As more and more organizations in Asia undertake initiatives to address the consequences of a warming climate, our knowledge about climate change and how it affects agriculture in various countries has become vast. But the challenge – especially for decision makers in governments, businesses, and development institutions – is how to sift through this information and ensure that their plans are based on scientific evidence that is relevant to them.
The Climate Policy Hub, hosted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)’s regional office in Hanoi, addresses this by generating robust evidence for countries across Asia, to assist in policy development and investment decisions related to mitigating and adapting to climate change.
“Governments in Asia all have an express desire to effectively and efficiently address the effects of climate change in agriculture,” says Dr. Dindo Campilan, CIAT’s Asia Director. “The information generated by the Climate Policy Hub will help direct them towards the most effective and cost-efficient actions.
“As a regional knowledge hub, it will also help research and development organizations and businesses by providing relevant and detailed information on the challenges and opportunities that climate change will bring. As an interface between scientific work and decision-making, it will offer a way for governments/businesses to interact with scientists.”
(Panel discussion about the role of science in policymaking during the Climate Policy Hub launch. Pictured l-r: Godefroy Grosjean, CIAT; Do Thanh Chung, Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung; Koos Neefjes; Alicia Ilaga, Philippine Department of Agriculture; Chu Van Chuong, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Fabien Monteils, UN-REDD Programme)
According to Campilan, the first step for countries is to know exactly where and how agricultural production is vulnerable to climate change, to know which climate-smart practices already exist in-country, and to gain insights into what is needed in terms of policy and investment support to scale-up some of these, or introduce new ones. The suite of services offered by the Climate Policy Hub includes agro-ecosystems diagnoses, mapping and modeling exercises, and economic and policy analyses.
Together with national partners and development organizations, CIAT is already preparing a number of climate change ‘country profiles’ for Asia. These assess a country’s vulnerability to climate change, as well as the opportunities and capacity to adapt. The first countries to be profiled are Vietnam, Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. The ‘country profiles’ are expected to be completed by June this year.
CIAT is also working with private sector decision makers and buyers of high-value perennial crops in the region to help ensure that their sourcing strategies account for issues of long-term resilience of smallholder suppliers in the face of climate change. This entails spatial identification of exposure to risk and the subsequent risks, including issues such as pest and disease outbreaks, and deforestation. This will enable the design of tailored portfolios of climate-smart practices, which prioritize benefits to farmers. On this work CIAT is supporting global cocoa and coffee companies in Vietnam and Indonesia.
“We recognize that information is only the first step,” continued Dr. Campilan. “The bigger work will be in effecting changes – from products grown, to farming practices, to how institutions and organizations operate. And all these changes require a certain level of investment, especially if they are to be implemented on a massive scale – which is what’s needed in order to make an impact. The Climate Policy Hub is ready to support this, from helping secure the investments required to make climate-smart actions take off, all the way to implementation.”
The Climate Policy Hub was launched during CIAT’s 50th anniversary celebrations in the Asia regional office in Hanoi on April 04, 2017. At the celebrations, CIAT and national and development partners from around the region looked back at the success of CIAT’s 40 years of work in Asia aimed at improving smallholder farming through innovative agricultural science. A ‘sustainable food future’ fair, featuring exhibitions, interactive activities, including panel discussions on various topics, and regional foods also marked the occasion.