GFIA Focuses on Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture
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To help meet the goal of increasing agricultural production while minimizing environmental damage, the 2nd Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) met to showcase sustainable agriculture innovations and solutions.

The forum featured, inter alia: a Global Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Summit; a solutions conference on ‘Food Losses and Waste Initiative: From Prevention to Valorisation'; a two-day conference on ICT for Sustainable Agriculture; a session on ‘Edible Cities: Building Resilience with Urban Agriculture'; and an Innovations Programme, with sessions on agribusiness, water, mechanization, renewable energy and agroforestry.

gfia11 March 2015: To help meet the goal of increasing agricultural production while minimizing environmental damage, the 2nd Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) met to showcase sustainable agriculture innovations and solutions. The forum featured, inter alia: a Global Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Summit; a solutions conference on ‘Food Losses and Waste Initiative: From Prevention to Valorisation’; a two-day conference on ICT for Sustainable Agriculture; a session on ‘Edible Cities: Building Resilience with Urban Agriculture’; and an Innovations Programme, with sessions on agribusiness, water, mechanization, renewable energy and agroforestry.

In a keynote address to the Forum, Naoko Ishii, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO, said the GEF is launching an integrated food security programme in Africa to help smallholders manage their natural capital in a sustainable manner. She explained that the GEF will also support all levels of government to strengthen policies and institutional frameworks that promote smallholder agricultural production. She called for a paradigm shift in agricultural development that places natural capital at “the heart of investment decisions” for sustainability and resilience.

At the Forum, CGIAR Consortium CEO Frank Rijsberman chaired a high-level panel during the CSA Summit, stressing the need for universal adoption of CSA approaches, advocating for a ‘systems research’ holistic approach to tackle climate change, and stating that climate-smart solutions can deliver multiple benefits, such as reducing hunger and poverty while improving resilience to climate change and protecting natural resources.

Also at the CSA Summit, Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), addressed a session on ‘Financing CSA,’ highlighting the important role that plant genetic resources play in sustaining agricultural production and providing ‘insurance’ against threats, such as climate change. He emphasized that food crop diversity must be maintained in order to counter the adverse impacts of climate change.

During a session on landscape restoration, panelists spoke about a range of global, regional and national initiatives. They discussed, inter alia: the need for a “whole-systems approach” to restore degraded lands, where all sectors work together; women’s equality as key to increasing agricultural productivity; the need for research to better understand trade-offs related to land restoration, land-use dynamics, the influence of policies and incentives, and landscape approaches to natural resource management; the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology, developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); improving crop forecasting to reduce uncertainty; and using mapping for food security and natural resources planning.

The 2nd GFIA was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 9-11 March 2015, showcasing sustainable agriculture solutions and hosting over 3,000 participants. The 1st GFIA was held in February 2014, also in Abu Dhabi. [GFIA 2015 Website] [CGIAR Press Release] [ITPGRFA News] [GEF CEO Address to Forum] [World Agroforestry Centre Blog]

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