Displaying 1-20 of 58 key documents
Source: IISD | June 2012
This paper gives an overview of the financing needs of smallholder farmers, their current sources of financing, and ways to deliver these funds to help them achieve the triple dividends of enhanced food security, increased resilience to climate change, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers recommendations for mobilising investment to enable further progress towards this goal.
The authors argue that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution, and suggest that adaptation funds and the private sector could be a source of additional support, in the absence of public sector financing for agriculture or a carbon market for smallholders. They conclude with recommendations for policymakers, such as building on prior experience and knowledge, and creating an enabling environment for climate-smart agricultural investment.
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) | June 2012
This report examines how refugees and displaced people from several countries in the East and Horn of Africa have perceived, experienced and responded to climatic variability and the negative impacts of climate change. Through interviews and focus groups, and supported by a literature review, the report assesses how people manage the impact of climate change and environmental stress, how these factors affect livelihoods and vulnerability, and to what extent they influence people's decisions to move from their homes.
Key findings include that climate change had negatively impacted farming and livestock husbandry, and triggered conflict by further exacerbating existing resource scarcity. However, people tended to employ a wide range of adaptive strategies, only moving home as a last resort. The report also states that migration was often viewed as temporary, and very rarely occurred across national borders. It concludes that political conditions, civil disorder and state oppression inhibited people's coping strategies.
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization | June 2012
This report argues that more sustainable use of forestry resources can help reduce poverty and hunger, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and create more sustainable sources of bio-products and bio-energy. It was released at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), where many of these challenges were discussed.
The report highlights that 350 million of the world's poorest people depend on forests for survival, and that investing in wood-based enterprises creates jobs and improves livelihoods. It argues that when sourced sustainably, wood products can store carbon and be easily recycled, and highlights that sustainable forestry offers a renewable, alternative source of energy. It says that more resources need to be invested in creating small and medium forest-based enterprises that benefit local communities.
The report concludes that promoting a sustainable forest-based industry can both improve local economies and meet sustainability goals. But this will require policies, programmes and incentives.
Source: ICRISAT | January 2012
This paper looks at how climate change could affect the rate of phenological development — biological events related to climate, such as flowering — and rainfall patterns during the growing season. The authors suggest that these changes may result in mismatch between water demand by crops and water availability from rainfall.
The paper describes a project that combines a new analysis of meteorological data with previously published data on climatic changes to assess the expected consequences of this mismatch for food security.
The authors illustrate how understanding how key crops might be affected by climate change in the Asia-Pacific region can help farmers, community workers and policymakers to prepare and adapt. Strategies include timing of planting, managing rainwater resources, use of new varieties, alternate crops and shifts in geographic distribution of crops.
Source: UN University | April 2012
This online book aims to offer insight into development issues related to climate change and indigenous peoples that can be useful in policymaking. It provides an overview of more than 400 relevant projects, case studies and research activities.
Different sections cover climate and environmental changes, including local observations, and the impact of these changes on indigenous communities. The book also outlines mitigation and adaptation strategies — based on traditional knowledge and survival skills — that are being implemented by them.
The authors highlight that climate change effects reported by indigenous people include loss of livelihoods; land degradation; impacts on food security; health issues; and water shortages that can affect agriculture, infrastructure, forestry and energy amongst others areas.
Source: EDF and the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) | May 2012
This publication presents case studies that illustrate the strong links and inter-dependencies between water, food and energy, from the perspective of a range of organisations worldwide. It was produced to inform discussions of the High-Level Panel on the Water, Food and Energy Nexus, held during the 6th World Water Forum 2012. The forum highlighted the need to integrate strategies on water, food and energy and increase resource productivity, as well as improve grassroots participation for sustainable development.
Case studies presented in the report addressed policy processes for ensuring water, food and energy security in African countries, issues associate with management of the Machángara River Basin in South America, drip irrigation in India, dam building in South-East Asia, and irrigation and hydropower in Asia.
