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Presentations and Abstracts for the International Symposium on Climate Change
and Food Security in South Asia

Dhaka, Bangladesh
25-29 August 2008


Presentations - PDF

SESSION 2: Climate Change In South Asia: Overview

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SESSION 3: Climate Change And Environment

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SESSION 4: National Perspectives

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SESSION 5: Mitigation And Adaptation Options In Different Agroecosystems Of South Asia

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SESSION 6: Policy, Financial, Institutional And Cooperation Issues

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SESSION 7: Breakout Sessions To Discuss Regional Agriculture Mitigation And Adaptation Framework For Climate Change In South Asia

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BARI Session I : Agricultural Production and Farming System

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BARI Session II : Agricultural Production & Farming System

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BARI Session III : Pest and Disease Management

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BARI Session IV : Soil Degradation, Irrigation and Water Management

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BARI Session V : Social and Environmental Perspectives

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BARI Session VI : Climate Change and Vulnerability

  • Climate Change: Vulnerabilities of Ethnic Communities: A Case from Mangrove Forest, Bangladesh by S. Halim

  • The Winds of "Terror" of Winds: Tropical Cyclone Sidr in a Bangladesh Village by A. Islam

  • The Role of Forest in Conserving Climate and Sustaining Food Security: Bangladesh Perspective

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Implications of Climate Change for Agriculture and Food Security in South Asia by Ad Spijkers. FAO Representative in Bangladesh

The High Level Conference on World Food Security held at FAO, Rome in June 2008 estimated that there are currently 862 million people worldwide suffering from hunger with more than 820 million of them living in developing countries. South Asia, in spite of the fact that its total food production has increased threefold between 1960 and 2006, faces the largest concentration of poverty and undernourished population worldwide.

Agriculture represents a high share of GDP in South Asia and has diverse farming systems, ranging from intensive rice and wheat to sparse arid terrains and mountains with huge difference in production potentials. The agriculture sector frequently experiences damage and loss due to cyclones, droughts, floods and heat waves. It is estimated that South Asia accounts for almost 80% of the world’s total population affected by droughts and 35% affected by floods.

The IPCC projected that densely populated low lying areas are especially at risk. The numbers will be largest in mega-deltas (e.g Bangladesh and India) areas and island nations (e.g. Maldives and Sri Lanka) of the region. Glacier melt in the Himalayas (e.g. Nepal and Pakistan) is projected to affect water resources within the next two to three decades by increase flooding in the short-term and water shortages in the long-term. Fresh water availability in South Asia is therefore projected to decrease (especially in India and Pakistan). The crop yields could decrease up to 30% in the region by the mid-21st century and considering the influence of population growth, the risk of hunger is projected to remain very high. Other predicted impacts of climate change include inundation of arable land, salinity intrusion, droughts, reduced fresh water availability and persistence of trans-boundary pests and diseases.

Given the magnitude of the challenge, a comprehensive climate change strategy for the region needs to address the reduction of greenhouse gases where possible. Mitigation activities such as soil-carbon sequestration, ecosystem restoration, reduced emission from deforestation and degradation, watershed management and protecting mangroves need to be tapped to support adaptation activities.

Adaptation to climate change and sea-level rises needs to be coordinated and integrated into policies and development plans. Potential adaptation interventions in agriculture include engineering solutions such as sea defences, costal embankments, polders, and the provision of fresh water storage while technological solutions include use of integrated and collaborative watershed management approaches and the expansion of drought and saline tolerant crops, more efficient on-farm water management and rainwater harvesting systems, conservation farming technologies and wind breaks.

A number of initiatives and field projects have been launched already to address climate change. FAO has initiated regional programmes on pro-poor policy and food security addressing the concerns of climate and freshwater supplies through field projects aimed at livelihood adaptation and strengthening capacity to manage risks associated with climate variability, change and natural hazards.

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Climate Change and Soil Quality by Rattan Lal. Ohio State University

World soils, containing 1550 Pg of organic and 950 Pg of inorganic C to 1-m depth in comparison with 760 Pg in the atmosphere and 560 Pg in biota, have been a source of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 for millennia. Emission of CO2 from soils began since the dawn of settled agriculture about 10 millennia ago, and of CH4 since about 5000 years ago with the cultivation of rice practices and domestication of cattle. Emissions of C from terrestrial ecosystems are estimated at 320 Pg up to the pre-industrial era and 136 Pg since 1850, compared with 300 Pg from fossil fuel combustion. Most cultivated soils have lost 50% to 75% of the original C pool because of decomposition, leaching and soil erosion. Restoration of degraded soils and ecosystems can sequester C in soil through humification of the added biomass. The terrestrial C sink capacity is equivalent to absorbing 50 ppm of atmospheric CO2. In addition to off-setting anthropogenic emissions, C sequestration is also essential to enhancing soil quality and the attendant positive impacts on agronomic productivity, use efficiency of input, and water quality.

Low and stagnating crop yields of the rice-wheat cropping systems, practiced throughout the Indo-Gangetic Basin, and of other crops in South Asia are attributed to soil degradation exacerbated by low soil organic carbon (SOC) concentrations ranging from 0.1 to 0.5% in the plow layer. Enhancing SOC concentration, by using crop residue mulch and other biosolids including compost and manure, is essential to improving soil quality and increasing agronomic productivity. Carbon sequestered in soils can also be traded as a marketable commodity to generate another income stream for the resource-poor farmers. The global capacity of SOC sequestration in world soils is about 1 Pg C/yr. However, conversion to a restorative land use and adoption of best management practices remain to be major challenges,especially by the resource-poor small land holders of Asia and Africa. Yet ,enhancing soil carbon pool is essential to mitigating global warming by carbon dioxide enrichment of the atmosphere,and for advancing food security. Increasing soil carbon pool by 1 M g/ha/yr can increase food production in developing countries by 30 to 50 m illion ton/yr,through increase in use efficiency  of input and improvements in soil quality.Soil carbon sequestration is a bridge to the future until the non-carbon fuel sources take effect.It is a truly win-win-win situation.

