Food Systems At Risk

Transformative Adaptation for Long-Term Food Security

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Chapter 6

Conclusions and Way Forward

Countries around the world made a commitment to end hunger and to achieve climate-resilient, low-carbon development when they signed on to the Paris Agreement in December 2015 and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development in January 2016.

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Since then, there has been a notable increase in the global commitment to scale up climate change adaptation action, including through the Global Commission on Adaptation—fueled, in part, by increasingly dire climate projections brought to light in the IPCC Global Warming of 1.5°C report (IPCC 2019) and other analyses, as well as the real devastation being wrought by climate change–induced wildfires, floods, storms, and droughts.

Our understanding of how climate change will push human and natural systems across thresholds, including those that determine the viability of current food systems, has improved markedly. However, the vast majority of adaptation funding is currently allocated to incremental interventions likely to fall short of their goal of preserving key systems despite climate change impacts.

While still not complete, we do have sufficient understanding to begin taking specific steps to fill in knowledge and funding gaps and get on with building the long-term resilience of smallholder farmers and their communities through transformative approaches to adaptation. These include:

  1. expanding research and development to make climate risks visible and engaging farmers, herders, and fishers in identifying transformative solutions for building long-term resilience;
  2. integrating transformative approaches to adaptation into planning processes; and/or
  3. enhancing finance to mobilize funds and resources to accelerate transformative adaptation.

This report has suggested ways in which research organizations, governments, and funding entities can each play a crucial part in building long-term resilience by fostering systemic change where and when it will be needed. Additional research on related topics is needed, which could include the following:

  • Further exploration and more detailed mapping of how the private sector can invest in transformative adaptation and harness various types of financial tools and investments (e.g., impact investing) to transform food systems for long-term resilience
  • Context-specific assessments of how to plan and implement transformative adaptation solutions and pathways
  • Greater understanding of climate change impacts on aquaculture and fisheries and whether, where, and how transformative adaptation might be applied to them
  • How consumer tastes and preferences can be tapped into and shifted to make transformative adaptation more economically attractive
  • Deeper analysis of how planning for and implementing transformative adaptation approaches can be made more participatory and inclusive to better incorporate the perspectives and address the needs of women, youth, people living in poverty, and other marginalized groups
  • Ways global climate and economic scenario planning can be used to map out transformative pathways, including how to build the capacity of national agricultural research systems to engage in long-term planning
  • The extent to which transformative approaches to adaptation are mentioned in enhanced NDCs and NAPs, to include case studies of best practices for both
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