International Workshop on “Climate Change and Food Security”

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					International Workshop on “Climate Change and Food Security” Cairo, Egypt, 10-17 April 2009

Climate change is one of the major global concerns. There is a common perception that global climate change is simply global warming. But global warming refers to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans. Climate change is the change in weather patterns in a given region that are occurring because of an increase in the earth's average temperature. Weather is the day-to-day local condition of the lower atmosphere at a particular place and time, in terms of temperature, precipitation, wind patterns, cloud cover, air pressure, etc. Climate gives a big picture, e.g; the weather over a larger area, like a province, a country or the world. Global climate change is, in fact, an integrated system of several atmospheric phenomena and their products. At the surface, concentrations of greenhouse or radiative gases such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, methane and nitrous oxide have clearly increased since the onset of the industrial revolution. These trace gases lead to warming the surface air temperature by trapping some of the energy from the outgoing radiation. In addition, these trace gases, when transported into the stratosphere (10-15 km above the surface), destroy the beneficial ozone layer naturally present at that height. Such a loss in the thickness or thinning of the ozone layer will permit the increased penetration to the surface of deleterious wavelengths of solar radiation (Ultraviolet or UV [B- band], 280-315 nanometers, 1 nanometer = one billionth of meter), with much concern for consequent increases in the incidence of melanoma or skin cancer. It is predicted that during this century, we are likely to see a rise in the global mean temperature in the range of 1.3 degree Celsius - 4.5 degree Celsius. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (2001), the average global air temperature is projected to rise from 1.4 o C to 5.8o C by the year 2100. Climate change being a very complex issue has made it imperative for the policymakers to have an objective source of information about the causes of climate change, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences and the adaptation and mitigation options to respond to it. It led the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. The findings of the first IPCC Assessment Report of 1990 played a decisive role in leading to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was opened for signature in the Rio de Janeiro Summit in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. IPCC provides the overall policy framework for addressing the climate change issue. The IPCC continues to be a major source of information for the negotiations under the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol.


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines “climate change” as “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods”. (Ref: IPCC: 16th year of Scientific Assessment in Support of the Climate Convention, December 2004). Climate change is one of the gravest catastrophes in the history of mankind, posing a threat to both present and future generations. The rate at which the planet is warming is possibly the single biggest challenge to ever face the humanity. The increasing global temperature will cause the retreat of glaciers, sea levels to rise, change in the amount and pattern of precipitation, likely expansion of the subtropical desert regions, an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events, extinction of species, increases in the ranges of disease vectors, changes in agricultural yields and its trade, etc. Thus, these changes would directly affect agriculture, forestry and fishery. They would have an impact not only on human health and bio-diversity but would also inevitably impact the industry. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for most poor rural people, and the human activity is most directly affected by climate change. The effects of climate change on agriculture in the developing countries are clearly evident. With climate changes in future, natural calamities (drought, flood, forest fire, fluctuation in rainfall pattern, etc.) will be a serious threat to human survival due to growing imbalances in demand and supply of foods. Moreover, if food plants (cultivated and wild species) are utilized for the production of renewable liquid bio-fuel, there would be enormous changes in agro-ecosystems, destabilizing the natural balance and leading to lower productivity of food crops. Moreover, the ever-increasing population in the developing and less developed countries is also a major constraint. With the predicted rise in world‟s population from 6.5 billion to 9.1 billion by 2050, climate change is expected to put 49 million extra people at risk of hunger by 2020, and 132 mi llion by 2050. In view of increasing world‟s population and growing demand for food, cereal production will have to increase by nearly 50 percent and meat production by 85 percent from 2000 to 2030 (Ref: Rural Poverty Portal, 2008 at The World Bank estimates (2008) that agriculture and deforestation account for 26 to 35 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, agriculture and forestry can play a key role in tackling climate change. Afforestation and reforestation, better land management practices such as conservation tillage and agro forestry, rehabilitation of degraded crop and pasture land and better livestock management practices can all contribute significantly to reducing carbon emissions. (Ref: Rural Poverty Portal, 2008 at In view of the above cited facts, it is predicted that the impacts of climate change would be aggravated in the developing countries of Afro-Asian region, whose economies are closely tied to climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, and which are already facing multiple stresses due to population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and globalization. These impacts include

desertification, sea level rise, reduced freshwater availability, cyclones, coastal erosion, deforestation, loss of forest quality, woodland degradation, coral bleaching, the spread of diseases and impacts on food security. In the tropics and subtropics, where some crops are already near their maximum temperature tolerance and where rain fed agriculture dominates, yields are likely to decrease for even small changes in climate, which could lead to increased risk of hunger. Often, the poorest in rural areas occupy the most marginal lands, and this forces people to rely on highly vulnerable livelihoods in areas prone to drought, floods and other hazards. Climate change is thus a major factor in redefining the world food equation that would have an enormous impact on the food security of poor people. It is directly or indirectly attributed to the human activities and puts additional pressure on already overexploited natural resources. Further, weaker financial mechanisms and inefficient technical resources in most of the developing countries in the region are the major impediments in effectively combating the natural disasters. Therefore, in view of the adverse impacts of the climate change, effective actions are imperative to prevent the resultant vast economic damages and deteriorating food security. To overcome the challenges of climate change, the international community has agreed on four building blocks which include adaptation, mitigation, technology and finance. In this situation, the roles of the governments of suffering countries, and international and regional organizations through their concerted endeavors and public-private partnership are of paramount importance and could be of great help in addressing the problems and overcoming the challenges of climate change and its impact on food security. With this backdrop, Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) decided to organize an international workshop on “Climate Change and Food Security” in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop will be organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to be represented by the Egyptian International Centre for Agriculture (EICA) and the Desert Research Centre (DRC), Cairo. It will provide a forum to bring together policy planners, implementers, academicians, and the representatives from various organizations to share their experiences and expertise on the related issues and come out with appropriate recommendations. The major objectives of the workshop are: Objectives  to provide a forum to share the information on climate change, its attributes, challenges, and anthropogenic responses;  to discuss the impacts of climate change on food security and review the initiatives taken by the Afro-Asian countries; and  to the deliberate on mitigation and adaptation measures and formulate policies and action plans.