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Observation and Geophysical Causes of Global Sea Level Rise by C.K. Shum and Chung-Yen Kuo. Ohio State University and National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan

The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (FAR), Working Group I, The Physical Science Basis, indicated that sea level rise has accelerated since the mid-19th century, due primarily to anthropogenic causes, to the 20th century and early 21st century (1850–2003) rate of 1.7–1.8 mm/yr based on tide gauge records, as compared to 0.1 mm/yr during the previous ~500 years (1500–1870) based on geologic evidence.  The IPCC FAR substantially narrowed the existing discrepancies between the observations and geophysical causes of sea level rise, but significant uncertainties remain. Major geophysical causes of sea level rise include glacier and ice sheet imbalance, solid Earth glacial isostatic adjustment, thermosteric sea level rise, and potential hydrologic imbalance.  Quantifying, understanding and predicting the rate of sea level rise remains challenging.  This paper summarizes the 2007 IPCC FAR findings on the observations and explanations of various geophysical causes of global sea level rise during the 20th Century, and presents results of the post-2007 IPCC sea level studies.

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Global Temperature Change: Potential Impact in the Intensity of the Indian Ocean Monsoon, Flooding and Soil Erosion by Harunur Rashid and Bryce Rodgers. Ohio State University

The Indian Ocean Monsoon (IOM) represents one of the Earth’s most dynamic and synoptic climatic interactions between atmosphere, oceans and continents. Approximately one half of humanity depends on the regular return of the monsoon for their livelihood in regions from West Africa through Central to East Asia to Australia. The IOM is the product of two primary physical mechanisms: differential land-ocean sensible heating and the tropospheric latent heating. Differential heating results in seasonal low atmospheric pressure over the adjacent continental land masses relative to the cooler Indian Ocean. This pressure gradient sets the stage for the cyclonic summer-monsoon wind patterns and evaporation from the tropical Indian Ocean, supplying moisture that intensifies the monsoon. The effects of a stronger monsoon produce more precipitation over the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna catchment draining most of the Himalayas and the northern Indian region to mostly the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea. Approximately 50,000m3/s of water with an average d18O value -8‰ flows into the Bay of Bengal during the peak summer (August) monsoon. In addition to the monsoonal rainfall, the meltwater from the Himalayan glaciers also contribute to the tributaries of the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Irrawaddy rivers. The fourth assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that the global temperature may rise between 2 and 4.5oC by the end of the 21st century. Though it is a conservative estimate, such a rise in air temperature leads climate modelers to predict that the future Indian Ocean Monsoon may turn into the warm early Holocene analog. At present, there are ~15,000 glaciers in the southern margin of the Himalayas hosting ~12,000 km3 of freshwater. If the IPCC predictions of the global air temperature rise come to fruition, then the availability of freshwater from the melting of these glaciers and the regular return of the monsoonal rainfall to the agrarian region becomes a serious concern for their livelihood.  By extension, this may also affect the carbon cycle as more carbon may washed out of the soil in the river catchments and buried in pro-deltaic sediments due to increased drainage combined with the deforestation in the Himalayan foot hills. On the other hand, the export of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus may have increased the productivity in the coastal zone, therefore augmenting the vertical exports of the organic matter.

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Global Terrestrial Hydrology for Spaceborne Gravimetry, GRACE by C.K. Shum, H. Lee, D. Alsdorf, F. Hossain, and L. Wang. Ohio State University and Tennessee Technological University

Monitoring, understanding, and quantifying global water cycle budget in light of global climate change represents an important scientific research topic with significant societal impacts. The NASA/GFZ Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin-satellite mission, launched in March 2002, is designed to measure small mass changes over a large spatial scale, using primarily a microwave K-band low-low inter-satellite ranging (KBR) system between the GRACE spacecrafts at µm precision, and represents one of newest observational system to potentially able to improve the estimate of ice-sheet mass balance. GRACE is currently measuring the Earth’s mass redistribution with a spatial resolution longer than 300–600 km (half-wavelength) and monthly resolution. Although coarse in temporal and spatial resolutions as compared to radar altimetry (e.g., the planned Surface Water and Ocean Topography, SWOT mission), GRACE is capable of observing the total (both surface and subsurface) water thickness change, and complementary to other spaceborne hydrologic sensors including SWOT. This paper provides a description of the measurement technique and results of GRACE observations over example hydrologic basins, including the Amazon, Indian and Bangladesh river basins.

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Climate Change and Food Security in India by N. Chattopadhyay. India Meteorological Department

Climate change and its consequences are being increasingly viewed as the foremost problem of the 21st century. Climate change challenges at the national, regional and global level are hugely demanding and interconnected and have obvious implications in terms of human security. Many studies of climate change have shown that Earth's atmosphere is modified by anthropogenic and biogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, other radiatively active gases and aerosol precursors such as sulphur dioxide. This modification of the atmosphere has coincided with the mean surface air temperature of the Earth. According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (lPCC) released in 2007, future projections of climate change indicate that South Asia is very likely to warm during this century. According to this report in some South Asian countries, a substantial reduction in crop yields from rainfed agriculture could occur. Additionally, dramatic changes in the land use patterns in South Asia compound the problem of climate change. It has been anticipated that climatic changes could lead to major food security issues for a country like India. Although the likelihood of such an increase in future mean temperature resulting from changes in atmospheric composition is already established with fair degree of confidence, changes in other parameters such as rainfall, cloudiness, humidity and windiness, and derived quantities such as soil moisture and evaporation are much harder to specify especially on a regional scale.

