Climate Resilient Food Systems (CRFS)

This CRFS Alliance provides a platform for achieving climate resilient food systems by synergizing efforts across the different actors who are part of the alliance. The mission of the alliance is to join forces to accelerate action towards climate resilient, sustainable, equitable and inclusive food systems in a coherent manner, focusing on the most vulnerable countries and regions, in particular arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), small island developing States (SIDS), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) and least developed countries (LDCs).

The main themes under this alliance are:

  • Climate adaptation, mitigation, and resilience;
  • Climate Risk Reduction and Risk Management;
  • Integrating resilience in international and national policy plans and initiatives;
  • Nexus approach to Water-Food-Energy;
  • Resilience Frontiers initiative.

Science based evidence to prioritize this coalition

Climate-related impacts, ranging from floods to heatwaves and wildfires, are projected to increasingly impact food security and nutrition and disrupt food systems (IPCC, 2021; Fanzo et al, 2018; Al-Delaimy et al, 2020). Indeed, agriculture and other aspects of food security, as well as water, biodiversity and ecosystems, health systems, infrastructure (in particular energy, transportation and tourism) and loss of territory, livelihoods and habitats are identified as areas of particular concern from climate risks and impacts in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCC (UNFCCC NDC Synthesis Report 2021). Similarly, adaptation of agriculture and food security is an utmost priority identified by countries in their NDCs, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), and National Communications, with a wide range of related actions.

Unsustainable food systems aggravate water scarcity, cause deforestation, degrade soils and contribute 19-29% of global greenhouse gas emissions (Vermeulen et al, 2012). Mitigation options in agriculture (relating for e.g. to cropland management, livestock management, management of organic soils, land use change, improving energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy) therefore have significant potential to lower farm emissions while also contributing to cost savings and thus increasing farm profitability (Frelih-Larsen and Dooley 2020).

Integrating resilience in the food systems in international frameworks and national policies, plans and initiatives is increasingly crucial to deliver more sustainable, inclusive, resilient and equitable food systems, and in ensuring that different actors and stakeholders adopt systemic approaches to confronting climate change related challenges. The integrating framework for NAPs and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) follows a systems’ approach to coordinating the different entry points or aspects (e.g. climate hazards, sectors, actors, development goals and scale) of the adaptation planning cycle. This helps to manage coherence between the NAPs, SDGs, the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction, and other frameworks, whilst promoting nexus approaches. Similarly, Climate Risk Reduction and Management (CRRM) is gaining traction and focuses on actions to mitigate the impacts of climate variability and climate-driven disasters deploying climate information solutions to trigger action, programming, relief, and finance.

Agriculture is the largest user (70%) of freshwater. The food supply chain also accounts for 30% of global energy use (Willet et al, 2019). Over 80% of smallholder farmers in low to middle income countries (LMICs) produce food in water scarce areas (Ricciardi et al, 2020). The Water-Food-Energy (WFE) Nexus approach offers opportunities to build resilient systems, harmonize interventions, and manage trade-offs, especially in fragile contexts (Wymann von Dach, 2019).

Future food systems are threatened by present practices including lack of regenerative, sustainable and resilient food generation; inaccessibility and inadequacy of healthy and nutritious food; unhealthy production practices which include industrial production and monoculture, lack of respect for indigenous knowledge and practices, and overexploitation of resources resulting in soil degradation and water resources depletion. The Resilience Frontiers initiative pathway on regenerative food production addresses the perils facing future food security and sustainability through foresight methodologies that prioritize forward-looking actions that are innovative, regenerative, and driven by frontier technologies.

Mechanisms of implementation

Supporting Member States in transforming towards climate resilient food systems by promoting the integration and subsequent implementation of actions into national strategies, policies and plans such as NDCs, NAPs, national food strategies and plans, etc.; facilitating access to finance, technology and innovation; promoting multi-risk management approaches; and promoting gender and social inclusion and participatory, deliberative, approaches to address power differences among actors. Supporting coordination of partners at multiple levels, in country and across countries, building on existing structures and mechanisms as much as possible, but also seeking new avenues for collaboration (governments, private sector, SMEs, NGOs and international actors). Facilitating access to climate and food systems related data and analytics, including by promoting coordination and shared efforts to improve access to climate and food systems related data, analytics and metrics, and sharing relevant knowledge and case studies. Facilitating linkages with other alliances, SDG processes, and partnerships, to coordinate efforts, leverage expertise and promote synergies. Promoting advocacy, communication and outreach, including at relevant global events, to fill knowledge gaps, in particular through support to knowledge platforms and the improvement of latest digital advances.

