CGIAR Launches Climate Community of Practice

  • From
    Gina Edward-Uwadiale
  • Published on
    01.05.24

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“Agriculture has not been very evident as one of the main solutions to climate change. We need to strive to make it the main solution to global warming, the main solution to produce food in the future climate. We recognize that there is a climate crisis; we know that we cannot continue the path forward without real transformation.” CGIAR Executive Managing Director Ismahane Elouafi said at the launch of CGIAR’s 600-strong climate community of practice.

The CGIAR Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Impact Area Platform was established in 2023 with a mandate to convene CGIAR’s climate scientists and synthesize climate research to enhance the capacity of CGIAR and its partners. In addition, it will amplify external visibility, engage with prominent climate voices, provide advice on portfolio-level management and strategy, and monitor the climate-related outcomes of various Initiatives.

Central to our mission, we compiled a comprehensive database of almost 600 CGIAR scientists involved in climate-related work across CGIAR Centers. We are excited to announce that on April 12, 2024, we officially launched the CGIAR Climate Community of Practice (CoP). The launch had two sessions ( 9 am and 5 pm) to accommodate the diverse needs of our community across multiple time zones. Following the inauguration, we are working to set up smaller thematic working groups to deepen climate knowledge across the CGIAR system.

Who is in our Community of Practice?

Our CoP has a rich geographic and thematic diversity. Members are located in 24 countries in and the Systems Office.

 

Over a third of our climate scientists are based in India (15.13%), Kenya( 10.76%), Colombia ( 5.71%), and the Philippines ( 5.38%).

Regarding expertise and aspects of climate change, our Community of Practice Climate Scientists work covers a broad array of subjects, from Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability, Mitigation, Physical basis of climate change and Climate Finance.

Why It Matters

Our collective climate challenge is producing healthy, sustainable, and nutritious food for food and nutrition security and resilience of small-scale food producers while keeping global temperature levels within 1.5°C to 2°C. We are proud to say that our platform likely hosts the largest community of climate scientists. The Climate Community of Practice will utilize collective expertise to develop resilient food systems and sustainable environmental practices. In addition, it connects an international network of experts, promotes collaboration, data sharing, the exchange of best practices and methodologies, and provides an avenue for thematic discussions.

Together, our community works across the entire value chain of climate change work. Take drought, for example—this group of scientists is involved in everything from forecasting droughts to breeding crops that can withstand them and even shaping the policies that help manage their impact. By bringing this community together, we are strengthening our collective ability to face climate challenges worldwide.

Voices from the Launch

At the launch, CGIAR Executive Managing Director Ismahane Elouafi highlighted agriculture’s often-overlooked role in addressing the climate crisis. For the new CGIAR 2025-30 portfolio, climate work will be mainstreamed across all CGIAR actions, in line with the CGIAR’s mandate to deliver science and innovation that catalyzes the transformation of food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis.

She added that the Community of Practice is a collaborative platform allowing scientists to support the narrative for improved funding and develop new research areas vital for sustainable transformation.”Together, this will make consistent and complementary efforts to pull our diverse parts together and have a cohesive narrative on the most important development issues of our day, which is really adaptation to climate change.” She said

Guillaume Grosso, Deputy Executive Managing Director of CGIAR, commented on the impressive scale of the CoP: “I think 600 people identified within CGIAR as working on climate when there was the survey on self-identification, which is amazing; it is one of the largest scientific communities working on climate that I know of.”

Bram Govaerts, Director General of CIMMYT, discussed the integration of climate objectives “This community of practice is the response to the dilemma of integrating climate change into our core objectives or keeping it as a standalone issue that gets the necessary attention. I hope that it will keep us honest , when we measure the impact on if we are really moving the needle and challenges us to truly shift our trajectory towards meaningful change.”

Mamta Sharma, Deputy Regional Director-Asia at ICRISAT, emphasized the foundational role of the CoP in enhancing climate action “This community of practice is critical to build on the progress made so far in climate change. It helps us understand where we are and what the knowledge gaps are, which is essential for defining the narrative or theory of change for the mega programs on climate action.”

Ana Maria Loboguerrero, Research Director of Climate Action for the Alliance and CIAT- CGIAR noted the CoP’s role in articulating CGIAR’s climate-related contributions “The platform will help CGIAR produce and share a very clear climate offer. This is needed not only to help our partners understand our comparative advantage but also to guide our internal strategic directions in the climate agenda.”