India located in south-central Asia, has great economic dependence on agriculture. Any major changes in temperature and water budget will have major consequences for hydrologic processes and, in turn, the economy in the country and welfare of her population. In the present paper, results from the various studies of climatic change based on the historical variation of instrumental data as well as future projection on climate change based on the results of global climate models have been discussed. Besides the implication of such changes on the major crops of the country along with the food security has been highlighted. Moreover, different mitigation and adaptation strategies, such as sustainable land and forest management; changing varieties; more efficient water use; altering the timing or location of cropping activities; improving the effectiveness of pest, disease and weed management practices and making better use of seasonal climate forecasts to reduce production risks, for offsetting negative impacts from climate change and take advantage of positive impacts on the crops and ultimately the solution to food security issues  of the country have also been addressed.

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Climate Change and Food Security in Pakistan by Arif Mahmood. Pakistan Meteorological Department

Pakistan is an agro-based economy and sustainability of agriculture depends on availability of water. A bit of rise in mercury immediately affects the dynamics of whole climate system which delivers through changes in precipitation regime. Climate change has already noticed in Pakistan during the last 60 years which is expected to be accelerated in the running century. Due to global warming, precipitation patterns are changing and glaciers are melting at a much faster rate. The frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events has increased along the foothills of Himalayan southern slopes where landslides and lightening have taken several lives and incurred huge damage to the infrastructure. Heat waves and prolonged cold spells have become very common. Among recent anomalies in climate snow melt flood of 2005, 3-4°C warmer February 2006 caused significant reduction in wheat yield, 5-days continuous persistence of freezing temperatures over upper Sindh and a two weeks early onset of monsoon in 2008 are worth-mentioning.

These changes are a major threat to sustainable development in agriculture sector and ultimately to food security. Although some models predict that the crop yield will increase due to the increased concentration of carbon dioxide but this increase will be short lived on one hand and the most vulnerable to weather extremes on the other hand. In the absence of proper management practices, the water and food crisis are inevitable. The adverse impacts can be minimized through improved water use efficiency, increased water storage during high flow, better cropping practices, economical irrigation methods, introduction of drought-resistant varieties, promotion of moisture conservation practices and on-farm rain harvesting culture.

It is necessary to well a national plan to cope with a projected impact of climate change in the country.

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Climate Change, Food Security, Sea Level Rise, & Environment in Sri Lanka by Lalith Chandrapala. Centre for Climate Change Studies

Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean with considerable variation in climate over space and time. Its annual average rainfall varies from below 1000 mm in the north-west and south-east to over 5000 mm in the south-western slopes of the central hills. There is little seasonal variation of temperature with mean annual temperature below 150 m elevation ranging from 26.0 C to 28.0 C.

Statistical analyses of air temperature in Sri Lanka clearly show an increasing trend over the of the order of 0.16ºC per decade. Though trends of Rainfall is found to be rather complex, a significant increase in the variability of Winter Monsoon (December to February) rain is observed. 

Climate Change is expected to lead to a rise in the sea level, higher temperatures, more frequent and prolonged droughts and high intensity rainfall. These anticipated changes in the global context represent a significant threat to Sri Lanka, the different sectors of its economy and human health. The most frightening prospect for Sri Lanka due to anticipated climate change is in agriculture. Higher temperatures and less water will result in paddy farming output falling significantly. It has been shown that Sri Lanka’s rice output may reduce by 6 % with a temperature increase of 0.5 C. Increased temperatures are also expected to negatively affect high value crops such as vegetables and potatoes.

Sri Lanka at present is experiencing an erosion rate of 0.30–0.35 m per year for 45%-55% of its coastline. A rise in sea level due to climate change would increase the present rates of erosion, thereby resulting in the loss of land and increasing the vulnerability of coastal communities. The increase in inland penetration of salt water is another major impact of sea level rise. A rise in sea level increases the salinity of an estuary by altering the balance between fresh water and salt water hydraulic regimes. The impact would be widely felt during dry weather conditions with greater penetration of salt water. Sea level rise will therefore cause a number of problems such as the penetration of salt water into cultivated areas, increase of saline water in aquifers, migration of fresh water fish and impacts on other habitats causing a breakage in the food chain of certain species.

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Restoring Natural System Functions to Sustain the World’s River Deltas by J. Martin and J.W. Day. Ohio State University, USA and Louisiana State University, USA

Many of the world’s deltas are experiencing rapid rates of deterioration that threaten the vital ecological and economic services they provide. Increases in sea-level rise, and more frequent cyclones due to global warming threaten to further accelerate this trend. Over the past century dams, dikes and levees have been built for the purposes of flood protection, navigation, water storage and energy generation. These actions have isolated river deltas from the river water and sediment that has sustained them. As a result many delta regions are forecast to experience serious declines in the future. For instance, by 2100 Bangladesh is projected to lose between 26 and 34% of habitable land, have 27 to 35% percent of the population displaced and suffer GDP losses between 22 and 31%.

