Climate Change and Food Security

International conference in Beijing organized by IFPRI and CAAS
November 3, 2011

Climate change experts from an influential bloc of developing countries known as BRICS—expected to play a key role in upcoming global climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa—will gather in China next week to present new research on the impact of climate change on food security.

Representatives of BRICS--Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa--and the United States and Indonesia, will present simulations about potential future weather and crop production changes based on sophisticated climate models at the International Conference on Climate Change and Food Security (ICCCFS), organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). They will also provide policy recommendations that BRICS agricultural ministers can use to craft mitigation and adaptation strategies.

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“This is the first time that leading scientists from the most important countries in the climate change negotiations will be meeting together and reporting on the food security and climate change issues—including human wellbeing, calorie availability, and child malnutrition—for their countries,” said senior IFPRI researcher Gerald Nelson.

Researchers who will present papers and lead sessions at the three-day conference include: Elisio Contini from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), Sergey Kiselev from Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Nuno Rusono from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Sikhalazo Dube from the South Africa's Agricultural Research Council (ARC), and Gene Takle from Iowa State University. Huang Tang of CAAS and Gerald Nelson from IFPRI will also attend and present.

The Beijing conference follows a late October meeting of BRICS agricultural ministers, during which they discussed progress on their 2010 pledge to jointly bolster food security in the bloc. Among other measures, the agreement, the Moscow Declaration, calls for the development of strategies to ensure access to food for vulnerable populations, reduce the negative impact of climate change on food security, and boost adaptation of agriculture to climate change.

Research presented at ICCCFS will inform these efforts, which will likely influence the bloc’s agenda at the climate change negotiations in Durban late this month. Commentators expect that BRICS will make agriculture a talking point at the global climate change treaty negotiations. Despite its key role as an emitter and potential mitigator of greenhouse gas emissions, the sector has not been substantially included in recent climate agreements—the Cancun Agreements, reached on December 11 at least year’s negotiations only mentioned the sector in a footnote.

In addition to delivering messages for use in Durban, the ICCFS, which takes place November 6-8, will also provide seasoned researchers with the opportunity to share information on climate change, adaptation, mitigation, and food security. For more information, visit the conference website: