In order to identify moving and driving forces for action and to provide methods and tools for practice, policy and investment, the following central issues will be considered:
Metrics to address jointly food security and climate change dimensions are still unclear both in the scientific literature and in action plans developed by agencies and by governments. Developing a common understanding of these metrics is required to guide CSA strategies. Such metrics are at the core of the scientific basis for action, enabling firstly to identify CSA practices and then to measure their impacts in a consistent way on the three pillars (food security, adaptation, mitigation) as well as on sustainability.
Uncertainties and risks
Climate change impacts on agricultural supply chains and on food systems are not linear and involve multiple interactions between social, political and biophysical systems. Both climatic extremes and high end climate change scenarios involve risks of nonlinearities and of tipping points that may reduce the resilience of social-ecological systems and strongly affect food security. Identifying such risks, their associated uncertainties, and the benefits expected from climate smart strategies is required. In addition, improved means for communicating risks and uncertainties to policy-makers and stakeholders need to be investigated.
Synergies and tradeoffs
Improved policies and rules are needed to maximize the synergies and minimize the tradeoffs between the three pillars of CSA: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions while increasing carbon sequestration. Further understanding of the key processes leading to synergies and trade-offs between these pillars is required, also taking into account: i) the large diversity of agricultural and food systems, ii) the potential for leakage and for negative side-effects outside the system studied and iii) the risks for long-term maladaptation and for reduced resilience.
Economics and low hanging fruits
The analysis will focus on the following questions for public and private investors: Where to invest in order to obtain the best leverage? What will be the impact of a given investment on the three pillars of CSA? When, where and how to act for a given objective? What can be the mix of instruments for public policies, including instruments cutting across the land sector (agriculture, forestry and landscapes)?
Barriers, drivers and incentives
It is well known that although actions with zero or negative cost may exist, their adoption will require overcoming multiple barriers, e.g. through better information, decision support and capacity building. The analysis of barriers for action has therefore to be completed by the design of decision-support tools, integrating different aspects of a given regional/sub-regional/national/local context. Interdisciplinary cross-scale scientific work and policy analyses are therefore needed.
Updated: 10 March 2015