In order to address these threats in an era of energy scarcity natural system functions must be restored and rivers must be reconnected to deltaic floodplains. Restoring connections between rivers and marshes can counteract high rates of relative sea-level rise that lead to the submergence of deltaic marshes and losses of productivity. In the Mississippi Delta river diversions are being built to restore the movement of riverine sediments to marshes located behind levees. Other approaches to sustain delta wetlands include the use of ring levees to protect human settlements as opposed to linear levees. Managers must also realize the negative impacts of extracting water, gas and petroleum from beneath deltaic wetlands. To sustain river deltas and their human populations a balance must be struck between human endeavors such as, flood protection, agriculture and extraction of resources and natural system functions.

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Options on Land Management and Land Use for Coping with Climate Change in South Asia by Yuji Niino, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

South Asia is characterized by high population density and scarcely available land for sustainable agriculture. Its general physical environment is featured by climate, landform and soils which cause natural hazards of degradation. The problem is aggravated by factors such as rapidly growing population, skewed distribution of assets and income, degradation of the natural resource base and unsustainable management of land and water resources.

Food security situation in South Asia is thus affected by low productivity and prone to natural disaster. Vulnerability to food security is rising because of climate change which makes more areas, particularly coastal and low-lying areas, disaster-prone while growing population is further forcing vulnerable people to settle in risk-prone areas and crop land inundated.

Smallholder and subsistence farmers may not be able to cope with climate change effectively, due to reduced adaptive capacity and higher climate vulnerability. Under such conditions, pressure to cultivate marginal land or to adopt unsustainable cultivation practices as yields drop is likely, and may increase land degradation, water scarcity and endanger biodiversity.

Those risks could be reduced through resource conservation technologies, providing information and education, and through suitable policy measures. There is a need to balance food security needs with sustainable use of land and water. Diversifying from high water consuming crops to high value horticulture and livestock products is preferable and growing.

To cope with climate change and increase agricultural productivity through conservation and efficient use of agricultural land and water resources with technical, policy support and environmental considerations, improved land management and land-use planning are possible adaptation methods. Monitoring of climate change may also mitigate the serious implications for the South Asia’s agriculture.

For the mitigation to climate change by controlling GHG emissions in agriculture, a variety of options exist. The most prominent options are improved crop and grazing land management, restoration of organic soils, and restoration of degraded lands. In less extent, but still significant mitigation is possible with improved water and rice management, agroforestry, and improved livestock and manure management.

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Challenges and Opportunities in Composting Organic Matter by Harold Keener. Ohio State University, USA

Minimizing waste generation and recycling have become the focus of governmental agencies in many countries to reduce human impact on the environment. With this focus, composting has received a high ranking in the hierarchy of recycling methods and continues to gain importance throughout the world for the conversion of organic by-products to new resources.  Adoption of composting for capturing and recycling organics however is not without environmental and economic issues and requires approaches which manages the process from the cradle (source separation) to the grave (high value markets). This paper addresses the challenges and opportunities in composting organic matter.  Its focus is on reducing operational cost and managing odors.  Composting systems and principles are presented along with results of optimization studies based on engineering analysis as well as pilot scale and large scale composting studies. Results are from studies on many organics including, municipal solid waste (MSW), biosolids, short paper fiber (SPF), yard trimmings, and animal manures. A list of guidelines for developing and managing efficiently composting systems are presented. . Compost value for growing plants, both as a fertilizer and biocontrol agent are outlined along with a other uses in protecting the environment.

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Soil Microorganisms the Final Arbitrators: Can they be Managed to Optimize Carbon Sequestration in Semi-Stable Soil Pools by Richard Dick. Ohio State University, USA

There is strong interest to sequester carbon (C) in soils to offset global climate change. Microorganisms are central to C sequestration by mediating decomposition and controlling the partitioning of plant residue-C between CO2 respiration losses or storage in semi-permanent soil-C pools. As one example, the Kyoto protocol called for maintenance of young forests because they are fast growing and capture more atmospheric carbon dioxide than old forests.  However, this ignores the effect of frequent harvests and its associated disturbance on soils and their microbial communities - this could result in net losses of C when soils are considered over just biomass production.  Microbial community composition and function can be manipulated or altered through disturbance and C inputs to either favor or limit retention of C. Fungi play a significant role in decomposition and appear to produce organic matter that is more recalcitrant and favor long-term C storage and thus are key functional group to focus on in developing C sequestration systems. Also, plant residue chemistry can influence microbial communities and C loss or flow into soil C pools.  Therefore, as research proceeds to maximize C sequestration for agricultural and forest ecosystems  -  besides plant biomass production, parallel studies should be conducted on microbial communities that considers the environmental conditions (e.g. redox potential, micro-climate) and residue chemistry needed optimize C storage for long periods.

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Options on Crop Production for Coping with Climate Change in South Asia by Anil Kumar Singh. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

Climate change impacts on agriculture are being witnessed all over the world, but countries in South Asia and Africa are likely to be more vulnerable than the rest of the world in view of the large populations depending on agriculture, excessive pressure on natural resources and poor coping mechanisms. Floods, droughts and cyclones are natural disasters that cause serious economic losses in these countries and their frequency has been projected to increase as a consequence of climate change.  Global projections suggest that the temperatures may rise by 0.6 to 2.5°C by 2050 and 1.4 to 5.8°C by 2100.  This will have a greater impact on the agricultural production in the tropical South Asian countries (100S to 280N) which are more vulnerable to impact of climate change compared to other regions situated in the higher latitudes. Climate change is also likely to have an adverse impact on both the quantity and quality of water resources.

