Allison Chatrchyan

For the second year in a row, Cornell University held a side Event in the African Pavilion at the COP 

Climate Smart Agriculture, Agroecology, and Food Security

November 10, 2016

Allison Chatrchyan

For the second year in a row, Cornell University held a side Event in the African Pavilion at the COP. This year’s event was on the topic of “Climate Smart Agriculture, Agroecology, and Food Security: Lessons Learned from Research and Community Development Projects in Africa,” and was organized by Cornell University, the UNDP Small Grants Program, and CIRAD (a French agroecological research agency based in Montpellier, France). These organizations also partnered with the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, or GACSA), since Cornell, CIRAD and the UNDP are all members of this voluntary information-sharing network.

Allison ChatrchyanAllison Chatrchyan, Director, Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, is a member of Cornell's COP22 delegation (watch her video)

The focus of the presentations was on various research and education projects in African countries, including in Ethiopia (Dawit Solomon from Cornell, and Tefera Tadesse from the Government of Ethiopia); Morocco (Charles Nyandiga and Badia Sahmy from UNDP and UNDP in Morocco); Malawi (Rachel Bezner Kerr from Cornell University); Senegal (Emmanuel Torquebiau); and Kenya (Johannes Lehmann from Cornell). It was so interesting to note the incredible synergies between the research and education projects in these varied countries.

Johannes Lehmann introduced the importance of soil carbon sequestration as one of the most important sectors for carbon mitigation and shared new research findings on soil health and carbon sequestration using biochar systems and the applicability of this research in the African context.  The presentations from Morocco, Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya and Senegal shared new updates from climate smart agroecological community projects, and the importance of training farmers and community members to increase resiliency to climate impacts. Members of the audience asked for clarification of how the speakers would define climate smart agriculture in relation to agroecology, and how to build the capacity of extension systems to spread research-based practices for climate resiliency.

Hosting this type of side event with international partners illustrates the depth and breadth of Cornell researchers’ expertise on climate change projects in Africa, and the importance of building strong, trusted relationships with government agencies and organizations on the ground to help communities and farmers increase their climate change mitigation and adaptation in the agricultural sector.