The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) funded the International Conference on Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 18-20 May 2022. Dhaka University and CNRS, France, jointly organized the conference to provide a forum for the leading international scientists to exchange their research ideas and share ways of combatting climate change and its impact on the food systems in South Asia.
His Excellency Md Abdul Hamid, Honourable President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, delivered the inaugural address at the conference and emphasized the need for urgent action against threats of climate change.
Dr Mannava Sivakumar, President of the Executive Committee of the ICRISAT Alumni Association (IAA), served as the Chairman of the International Committee of the conference. He also cited key recommendations to implement programs designed to minimize the vulnerability of South Asia regions to climate change.
- Create a Climate Change and Food Security South Asia Network (CCFSSANet) and establish a South Asia Climate Outlook Forum (SACOF).
- Stimulate multi-disciplinary research on climate change and food security in South Asia and identify effective mitigation and adaptation options, including carbon sequestration in different ecosystems.
- Emphasis should be on implementing adaptation strategies such as improved livestock management, more agroforestry practices; improved forest fire control; and the development of early-warning systems and protection measures for natural disasters.
- Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) based technologies and practices present opportunities for addressing climate change challenges, including economic growth and development. Modern information and communication technologies-based approaches such as mobile phone applications can be used to provide agro-advisories and weather forecasts.
- Develop appropriate tools for climate risk management in agriculture, such as climatic risk matrices (CRM) for different crops and linking with crop simulation models to identify the viable management practices against target yield.
- Strategic approaches such as analysing historical and future climate data, co-designing the farm system for resilience and market opportunities, and establishing appropriate infrastructure and institutions to enhance adaptive capacity can also help cope with climate changes.
- A knowledge-based, multi – disciplinary, and participatory approach can be developed by initiating and strengthening cooperation among academic and research institutions, international organizations, and NGOs to provide opportunities for strengthening institutions, human resource development, and capacity building. These partnerships can undertake science-based actions, policies, market/non-market incentives, and promoting investments.
- Research on irrigation practices and technologies, drainage water management, and tools for sustainable agroecosystem management. Breeding drought-tolerant high-yielding crops should also be the focus of agricultural research systems.
- Rising uncertainties amid climate change include market price volatility during extreme weather events, accessibility and affordability; indebtedness; and pest attacks. It is essential to develop innovative financial mechanisms to scale up technical and financial support for the adaptation efforts of the South Asian countries.