Paddy, wheat, maize, cotton, sugarcane and a large number of rainfed crops like pulses and oilseeds (India); paddy and jute (Bangladesh); wheat, cotton (Pakistan); paddy, tea, coconut and other plantation crops (Srilanka) are the major crops in the region.  The yields of many of these crops have stagnated in all the countries in recent years.  The projected impacts of climate change are likely to aggravate further the year to year yield fluctuations of these crops impacting the food security and prices.  There are already evidences of yield decline in wheat and paddy in many parts of South Asia due to increasing water stress, reduction in number of rainy days and increased air temperature. While research on mitigation and adaptation of agriculture to climate change is at a nascent stage in many South Asian countries, some options for crop production and coping with climate change affects like droughts, high temperatures, floods and rising sea level can be suggested. 

There is need to accelerate of efforts to develop temperature and drought tolerant crop varieties and introduction of new crops which fit into the changed water availability and temperature regimes; lay emphasis on promotion of resource conservation technologies and conservation farming practices that will enhance resource input use efficiency, adopt integrated farming systems approach by integrating crops, horticulture and livestock for risk mitigation and stabilizing productivity and incomes; organize community seed banks and grain banks to face the challenges posed by extreme droughts and floods; and conduct research on crop improvement through bio-technology tools and innovations in conservation agriculture to enhance the adaptive capacity of the current crops and cropping systems to elevated CO2, high temperatures and droughts and simultaneously minimize the release of green house gases.  Greater efforts are needed on education and awareness generation among farmers including policy options for providing incentives to farmers who adopt conservation agriculture and carbon sequestration technology.

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Mitigation and adaptation strategies in coping with climate change impacts for improved crop health and sustainable food production in South Asia by A.K.S. Huda, University of Western Sydney, Australia

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that during the next decades, billions of people, particularly those in developing countries, will face changes in rainfall patterns that will contribute to severe water shortages or flooding, and rising temperatures that will cause shifts in growing seasons.  Climate change will affect agricultural food systems in most countries, including exporters and importers as well as those at subsistence level. 

Historical climate information on rainfall, evaporation and temperature was compared with projections of these variables using outputs from CSIRO Mk3 GCM for A1B scenario and stochastic downscaling models for three selected locations in Australia. The differences between current practices and in simulated length, and dependability of crop growing seasons in 2030 and 2070  across these locations were used as guide as to how these analyses could potentially be used in identifying suitable strategies as an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to the projected climate change.  The impacts of soil properties including available water-holding capacities in determining the length of effective growing season and choosing appropriate enterprises were highlighted. The utility of such analyses in evaluating alternate management options in addressing issues relating to excess water during water sufficiency periods within the crop growing season and scheduling supplementary irrigation in dry periods towards developing strategies for sustainable food production was demonstrated. These findings have implications for all of resources for mitigation purposes (i.e. the growing of carbon sinks) and adaptation of crop growing to maximise production and minimise losses. The role of crop models is illustrated in screening environments where such long-term mitigation strategies as Carbon Emissions Trading and offsets including the forest planting as tree carbon sequestration is directly proportional to growth.

The potential of using dynamic crop simulation models in making reliable agronomic and policy decisions is highlighted as a means of reducing ecological and economic risks.  Knowledge gained from the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) funded project on “climate and crop disease risk management” led by the University of Western Sydney was used to demonstrate the value of climate information in developing integrated pest management strategies for coping with climate change.   While the examples discussed in this paper related to three selected Australian locations, the principles developed will be of direct relevance to other regions. The    methodology presented can be tested and used for developing mitigation and adaptation strategies in South Asia and Australia.

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Options on Livestock Production for Coping with Climate Change in South Asia by Carolyn Imede Opio. Animal Production and Health Division, FAO

The livestock sector today is faced with a twin challenge: how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and how to adapt to the current and future climate change in order to minimize the adverse impacts on the sector and vulnerability of livelihoods to climate change risks.     

With the ongoing global trends in climate variability and extreme climatic events, it is expected that climate change will affect livestock production and productivity. The impacts of higher temperatures, more variable precipitation, more extreme weather events, and sea level rise already being felt in South Asia will continue to intensify resulting in livestock productivity losses. The consequences of such environmental changes for the livelihoods of millions of poor people within the South Asian region are likely to be far-reaching because of their greater dependence on livestock production and their lower ability and means to adapt. In South Asia the livestock sector represents a vital part of both the formal and informal economy. In the region, about 1.2 billion people depend to some extent on livestock for their livelihoods, with 80 percent of these living in rural areas.  The link between poor people’s livelihoods and livestock is apparent in the region and points to an urgent need to build and improve the resilience and adaptive capacity of the sector to respond to the challenges of climate change.

Many adaptation measures can have win-win outcomes for poverty reduction, food security, natural resource management and GHG emission reduction if linked to debates on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock sector is a major source of greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide- and therefore has much potential to contribute to the reduction in emissions. Regional trends such as population growth, urbanization, increasing incomes and changes in diet preferences are creating a massive demand for livestock products within the region with rapid growth in total demand for livestock products. Consumption of meat and milk production within the region has over the last four decades been growing at 3.3 and 3.9 percent per annum, respectively. However, these trends within the sector have implications for the region’s greenhouse gas emissions footprint.  

Mitigation and adaptation are closely linked and in order for the sector to effectively cope with climate change, there is a need to enhance the synergies between the two approaches as well as reduce the negative trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation measures.  

Tackling the challenge of climate change calls for a holistic and integrated approach to the problem of climate change that not only considers the sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions but also the effects of the negative feedback loops that climate change has on the sector and subsequent productivity loss.  Exogenous factors such as the increasing demand for livestock products and the need to improve human nutrition and food security as well as the livelihoods of the millions of poor people dependent on livestock production are some of the issues that would need to be factored into the climate change mitigation and adaptation equation.    

