12 November 2009

New global research programme to combat climate change

On 30 October, the secretariat of the global programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) was launched in Copenhagen. CCAFS seeks to overcome the threats to agriculture and food security in a changing climate, exploring new ways of helping vulnerable rural communities adjust to global changes in climate. At the opening, Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ms. Ulla Tørnæs, noted that this research and development program will tackle the daunting challenges that climate change pose for hundreds of millions of already food-insecure children, women and men in developing countries. She said it was fitting that the secretariat would be based in Copenhagen, the location for the forthcoming negotiations on climate change (COP15) that would herald a new era in global cooperation on climate change.

Professor Thomas Rosswall, the Chair of CCAFS, congratulated the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen on winning the bid to host the secretariat:

- "There was strong competition from some of the world’s premier research centres – the Copenhagen bid was excellent". He thanked the Danish government for their financial support, and thanked the University for their generous hosting arrangement; because the University was not taking overheads, one million dollars per year of extra funding would go into research.

The eyes of the world on Danish agricultural research

The secretariat will be based at the Department of Agriculture and Ecology at LIFE - Faculty of Life Sciences, which has 150 years’ experience in research into agricultural development. Professor at Department of Agriculture and Ecology at LIFE and member of the United Nations Climate Panel and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, John R. Porter welcomes the new ambitious research programme and says:

- "It is a well kept secret that Danish agricultural research ranks among the world's top ten. With the launch of this research programme, Danish research will be given the opportunity to contribute to one of the greatest challenges of the future – global climate change and global food supply."

Food security high on the global agenda

Professor Rosswall noted that food security was high on the global agenda:

- "Only ten days ago, Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley J. Oda, announced CIDA's Food Security Strategy. This included support for CCAFS of CAD $5.5 million over three years."

Professor Rosswall went on to say that CCAFS was now supported by the European Union, the World Bank and the governments of Canada and Denmark. He expected further pledges of support in the coming months, and he believed the global change community (ESSP) would bring its considerable resources to the CGIAR agenda.