However, to meet the objectives, the workshop will focus on the following theme and sub-themes: Theme: Sub-Themes: 1. Anthropogenic drivers, impacts and responses       Role of PPP The relationship between sustainable development and climate change Dealing with risks and uncertainty in decision-making Decision support tools The „public good‟ character of climate change Mainstreaming climate change into development choices “Climate Change and Food Security”

2. Observed changes in climate, effects and causes       Observations of climate change Changes in physical and biological systems Surface temperature changes Risk of catastrophic, abrupt or irreversible changes Anthropogenic GHG emissions Regional distribution of GHG emissions by population and by GDP

3. Projected effects of climate change in the near and long term  Emission scenarios  Long term outlook  Lower emissions (not necessarily associated with a reduction in the future economic growth)  Impacts on systems and sectors (agriculture, energy, food, health) 4. Climate change and impact on water (rainfall, run off and sea levels)  Projected global average surface warming and sea level rise  Projected patterns of rainfall and run off change  Regions most affected by the change 5. Mitigation and adaptation measures

        Scope

Climate change impacts on productivity of dry lands Improved management practices of dry lands to enhance food production Land degradation processes and the loss of food productivity in MENA Region Population and food security Desertification and food security How desert and new lands participate in the reduction of food gap in Egypt Adaptation to the impacts of sea level rise in Egypt Impacts of climate change on food security

The workshop will deliberate on climate change, its attributes, causes and impacts on land and water resources and their effects on food security in the Afro Asian region. Projected effects of climate change in short and long run and mitigation and adaptation measures will also be discussed in order to overcome the challenges of food security. Duration The duration of the workshop will be 8 days, including the days of arrival and departure. It will be held during the 2nd week of April 2009 (Tentative). Participation The workshop will be attended by senior government officials from AARDO member countries, representatives and resource persons from other international/regional organizations. About 25 international participants and resource persons will attend the workshop. Spouses will not be allowed to accompany the participants. Papers to be presented A. Eminent professionals/resource persons would be invited as experts from Africa and Asia to present their expert papers highlighting the experiences of their respective regions on the subject. B. The participants from the member countries will present country papers highlighting the climate changes, its impacts on food security in their respective countries and the endeavors of their country governments to overcome the emerging challenges.


Venue Egyptian International Centre for Agriculture (EICA) and Desert Research Centre (DRC), Cairo, Egypt. PREPARATION OF COUNTRY PAPERS Participants are required to prepare a country paper in the light of the sub themes (as mentioned above) of the workshop highlighting the steps being taken in their respective countries to over the challenges of climate change and food security. The participants are required to forward the soft copy of their paper along with the Abstract through e-mail to AARDO Secretariat and bring five (5) hard copies of the same with them for circulation in the workshop. The organizers will prepare additional copies. The papers should be written in the format of scientific papers with Microsoft Word. They should include abstract (150 words), references, etc. At least, a total of 5,000 words are required for a full text of the country paper. The audio-visual aide for the presentation of the paper in the power point will be available in the workshop. The participants are requested to send their papers along with Abstract to AARDO Secretariat latest by 20 March 2009 through e-mail: or EXPERT PAPERS The resource persons would be required to prepare expert papers focusing on the experiences of their respective regions in the light of the above-cited sub themes of the workshop. The expert papers may kindly be submitted to AARDO Secretariat along with Abstract latest by 20 March 2009 through e-mail: or ENTITLEMENTS a) Travel (Air Tickets)

AARDO will provide return journey air ticket (economy/excursion class), by the shortest possible route, from the capital city of participating country to Cairo, Egypt and back. Local cost, if any in the home country of the candidate (s) and any other costs during travel to Egypt and back would be met by the participants or their sponsoring authorities. AARDO will not entertain claims for reimbursement of such expenses. b) c). Board and Lodging would be arranged by the organizers. Visa Formalities

Participants must obtain visa from the Embassy of Egypt in their respective countries to enter into Egypt. The cost of the visa will be borne by the participating government. However, in case of any difficulty, please contact:

The Secretary General Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization No. 2, State Guest Houses Complex Chanakyapuri, New Delhi - 110021 (India) Telephone: 0091-11-26877783 / 24100475 Fax: 0091- 11-24672045 / 26115937 E-mail: Website: ARRANGEMENTS AT THE AIRPORT Arrangements will be made for receiving the participants at the Cairo Airport, upon arrival. IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS The immunization requirements necessary for travel to Egypt include an international vaccination certificate for Yellow Fever. Participants are advised to consult Egyptian Embassy in their respective countries for any other requirement.