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Options on Forestry Management for Coping with Climate Change in South Asia by N.H. Ravindranath. Indian Institute of Science

Forests account for 76.04 Mha in the south Asian region, with 22% of geographic area under forests in India, 29.9% in Sri Lanka, 25.4% in Nepal, 6.7% in Bangladesh and 2..5% in Pakistan.

Forests and biodiversity play a critical role in the ecology and economies in the south Asian countries. South Asia is projected to experience significant changes in the future climate, in particular warming and precipitation. IPCC 2007 conclusions highlight that moderate warming is likely to adversely impact forest biodiversity as well as net primary productivity. A recent BIOME model based study in India shows that 68-77% of the forested grids in India are likely to experience shift in forest types under A2 and B2 SRES scenarios. Further, according to model projections net primary productivity is likely to increase under different forest types, however these model projections do not incorporate nutrient limitations. The critical impact of climate change will be on the forest biodiversity, species dominance and forest regeneration and establishment. In south Asia, there is a large dependence of communities on forest biodiversity (for example, about 200 million people in India). Thus, the projected impact on forest types will lead to large-scale forest die-back and mortality of existing species. This will have adverse implications for livelihoods of the forest dependent communities. Thus, there is a need to develop and implement adaptation strategies to increase the resilience of forest ecosystems as well as enhance the adaptive capacity of forest dependent communities as well as the forest managers.

Adaptation in the forest sector should be aimed at preserving or assisting the capacity of the natural ecosystems to promote resilience in the face of climate variability and change, as well as enhancing the capacity of forest-dependent people to meet their needs of food, fuel and fodder. Climate change concerns have to be incorporated into long-term forest policy and management plans. Finally, adaptive capacity of the forest departments has to be improved to plan and implement adaptation practices. Forest conservation and halting of fragmentation of forests is critical to enable forests to adapt to changing climate. In a given forest type consisting of multiple tree and non-tree species, the climate or temperature tolerance of different species is likely to be different. Thus, biodiversity rich forests are likely to be less vulnerable to climate change.

Plantations of ecologically compatible and locally-valued species of trees, shrubs and herbs, combined with soil restoration can significantly help in adaptation. For instance, rejuvenation of oak trees (as opposed to pines) in degraded lands of the western Himalaya would bring direct and indirect benefits to people practicing agro-horticulture. Maintenance of grasslands, through active management if needed, would be essential to not only conserve animal species endemic to mountain tops but also provide pasture lands for the livestock of local communities.

Protected Areas in mountain regions should ideally span an elevation gradient in order for species to adapt and to promote upward migration with increasing temperature. Improved conservation of sacred forests and meadows would enhance adaptation capacity of forest as well as communities. A plan to link Protected Areas and create corridors for migration of flora and fauna would enhance adaptation.

South Asian countries have been implementing afforestation/reforestation programmes. For example, Govt. of India has recently announced a major thrust to afforestation programme under the National Climate Action Plan. This provides an opportunity to reduce the vulnerability of natural forests and associated ecosystems to the projected climate change through adaptation measures. There is a need to reduce the vulnerability of afforestation programmes to the projected climate change. Adaptation practices may have to be developed and incorporated into afforestation and reforestation programmes. Some potential examples of adaptation practices include:

  • Anticipatory planting
  • Assisting natural migration of species
  • Mixed species forestry
  • In-situ and ex-situ conservation of genetic diversity
  • Forest fire management practices
  • Thinning and sanitary practices

Redesign and rationalizing the boundaries of Protected Areas (National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries) to promote adaptation to anticipated climate change that is expected to result broadly in south-north or altitudinal migrations of species. Currently, there is limited knowledge about the impacts of climate change as well as specific adaptation practices to cope with climate change. This is due to limitations of reliable climate projections at the regional level and absence of dynamic global vegetation models, incorporating the diverse vegetation types of the south Asian region. Thus, there is need for research and modeling to generate reliable climate projections, assess climate impacts and develop adaptation strategies.

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Climate Variability and Food Security; Research on best adaptative practices for Agriculture Salinity in paddy cultivation by Janaka Gamage. UNDP, Sri Lanka

With the climatic change, it is increasingly clear that countries can no longer rely on the import of their basic food items. Climate change likely to affect people in Sri Lanka .there is ample evidence to show the change of the variability of Hydrological regime and increase temperature. Short duration, high intensity storms are very frequent in recent times causing soil erosions in agriculture lands which ultimately lead to poor soil condition. Sea level rise and prolonged drought may enhance the soil salinity in coastal line as well as in highland respectively. Due to increasing soil salinity would undoubtedly compel the farmer community to uncultivated lands which ultimately contributes to food insecurity by reducing the production as rice is staple food in the country. According to the RRDI, Batalagoa, country need more than 0.93mt of Rice in 2020. So, more and more lands should be engaged in paddy even at lands have saline condition.

Major objectives of this programme is Develop Adaptation option menu with farmers and research institution to combat Agriculture salinity in Paddy lands which will help to cultivate in hitherto uncultivable soil lands in future and making paddy cultivation a sustainable livelihood. Research was focused on two locations in Puttlum district, Nelumwewa and Kattakaduwa. This research was implementing along with the Department of Agriculture, Rice Research Development Institute (RRDI), Batalagoda and Disaster Management Centre, Puttlum.

