Science Talk: Modelling Food System Pathways and Priorities

  • Date
  • Time
    08:00 am > 10:30 am UTC+03:00
  • Location
    United Nations, Conference Room 10, Nairobi, Kenya

Thematic Areas: Institutional Innovations

The CGIAR is home to state-of-the-art modelling systems that capture the structure and dynamics of food, land, and water systems at global, national, and local scales. The CGIAR’s modelling systems are unique in their particular focus on developing countries and on poverty and food and nutrition security. The Foresight initiative uses the CGIAR’s modelling systems to anticipate future transformation pathways, including the contribution of agricultural technologies and innovations. The initiative uses its models with national partners to anticipate policy trade-offs and prioritize investment plans. Finally, the initiative uses the CGIAR’s spatial modelling systems to track local development pathways and to assess climate risks.

Objectives and expected outcomes: Our session at Science Week will provide our audience with an overview of our organization’s modelling systems. Importantly, the session will provide our CGIAR colleagues with a better understanding of the in-house models that we use to inform policies and strategies, conduct rapid assessments of global crises, and project the benefits of our collective research portfolio. The session will also showcase the Foresight initiative’s ongoing research innovations, partner engagements, and policy impacts and outcomes. The Foresight initiative’s key external partners will provide their assessment of the CGIAR’s tools, capabilities, and applications.


  1. An introduction to CGIAR’s unique food system modeling systems: Channing Arndt
  2. An overview of models used to track global food, land, and water systems under climate change: Athanasios Petsakos
  3. An overview of country models and analysis of policies and extreme events to help decisionmakers evaluate trade-offs and prioritize investments within agrifood systems: Tim Thomas 
  4. An overview of using spatial explicit models to track subnational level food system dynamics and inform future development opportunities: Chun Song 

The four presentations will be followed by a moderated group discussion (30 mins). 

This will include a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the CGIAR’s modelling systems and how they could be enhanced and better used to inform national policies and project the outcomes of CGIAR research.