actors of a country's policy system is critical for a well-functioning policy process. While civil society organizations have the motivation to engage in policy process, they often lack capacity skills and knowledge needed for connecting with policy makers.
They mapped the decision-making processes of targeted individuals, organizations, ministries/departments and committees; selected effective strategies for food security related policy influencing with beneficiaries and stakeholders; developed inputs for the revision of FSWG advocacy strategy and action plan for 2015-2017, taking into account the upcoming November 8, 2015 general election; and encouraged partner and member organizations to embed advocacy actions in their strategies and work plans for collective actions and synergistic results. In this process, participants also identified priority areas for further strengthening their capacity.
The workshop was funded by a collection of donors under the Livelihood and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), including the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), which has been active in strengthening the capacity of its members to actively participate in the policy process. For more information on this activity and other workshops testing the kaleidoscope model, please contact Suresh Babu (email@example.com).
Top photo of goat herder in Bagan, Myanmar by Jennifer Stahl.
Originally posted on ILRI Asia:
The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish recently reviewed its current projects and activities in India and set plans for 2016 and beyond.
At a review and planning meeting held 24-26 September 2015 at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi City in Uttar Pradesh, progress of the Livestock and Fish dairy value chain work in India was assessed.
ILRI’s Alok Jha and Steve Staal with Banaras Hindu University officials at the Livestock and Fish India planning meeting (photo credit: ILRI).
The Livestock and Fish program, which is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), seeks to improve the livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers in India by developing value chains, improving access to markets, and conducting training sessions on efficient dairy production methods.
The first day of the meeting started with an inaugural session attended by ILRI and BHU staff and students, where Steve Staal, East and Southeast…
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Liya Dejene from CKM has been appointed as the 2015-2016 Communications Fellow at the Consortium Office. She starts on 1 October, for one year joining the Consortium Office Strategy team.
She joins Metasebia and Benjamin – both ICT fellows – in bringing ILRI expertise to Montpellier.
The Consortium Communications Fellowship is going into its third year. The position is conceived as a rotational assignment. The concept is for a win-win situation whereby the Consortium benefits from additional expertise and contextual knowledge of center operations through the placement of a center staff member, and the center staff and the originating center benefit from a deeper understanding of CGIAR Consortium policy and procedures.
She will remain an ILRI staff member during the coming year.