In the research Traditional varieties of rice have been promoting in a bid to address several burning issues including impending food crises. With the climatic change and overuse of chemical fertilizer and pesticides and weedicides have increased salinity in more and more paddy field making them un-cultivable. This is particularly adversely affecting small scale fields and it has been found out through experience that the best methods to desalinate these fields are to go back to organic farming with traditional varieties of rice. Though we have a base of sixty traditional varieties, we have selected four out of them on the basis of availability of markets for them. The varieties we have tested have a ready market in super markets chains and the retail and whole sale establishment. Pachchaperumal, Kaluheenati, Dahanala, Rathdal were introduce along with organic and Non organic Agronomic practices in selected farmers field. VAT methods were used for the High salinity soil condition area. Canal system called “Basnawal” were practice to wash off the Soil salinity and frequent irrigation support to reduce the degree of soil salinity. Some variety was very successfully grown on the saline soil and farmers in the vicinity capture the best practices for their lands from the success story. Organic farming practices like use of organic manure (cow dung, Poultry manure etc.), organic liquid fertilizer, pesticides, burned paddy husk etc. were succeed in the farmer field during the research.

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Options on Fishery and Aquaculture for Coping with Climate Change in South Asia by Elayaperumal Vivekanandan. Indian Council of Agricultural Research

Fisheries and aquaculture have very important roles for food supply, food security and income generation in South Asia. About 1.5 million people work directly in the sector in this region, producing around 8 million tonnes annually. Due to several reasons, production from fisheries is stagnant in the last ten years, and aquaculture is not expanding as anticipated. Climate change is projected to exacerbate this situation. Warming of water has impact on fish diversity, distribution, abundance and phenology, which will have, in turn, effects on the ecosystem structure and function. Acidification of water will have effects on calciferous animals. Increased incidence of extreme events such as storms, floods and drought will affect the safety and efficiency of fishing operations, flow of rivers, area covered by wetlands and water availability and will have severe impacts on fisheries and aquaculture. Sea level rise will have effects on the coastal profile and livelihoods of communities. The potential outcome for fisheries may be decrease in production and value of coastal and inland fisheries, and decline in the economic returns from fishing operations. The potential outcome for aquaculture may be higher capital, operating and insurance costs, loss of fish stocks, damage to facilities, conflict with other water users, reduced production capacity and increased per unit production costs.

Despite the uncertainties and potential negative impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture, there are opportunities to reduce the potential vulnerability to climate-related impacts. The following measures could contribute to coping with climate change: (i) evaluating the adaptive capacity of important fish groups; (ii) identifying adaptive fishing and post-harvest practices to sustain fish production and quality; (iii) supporting energy efficient fishing craft and gear; (iv) promoting plankton photosynthesis in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea; (v) identifying new land use system for aquaculture; (vi) identifying new candidate species and developing hatchery and grow-out technologies; (vii) cultivating aquatic algae, which have positive response to climate change,  for food and pharmaceutical purposes and for production of biodiesel; (viii) investigating the potential fish diseases in the natural and aquaculture systems; (ix) increasing climate literacy among the fishing and farming communities; (x) establishing Weather Watch Groups; and (xi) evolving decision support systems for fisheries and aquaculture in the region. It is also important to recognize the synergies between adaptive and mitigation options related to climate change and non-climatic factors such as responsible fisheries, and ecofriendly aquaculture.

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Solar Irradiation of  The Earth's Atmosphere -- Atomic and Molecular Opacities by Sultana Nahar. Ohio State University

The Sun is the primary driver of terrestrial atmospheric phenomena. It is known from space probes and ground based observations that variations in radiation and plasma fluxes flowing out of the Sun interact with all atmospheric layers down to the surface. What is the precise nature of these interactions? We examine the microscopic physics at atomic and molecular levels to demonstrate the complexity of the physical and chemical processes, and their relationships to macroscopic problems such as global climate change and more localized manifestations such as the Asian Brown Cloud (ABC). Whereas the visible and near-IR solar radiation penetrates through, more energetic components in the UV and the X-ray are absorbed by the upper layers.

The variations in solar activity and particle and radiation output relates to several key features: (i) the 12-year solar maximum-minimum cycle, (ii) slow and constant solar wind and radiation, (iii) huge, non-periodic eruptions in solar flares and coronal mass ejections, (iv) nearly equipartition of energy between particle and radiation fluxes. Multi-wavelength spectroscopy from satellites such as the Solar Heliospheric Observatory elucidate the nature of these varations. However, the analysis and interpretation of these data poses an immense challenge to theoretical models.

The accuracy of matter-radiation models in any source depends on the precision of fundamental atomic and molecular data. These data require large-scale computations, generally carried out on supercomputers. I will describe some of these calculations using state-of-the-art codes for elemental and molecular species such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and their compounds. These computations employ a suite of powerful R-matrix codes, as well as atomic and molecular structure codes. A vast amount of radiative and collisioinal data are needed to construct tables of monochromatic opacities of the atmospheric constituents as functions of temperature and density, such as in solar and stellar opacities computed under the International Opacity Project.

We plan to explore the sensitivity of numerical simulations to accurately predict the response of the Earth's atmosphere to changes in elemental and molecular composition. For example, what is the effect of including new high-accuracy photoionization cross sections and radiative transition probabilities for C, N, O, H2O, etc. in climate models? How do temporal-spatial and temperature-density dependencies of fundamental physical and chemical parameters and rates affect the absorption of solar radiation by the ABC? These studies should lead to an improved understanding of global processes, and answers to these questions.

