Summary: Launched in June 2022 by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and the U.S. Agency for International Food and Agricultural Development (USAID), the subcommittee will lead transdisciplinary evidence gathering to advise BIFAD with independent recommendations to improve USAID programming and strategies. The subcommittee is envisioned to support USAID's role in accelerating systems change and transformative climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches in agriculture, food systems and nutrition, and in targeting climate finance to benefit smallholder farmers. Subcommittee members bring a breadth of expertise across disciplines, diversity of views, and organizational perspectives to tackle the greatest challenge to food security. The subcommittee members' bios can be found here.

BIFAD Subcommittee Members on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation in Agricultural, Nutrition, and Food Systems

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Context: The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report illustrated that climate change already has a widespread impact, that those impacts are intensifying, and that we, as a global community, need to act quickly to avoid the most severe consequences. The IPCC found that higher temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and sea-level rise will reduce the living standards of hundreds of millions of people globally, many of whom depend on agriculture, including fisheries, for their livelihoods. At the same time, agriculture and food systems are responsible for one third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The urgency of the accelerating climate change crisis is further underscored when evaluating the impacts of climate change on health, food security, and peace and security. The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change stresses that this crisis “will disproportionately affect people who are the most vulnerable and those already facing undernutrition.” The data show that extreme weather events often quickly escalate food insecurity and drive displacement and conflict. Furthermore, the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land highlights the complicated relationships among land use, climate change, natural resource management, and conservation, which present both opportunities for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The recently released USAID Climate Strategy 2022–2030 outlines the Agency’s vision to achieve “‘a resilient, prosperous, and equitable world with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.” BIFAD’s thought leadership and ability to convene the U.S. university and research communities, along with international partners, positions the Board to develop evidence-based recommendations on how to accelerate climate change action in programs aimed at safeguarding agricultural productivity, inclusive food systems changes, and poverty- and malnutrition-reduction objectives. Advised by the subcommittee, BIFAD will convene public meeting(s) and commission a study authored by experts on approaches for mitigation and adaptation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems and innovations in climate finance in support of agriculture, food security, and nutrition.

Objectives: The subcommittee effort will inform priority focus areas in USAID’s research portfolio and will summarize evidence about the  interlinkages among climate change, food security, poverty and malnutrition reduction in developing countries, natural resource management, and land-use planning. The subcommittee’s work responds to two key objectives:

  • Objective 1: BIFAD Recommendations to support USAID’s Role in Accelerating Systems Change and Transformative Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Approaches in Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition, in line with the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy, 2022–2026, USAID’s Climate Strategy, 2022–2030, and other sectoral policies.

  • Objective 2: BIFAD Recommendations to Support USAID's Role in Targeting Climate Finance to Benefit Smallholder farmers.

How to Connect with this Work: The subcommittee will engage experts from around the world through key informant interviews and public meetings in summer and fall 2022 and will guide implementation of a commissioned study to inform its work and recommendations. Sign up for updates of upcoming meetings at this link. Or contact the team to share relevant publications or recommended key informants:

Clara Cohen, BIFAD Executive Director:

Rahel Diro, BIFAD Subcommittee Advisor:

Carmen Benson, BIFAD Senior Counselor:

BIFAD Climate Change Subcommittee