Each case study outlines the background and how the case relates to the nexus between water, food and energy; objectives and a summary of actions taken; and results including lessons learnt.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
This report is intended to explore how policies and programmes can be strengthened to support links between agriculture, nutrition and health. It aims to inspire dialogue within and between these sectors and targets various audiences, from researchers and policymakers to practitioners.
The report explores links between the sectors as well as related issues including the role of agricultural growth, scientific innovations, food supply chains, agriculture-associated diseases, and the role of women. It outlines challenges and solutions for improving the productivity and sustainability of agriculture to improve nutrition and health for the world's most vulnerable people. It identifies knowledge gaps and aims to encourage new thinking, and concrete action to leverage agriculture for better health.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | March 2012
This report provides a visual overview of the trends and factors shaping global food and agricultural systems, including their interactions with broader environmental and socioeconomic concerns. It presents a selection of indicators on food and agriculture by country, aiming to be a reference point for policymakers, donor agencies, researchers, analysts and the public. These indicators are based on the FAOSTAT statistical database, which includes survey data submitted by countries, supplemented by national data.
Four sections cover provide an exhaustive overview of key themes: the state of agricultural resources, including pressures from demographic and macroeconomic change; food insecurity and malnutrition; the role of trade in meeting demands for food and feed; and the sustainability of agriculture in the context climate change and the need to provide ecosystem services.
Source: IFPRI | March 2012
This report combines poverty data and economic analysis to inform debate on policy priorities for poverty reduction and food security in light of the "Arab Awakening". It argues for national dialogues and joint economic development strategies in the region, with sound laws and accountable politicians who accept democratic values.
The report suggests that poverty and income inequality in the Arab world are higher than previously thought. It introduces a new welfare measure of food insecurity at the national level and in households, which is used to classify countries into five risk groups. It also presents analyses showing that unlike other regions, poor people in Arab countries benefit more from growth in the manufacturing and service sector, rather than agriculture; and that high levels of public spending — particularly in education — do not stimulate growth as much as in other regions.
The report highlights three policy recommendations: improving data and capacity to provide evidence for decision-making; fostering growth that enhances food security; and improving the efficiency of public spending.
Source: Global Environment Facility (GEF) | March 2012
This report gives an overview of how water resources can be protected and used efficiently based on the work of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It provides examples of how the work has encouraged cooperation across sectors and national borders. Case studies cover topics including pollution control, sustainable use of water for food security, and energy security through water management.
The authors conclude with a description of initiatives that aim to improve public health through wastewater management and ecological sanitation. They suggest that cooperation towards a shared goal is needed to sustain the benefits of water systems. The report is available in English, French and Spanish.
Source: Ramsar Convention and the WHO | March 2012
The report looks at the linkages between wetlands, human health and well-being, and examines the potential of to improving health while conserving wetland ecosystems. It aims to provide advice to wetland managers and decision makers, and to facilitate dialogue between wetlands and human health experts.
The report gives an overview of how wetland ecosystems influence health — benefits such as the provision of water, as well as hazards such as exposure to infectious disease. It outlines three approaches to harnessing the benefits of wetland ecosystems for human health. These include recognising the human needs satisfied by access to wetlands, such as water, food and social cohesion; medicinal plants and other health products; and the economic value of wetlands to improving socioeconomic conditions.
The authors call for a change in wetland management perspective, better policy development, and new instruments and approaches. They recommend stronger partnerships between sectors, governments and nongovernmental organisations.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | December 2011
This report examines how agricultural research, and practices can promote gender equality, and why the distinct role of women in achieving food security must be recognised.
It gives an overview of how gender should be integrated throughout the research, development, and extension system. It explores ways of integrating gender in conducting research; designing, implementing, and adopting extension services; setting agricultural agendas; and evaluating the impact of gender equity initiatives.
The authors review evidence on the significance of gender issues, and present a conceptual framework that links different contributors to the agricultural innovation cycle. They discuss the data needed to inform gender-sensitive decisions and priority-setting, and argue that agricultural researchers must be attuned to gender issues in how technologies are developed and adopted. Each chapter provides a summary of findings and recommendations.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report, which is part of the UN Foresight Initiative, describes the 21 most pressing emerging global environmental issues — those recognised as very important to well-being by the scientific community, but are not yet receiving enough attention from the policymakers. These cover a range of themes, from food security to biodiversity, energy and technology.