Strategic partners

Member States currently engaged or participating in the alliance’s initiatives

Australia, Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Bissau, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cote Denmark, Dominican d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, EU, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea Haiti, India, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lucia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, São Tome’ and Principe, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Tuvalu, UAE, Uganda, UK, Uruguay, USA, USA, Zimbabwe.

United Nations Organizations and Others currently part of the alliance:

  • UNFCCC, WFP, FAO, UNDRR, ICCAD, SHE Foundation, Club of Rome, World Bank.

Prospective partners from intergovernmental and other organizations are also being approached. A list will be available in this section soon.

Indicators and targets

  • Section coming soon

References

  1. IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson- Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.
  2. Webb, P., Benton, T. G., Beddington, J., Flynn, D., Kelly, N. M., & Thomas, S. M. (2020). The urgency of food system transformation is now irrefutable. Nature Food. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-00161-0
  3. Davis, K. F., Downs, S., & Gephart, J. A. (2021). Towards food supply chain resilience to environmental shocks. Nature Food, 2(1), 54–65. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-00196-3
  4. Fanzo, J., Davis, C., McLaren, R., & Choufani, J. (2018). The effect of climate change across food systems: Implications for nutrition outcomes. Global Food Security, 18(January), 12–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2018.06.001
  5. Al-Delaimy, Wael, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, and M. S. S. (2020). Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility. Springer Nature.
  6. Vermeulen, S. J., Campbell, B. M., & Ingram, J. S. I. (2012). Climate Change and Food Systems. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 37(1), 195–222. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-020411-130608
  7. Willett,W., Rockström, J., Loken, B., Springmann, M., Lang, T., Vermeulen, S., et al. (2019). Food in the Anthropocene: The EAT–lancet commission on healthy diets from sustainable foodsystems. The Lancet, 393(10170), 447–492. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(18)31788-4.
  8. Ricciardi, V., Wane, A., Sidhu, B., Godde, C., Solomon, D., McCullough, E., et al. (2020). A scoping review of research funding for small-scale farmers in water scarce regions. Nature Sustainability, 3(10), 836–844. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-00623-0.
  9. Travis, W. R., & Bates, B. (2014). What is climate risk management? Climate Risk Management, 1, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crm.2014.02.003
  10. Wymann von Dach, S. & Fleiner, R. 2019. Shaping the water– energy–food nexus for resilient mountain livelihoods. Issue Brief on Sustainable Mountain Development. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), with Bern Open Publishing (BOP). http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/mountain_partnership/docs/Issue_Brief_Mountain_WEF_Nexus.pdf
  11. Nasrollahi, H.; Shirazizadeh, R.; Shirmohammadi, R.; Pourali, O.; Amidpour, M. Unraveling the Water-Energy- Food-Environment Nexus for Climate Change Adaptation in Iran: Urmia Lake Basin Case-Study. Water 2021, 13, 1282. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091282
  12. Denton, F., T.J. Wilbanks, A.C. Abeysinghe, I. Burton, Q. Gao, M.C. Lemos, T. Masui, K.L. O’Brien, and K. Warner, 2014: Climate-resilient pathways: adaptation, mitigation, and sustainable development. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros,
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  14. Chesterman S, Neely CN, Thornton P, Pereira L. 2020. Climate-Resilient Development Pathways. SADC Futures: Developing Foresight Capacity for Climate Resilient Agricultural Development Knowledge Series. CCAFS Report. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
  15. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, Willet et al., 2019, Here
  16. IPCC AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis Here
  17. UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR), 2020. Here
  18. Nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. Synthesis report by the secretariat, 2021. Here

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