Monday, October 31, 2011

Climate-Smart Agriculture Conference Adopts Wageningen Statement

26 October 2011: The Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture brought together scientists from 38 countries to take stock of the current state of global knowledge on science and best practices on climate-smart agriculture, and to identify key priorities and efficient ways to implement interventions.

The conference, which took place in Wageningen, the Netherlands, from 24-26 October 2011, focused on: enhancing food production while reducing emissions; overcoming barriers to climate-smart agriculture; and managing volatility and risk through technological and socioeconomic options.

The event concluded with the adoption of "The Wageningen Statement: Climate-Smart Agriculture - Science for Action," which acknowledges the challenges of addressing food security, poverty eradication, and climate change adaptation and mitigation in the context of a growing world population. It notes that many of the techniques used in climate-smart agriculture are based on proven techniques, such as mulching, intercropping, integrated pest and disease management, conservation agriculture and forecasting. The statement urges increased farm and landscape level research, education, extension and innovation through sustainable intensification, integrated scientific approaches, breeding priorities for 2030, and national decision policies to overcome barriers to climate-smart agriculture. The statement also calls on stakeholders to contribute to platforms to improve dialogue on policies and practices for climate-smart agriculture, including financing early action on proven technologies and practices to drive change in agricultural production systems.

The meeting was a follow-up to the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010, which was organized to follow-up the Shared Vision Statement agreed to at the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-17) in May 2009, and to further develop the agriculture, food security and climate change agenda. The 2011 meeting was co-organized by the World Bank and supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). More

Safar stresses significance of Arab food security

Oct 30 Kuwait's Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Dr. Fadhil Safar asserted here on Sunday the importance of food security, describing it as one of the most pressing issues that require appropriate solutions in order to secure a stable and prosperous life for Arabs.

Safar, in a speech marking the start of the 39th meeting of the Executive Council of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development organized by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources, expressed hope in achieving goals and reaching the level of expectations for coordination and cooperation among Arab countries in the field of agriculture.
He highlighted the importance of achieving sustainable Arab agricultural development, which requires ambitious programs, plans and a clear strategy implemented on the ground to meet the needs and requirements of people in the Arab region.
He said that there are a number of important issues on the agenda, which include a review of programs, projects and agricultural activities that have been implemented during the 38th session or will be implemented for the current session of the Executive Council.
He added that "this requires all of us to pass the necessary recommendations and to take appropriate decisions, particularly with respect to these programs, projects and activities that will be implemented, stressing the importance of providing scientific data and technology to ensure the implementation of the functions of sustainable agricultural development in all Arab countries.
Safar, on behalf of Kuwait, praised the tireless efforts of the Director General of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, Dr. Tariq ibn Musa al-Zadjali and Chairman of the Organization's Executive Board, Dr. Fahd bin Abdulrahman Al-Ghoneim, in their efforts to attain the desired integration between the meeting Arab states. More

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Water emergencies grip Tuvalu & Tokelau

As governments and aid agencies scramble to deliver desalination plants and bottled water to drought stricken Pacific Island nations of Tuvalu and Tokelau, other Pacific Island nations - Samoa and the Cook Islands - are preparing for a similar fate.
Is this band-aid approach to solving this problem going to be enough?

Redina Auina, spokeswoman for the Tuvalu Faith Based Youth network, who partner with, is in Tuvalu and describes the feelings of people as they face the reality of less than 5 days of drinkable water in the nations capital, Funafuti --
Experts say the past 12 months have been the second driest in Funafuti's 78 years of records. While we do not make any claims to it being solely a climate change related event, the reality is that the line between what is normal climatic variation and what might be extremes resulting from accelerated climate change is being blurred. This is particularly true for the hydrological cycle, which is sensitive to even subtle variations in the global climate and often results in either too much water, or in our case at the moment, too little. With an intense La Nina weather pattern over much of the Pacific, we’re not likely to see rain for months to come. It’s these kind of extremes that we are told will become our new reality for Tuvalu and the Pacific region as a whole. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World Food Day, 16 October 2011

Food prices - from crisis to stability

Price swings, upswings in particular, represent a major threat to food security in developing countries. Hardest-hit are the poor. According to the

World Bank, in 2010-2011 rising food costs pushed nearly 70 million people into extreme poverty.

“FOOD PRICES – FROM CRISIS TO STABILITY” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on this trend and what can be done to mitigate its impact on the most vulnerable.

On World Food Day 2011, let us look seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and do what needs to be done to reduce their impact on the weakest members of global society. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Film on Climate Refugees Strikes a Chord

During the shooting of his 2010 documentary “Climate Refugees,” the Irish-American filmmaker Michael Nash visited nearly 50 countries in about

18 months, interviewing politicians, scientists, health workers and victims of floods, cyclones, hurricanes and droughts.

Click here for film trailer

His conclusion was that short- and longer-term changes in climate are causing vast numbers of people to abandon their jobs, homes and countries to seek better lives elsewhere, or to simply survive. (Jeffrey Gettleman’s recent coverage of the Somali refugee crisis in The Times has offered some vivid and disturbing examples, although Somalia’s troubles are also inextricably linked to political turmoil.)

Mr. Nash poses a basic question: what will become of the millions of people whose lack of access to food and clean water leads them to take increasingly desperate measures? What type of strains will huge migration put on resources in more developed countries?

Will this dislocation eventually, as the retired Navy vice admiral Lee Gunn told Mr. Nash, pose a threat to Americans’ national security, too?

By focusing on the consequences of climate change rather than its scientific causes, some experts suggest that Mr. Nash succeeded in circumventing a divisive political debate over global warming and the extent to which human activity contributes to it. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands

Food Security and Climate Change: The True Cost of Carbon

With wheat prices surging as major producers are hit by droughts and other extreme weather events, it’s costing everyone more to eat

Writing on page one in the New York Times Justin Gillis recently sounded the alarm on what Lester Brown has been warning us for years: Climate change is threatening our food supply.
With fuel prices down (not much) we’d like to think the economy will settle down. But volatility in markets, food baskets, and weather are rattling many. Indeed, food, feed, and fuel prices are contributing to the growing political instability across the globe.
The summer heat engulfed towns felled by fiendish twisters. The Mighty Mississippi breached shores all along its course after being pounded by heavy rains and nourished by melting snow, the hangover from a brutal winter. The hundred-year floods inundated homes, homesteads, and farms, taking a toll on communities and commodities.

The wide swings in weather were matched by major outlier events. All of us experienced the shifting weather patterns. This is the new norm. And as the climate changes, the extremes are proving especially costly for global food security. More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands