Climate, Agriculture and Food Security: A Strategy for Change
The climate is changing, and agricultural systems must also change if we are to avoid catastrophe. Farming, fishing and forest communities will need to adapt their livelihood systems, while mitigation efforts must address both the contribution of agriculture to the climate change problem, and the great potential of different resource management practices in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The changes that are needed will be many and diverse. They will happen at the local level, tailored to local circumstances and ecosystems, and chosen and managed by the communities themselves. They should have immediate benefits for the communities, as well as long-term benefits that future generations will enjoy. They must be based on sound science, and enabled by effective policy at all levels. They will build on the wealth of knowledge that already exists, and the new directions that research must now take to meet this enormous challenge.
We need to take rapid strides forward in understanding what is going to happen to our farming, fishery and forest systems as the climate changes; the interactions that will occur with other global changes that are also under way; and within this complex and dynamic situation, the trade-offs we may face between food security, livelihoods and environmental security. We need to develop new and inventive responses to what is likely to be the most complex challenge that the world’s food production systems have ever faced. To do this, we need new ways of working, new non-traditional partnerships and truly integrated approaches. And we need much better communications between all stakeholders, so that decision making at all levels is based on the best knowledge available.