Climate resilient food systems for Africa: From evidence to action

December 14, 2020

A virtual dialogue series was held in the lead up to the Climate Adaptation Summit January 2021

The challenges facing the food system, particularly in Africa are immense and the global community is not on track to meet SDG targets nor the Paris Agreement. There is need for innovation and scale up based on evidence from science as well as from practice. Digitalization provides opportunities for improved planning and implantation. Also, finance and the role of the private sector are essential to drive change.

Virtual Dialogues

Together with CCAFS, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Wageningen University & Research organized a virtual dialogue series on African climate resilient food systems. 

In this series of virtual dialogues we brought in experts from several perspectives: farmers, cooperatives, businesses, financial institutions, NGOs and governments in order to come to evidence-based policy options. Insights from WUR were matched with other perspectives. Through this we found answers that stimulate change.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Wageningen University & Research are committed to developing scientific insights for food systems and putting these insights into practice to shape sustainable food systems transformations.

This virtual dialogues series tapped into the competitive advantages of the host institutions to convene key stakeholders to catalyze evidence-based action, which builds on earlier efforts outlined.

Visual summary of key outcomes of the three virtual dialogues. Read more below.
Visual summary of key outcomes of the three virtual dialogues. Read more below.

Themes covered in the series

The three virtual dialogues will cover a range of themes: 

  • Evidence-based approaches to address food and climate crises. This will include the role of digitization, diversification, changing diets, and implications for urbanization.
  • Supporting action through guidance on ‘how to’ integrate climate change adaptation actions with the (demand-driven) developments sparked by COVID-19 response and recovery. This will include an emphasis on monitoring of results.
  • Promoting market development by sharing insights from investing in and supporting scale-up of climate resilient business models (including digital, data tech, impact investing, sectoral development efforts).
  • Identify opportunities to align efforts to transform food and agriculture in the lead up to the Climate Adaptation Summit, UN Food Systems Summit, and COP26.
  • Transforming innovation systems, to develop seamless innovation systems for the continent, characterized by end to end solutions from the research community supporting food systems transformations (including the role of the IPAF).
  • Offering user perspectives on lessons drawn from action research and projects for climate resilience.

Summary of key outcomes

To ensure a prosperous future for African food systems, we must accelerate adaptation across the continent through partnerships that make them more resilient to a changing climate.

Through our dialogues, thousands of voices called for three priority actions that can put African economies and societies on this more climate-resilient path. The Climate Adaptation Summit, the UN Food Systems Summit and COP26 must together deliver new commitments on all three:

  1. Innovation brokers must empower adaptation: To speed up climate adaptation that's based on compelling scientific evidence of what works.
  2. Digital disruptors must catalyse adaptation: The digitalisation of commerce and public services can make policymaking, business planning and solutions for climate adaptation more targeted and effective, and vastly improve the quality of data available to evaluate outcomes.
  3. Investors must rethink the risks in adaptation: Private finance is crucial in accelerating adaptation, but investors must develop new risk profiles, with better understanding of the challenges - and opportunities - of investing in African food systems.