Adaptation to Climate Change in the Semi-arid Tropics.
Climate change predictions point to a warmer world within the next 50 years, a trend that is increasingly being supported by ‘on-the-ground' measurements. However, the impact of rising temperatures on rainfall distribution patterns in the SAT of Africa and Asia remains far less certain.
Since its foundation 35 years ago, ICRISAT has always been aware of the need to situate our research in the context of seasonally variable rainfall and the impact it has on rural welfare and the performance of the innovations that we were researching and promoting. Within the last 4 years, however, this work has received a new focus as a result of the greatly increased global concern about climate variability and change.
Our new research focus is founded on two key considerations.
We highlight below some key milestones in the evolution and implementation of our work.
A NEPAD-endorsed consortium in sub-Saharan Africa fosters ‘Proof of Concept' research.
In 2004, to foster and promote partnerships and information sharing on climate change in sub-Saharan Africa, ICRISAT spearheaded the formation of a NEPAD-endorsed consortium of 15 national, regional and international partners entitled ‘ Investing in rainfed farming systems of sub-Saharan Africa: Evaluating the agricultural implications of current climatic variability and planning for future climate change' . Through this consortium ICRISAT has partnered with, amongst others, meteorological services, CGIAR Centers and leading climate science researchers worldwide in a series of Proof of Concept projects centered on climate risk management. There are 10 such on-going climate change projects taking place in sub-Saharan Africa and recently an important projected funded by the Asian Development Bank has extended this work to India, Peoples' Republic of China (PRC), Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan . Although these projects are on-going, we have already learned many valuable lessons .
A Board approved Operational Research Strategy: 2008-2015
ICRISAT has developed an Operational Research Strategy entitled Adaptations to Climate Change in the Semi-Arid Tropics . The strategy provides a focused description of the climate change development challenge; the rational for ICRISAT's involvement; what we aim to achieve through our research and the outcomes we will achieve between now and 2015. It was approved by ICRISAT's Board in early 2008 and a summary Flyer has been produced .
Facilitating information sharing.
In November 2007, ICRISAT celebrated its 35 th Anniversary by hosting a 3-day Anniversary Symposium entitled "Climate-Proofing Innovation for Poverty Reduction and Food Security ”. The Symposium was opened by an address from the Chief Guest Dr. Martin Parry. 13 Alliance Centres, together with AVRDC and IRI, also presented key aspects of their on-going research and climate change adaptation. To ensure easy global access to these presentation, ICRISAT has published all these presentation in its on-line Journal of SAT Agricultural Research, ( http://www.icrisat.org/journal/specialproject.htm )
During 2007 and 2008, ICRISAT, together with ICRAF, acted as Guest Editors and published in a special edition of Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment (AGEE) entitled “International agricultural research and climate change: A focus on tropical systems.” This special edition presented 13 articles from international research institutes, 12 of which were authored by staff from Alliance Centres. It was published in June 2008 (Vol 126, Issues 1+2, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01678809 )
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