Nikita Eriksen-Hamel, Senior Agricultural Policy Advisor at the Canadian International Development Agency, reflected on the evolution of CGIAR “I have been following CGIAR’s evolution for the past 15 years, and this community of practice is an exciting new development that could shape our engagement with climate-smart agriculture moving forward.”

Stephane Hallegatte, Senior Advisor at the World Bank, welcomed the CoP’s efforts to make climate research accessible for policy-making “We very much welcome the efforts of the community to synthesize and make accessible the incredible wealth of climate change data and research for policy-making.”

William (Bill) Sutton, Global Lead for Climate-Smart Agriculture and Lead Agricultural Economist in the World Bank’s Agriculture and food Global Practice, speaks on cross-CoP collaboration “We just launched our community of practice on climate-smart agriculture at the World Bank, and we look forward to having both communities of practice collaborate closely going forward.”

Sarah Schmidt, GIZ’s Advisor for International Agricultural Research, outlined the strategic role of the CoP “Germany has supported CGIAR for 50 years, and we see a major role for this community of practice at the science-policy interface, helping to distill and disseminate research findings effectively.”

Juan Lucas Restrepo, Global Director of Partnerships and Advocacy at CGIAR, emphasized the unifying goal of the CoP “We are coming together as a community of scientists across centers working on climate, which is critical for creating a cohesive narrative on this most important development issue of our day.”

James Stapleton, Senior Strategic Advisor, Advocacy for Impact, CGIAR, reiterated that innovation and collaboration are needed to address the challenges posed by climate change in agriculture.”Collaboration is key. By sharing knowledge and resources, we can make strides in our fight against the climate impacts on agriculture.”

Charlotte Lusty, head of programs and genebank platform coordinator at Crop Trust emphasized the integration of climate considerations into gene bank operations and crop variety development” In gene banks, we are beginning to see a lot of effort on mitigation with artificial intelligence tools being used to screen a wider diversity of crops for traits that might be beneficial in the context of climate change.”

Anthony Whitbread, program leader for the Sustainable Livestock Systems program, emphasized the importance of community and collaborative efforts in addressing climate change challenges in agriculture:”As we strive to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change, it’s imperative that we leverage the strengths of our global research community to foster innovation and resilience in agricultural systems.”

Timmo Gaasbeek, Senior Policy Officer Food Security at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed the urgency of innovation “We need to foster an environment where innovation is not just encouraged but expected. Climate change is not waiting, and neither can we”

The Road Ahead

For the CGIAR Climate Platform, the launch has laid a foundation for future collaborations and shown the importance of integrating diverse scientific research and developing a unified strategy to address climate change proactively. To support continuous learning for the CoP, we are developing a variety of communication and knowledge products;

  1. Climate Insights: Our fortnightly journal article rounds up the latest climate research updates on journal articles on climate change impacts, adaptation strategies, and more.
  2. Dgroups Space: Dgroups is an online platform that connects the climate CoP. Within the Dgroups platform, members can join ‘subgroups’ for thematic discussions. A Climate Community of Practice survey revealed members’ top three thematic topic preferences: ‘Adaptation,’ including adaptation metrics; ‘Mitigation,’ focusing on low-emission food systems; and ‘Scaling’ of climate-friendly technologies.
  3. Evidence Explainers: These briefs will be available in various formats, such as fact sheets, report summaries, and videos. Feedback from the survey sent to the Community of Practice shows an appetite for evidence explainers across a wide variety of  topics ranging from Climate finance to Carbon sequestration, Climate Action and Climate Justice
  4. Bi-Monthly Newsletter: Our newsletters highlight Platform activities, share impactful climate stories from our Initiatives, and feature exceptional scientists.
  1. Webinars: Join our monthly webinars, where we showcase CGIAR research, promote collaboration with external climate scientists, and delve into critical climate topics.
  2. Blog Pieces and Op-eds: We are committed to publishing informative blog posts and op-eds authored by field experts addressing diverse climate issues within the agri-food sector.

In the coming months, the CGIAR Climate Impact Platform will expand the Community of Practice to include climate scientists outside CGIAR. Stay tuned for updates on how you can get involved.

 

 

 

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