One of the most important cross-cutting issues identified in the report is the need to rethink international environmental governance. Other areas in need of improvement include the science–policy interface, and coping with incremental damage to the environment.
Improving food security in light of changing climate is also high on the list of priorities, with the report suggesting a need for more comprehensive early warning systems, support for smallholder farmers, efforts to reduce food waste and increasing agricultural efficiency. Other issues highlighted include managing the impacts of glacial retreat; improving ocean governance; accelerating the implementation of renewable energy systems; and considering the environmental implications of nuclear reactor decommissioning.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report describes trends in the use of key resources such as water, food and biodiversity in Asia and the Pacific, and what this means for economies. It was produced by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the Asian Development Bank and the UN Environment Programme.
The report highlights how policy has changed over the past few years, driven by rising demand for resources and by climate change, and presents data on patterns of resource-intensive growth in the region. It outlines key policy actions for sustainable economic growth; and recommends strategies to improve the resilience of societies and economies, including changes in governance. The final section highlights the report's implications for the two themes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization | December 2011
This report examines the challenges of managing water resources for agricultural use — specifically in the context of food production — in the face of a changing climate. It provides an overview of climate change impacts in different parts of the world, details options for adaptation and mitigation, and offers practical recommendations on how developing countries can cope with these impacts.
The report outlines methods to assess impacts on water and agriculture, and stresses that water and agricultural policies must be more closely aligned. It concludes with suggestions for action to help countries in carrying out such assessments and adapting agricultural water management. These include using methods such as decision analysis to improve predictions; developing and applying downscaling techniques to build capacity for better analyses and climate adaptation; and coordinating analyses of the level of investment required for different solutions.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
This report presents a global overview of the role of livestock in nutrition and food security, and discusses ways of meeting the expected increase in demand for livestock as a source of food with limited resources. It examines how livestock contributes to food security in three population groups — livestock-dependent societies, small-scale mixed farmers and urban dwellers — and the main challenges they face in producing enough food.
The first section of the report discusses how livestock contributes to food security, including economic factors that affect the choice of foods, and the stability of livestock food supplies. The second section examines the contribution of livestock as a source of food in each population group, and the last part of the report looks to future prospects for producing enough food in the context of risks such as water shortages. It concludes that careful management of livestock food systems will be key in building a stable livestock food supply to meet future needs.
Source: Center for Global Development | September 2011
This report presents findings from the first randomised evaluation of a cash transfer programme delivered using mobile phones. The study investigated the effect of mobile phone technology on monthly cash transfers to households in Niger that were affected by a severe drought.
Villages that received cash in this way, known as 'zap', saw benefits such as reduced costs of receiving cash, more diverse purchases and diets, and more types of crops. This, suggest the authors, is down to the zap mechanism encouraging different decision-making in the household, as well as due to lower costs and greater privacy.
They conclude that mobile transfers are a cost-effective way of transferring cash to remote rural populations, especially those with limited road and financial infrastructure, but caution that more research is needed on broader effects on the welfare of these populations.
Source: United Nations Environment Management Group | October 2011
This report outlines the first coherent strategy drawn up by the UN to address dryland management, taking into account environmental concerns and the well-being of dryland communities. It examines the relationship between drylands and climate change, food security and livelihoods, and highlights ways in which the UN is working to mainstream drylands into policymaking processes.
Climate change is already having an impact on crop yields and nutrition in areas that rely on rain-fed agriculture, according to the report, and these impacts will intensify by 2020 in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. The impacts of climate change may be most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, suggesting that those already vulnerable will be affected the most.
A key message is that the international community has an opportunity to address the underlying causes of dryland degradation. The report concludes that global cooperation must be intensified if the ten-year strategic plan of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification — whose aim is to tackle desertification and degradation — and the Millennium Development Goals are to be achieved.