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Messages from FAO High Level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy by Selvaraju Ramasamy. Natural Resources Management and Environment Department, FAO

The High-Level Conference on World Food Security: The Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy held at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy on 3-5 June 2008 discussed the challenges that climate change, bioenergy and soaring food prices pose to world food security. Following significant discussion and negotiations, the conference concluded with the adoption by acclamation of a declaration calling on the international community to increase assistance for developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and those that are most negatively affected by high food prices. The timeliness of the Conference was widely acknowledged by participants and countries agreed that the issues of food, bioenergy and climate change are all closely linked.

On climate change, the declaration called to address question of how to increase the resilience of present food production systems to challenges posed by climate change. The conference urged governments to assign appropriate priority to the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, in order to create opportunities for the world’s smallholder farmers and fishers, including indigenous people, in particular vulnerable areas, to participate in, and benefit from financial mechanisms and investment flows to support climate change adaptation, mitigation and technology development, transfer and dissemination. FAO assured the members to support the establishment of agricultural systems and sustainable management practices that positively contribute to the mitigation of climate change and ecological balance.

On the issue of biofuels, the conference concluded that it is essential to address the challenges and opportunities posed by biofuels, in view of the world’s food security, energy and sustainable development needs. The members are convinced that in-depth studies are necessary to ensure that production and use of biofuels is sustainable in accordance with the three pillars of sustainable development and take into account the need to achieve and maintain global food security. The conference called upon relevant inter-governmental organizations, national governments, partnerships, the private sector, and civil society, to foster a coherent, effective and results-oriented international dialogue on biofuels in the context of food security and sustainable development needs.

One hundred eighty-one countries participated in the FAO Food Summit – 43 were represented by their Head of State or Government and 100 by high-level Ministers. Sixty non-governmental and civil society organizations were present. Overall, 5 159 people attended the conference and 1 298 of them were journalists covering the event. The conference was preceded by a series of eight expert meetings on major thematic areas and two stakeholder consultations (civil society and private sector). Additional details can be found on the conference website (

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A Framework for Regional Cooperation on Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in South Asia by Sanjay K Srivastava. SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC)

SAARC Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) is the product of a collective vision to harness regional cooperation and enhance the resilience of vulnerable South Asia to the natural disasters. The SDMC came into the existence in late 2006 to demonstrate this. With SDMC taking the roots, there are efforts put in place to enable regional cooperation, which has been hitherto a missing dimension in the context of South Asia. SDMC is mandated address the regional issues pertaining to disaster management within SAARC Disaster Management Framework, regionally contextualized version of Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA).  

Climate change has created newer grounds for disaster vulnerability in South Asia. The political leadership of the region has been sensitive to this cause and SAARC as a regional platform has made efforts to address the disaster vulnerability emanating from climate change collectively. The Twenty-ninth Session of SAARC Council of Ministers, the SAARC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change on July 3, 2008 at Dhaka signals a new beginning by adopting the SAARC Action Plan on Climate Change. While SAARC Regional Centres form the multi-thematic viable institutional networks taking the Action Plan on Climate Change forward, SDMC has placed priorities on building regional cooperative mechanism addressing Climate Change Risks, Impacts and Adaptation and also developing a conceptual framework integrating Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategies into Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). The proposed paper intends to illustrate this conceptual framework highlighting the emerging challenges and perspectives.

There are practices in the region which bring in convergence between DRR and CCA strategies, while there are also areas identified, especially on institutional and programmatic fronts, responsible for the existing divergence. Harnessing the advances in ICTs, Space and the recent progress made in Early Warning Systems as well as networking of the knowledge institutions enable integrating the methods, tools & techniques of DRR with the multi-sectoral dimensions of CCA in the operational arena. Proof-of-the-concept could be seen if climate related disaster risk ‘hotspots’ are targeted for designing risk reduction strategies and integrating climate, weather & EWS information in decision makings for the causes and purposes common to both DRR & CCA. Following the participatory approach wherein the concerns and voices of all SAARC member countries find expressions, SDMC is evolving a road map addressing the growing vulnerability of region due to climate change. 

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JICA’s Approach of Climate Change and Adaptation --Towards wise management of water and land by Mikio Ishiwatari. Japan International Cooperation Agency

New Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will start in October 2008 after merging Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).  JICA and JBIC jointly announced the approach of climate change in April 2008 according to Cool Earth 50 and Cool Earth Partnership of the Japanese Government. 

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MLIT), Japan conducted the simulation studies of climate change affects in the water sector in Japan, and found serious risks, such as the drastic decrease of safety levels against floods, 50 percent increase of population in risk areas against high tides, serious water shortage in a rice planting season.  The basic concept of “Sustainable and Adaptable Society against Water Disasters’’ was recommended to adapt these affects.  This concept includes paradigm shifts: (1) from “zero damage” to “zero casualty”, (2) from equal protection to prioritizing strategic areas, (3) from structure measures first to integration between structure and non-structure measures, in particular land use management. 

JICA started the adaptation projects of the climate change, such as counter measures against glacial lake out burst floods in the Himalayan region, sea rise in the Pacific region.  In the Philippines, a JICA flood management study in a Metro Manila suburb found that the flood peak volume will be increase by 25 – 50% in 2050 because of climate change. Land use management must be jointly considered to mitigate damages in addition to structure measures. In Kenya, JICA is supporting community-based adaptation activities in flood management.  Also, JICA is supporting capacity development projects in Argentine, and will start the training courses of capacity development for Asian countries officers.

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Asia-Pacific Gateway to Climate and Development by Satoshi Iemoto. Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center, Japan (OECC)

The presentation will introduce Japan’s Initiative to support developing countries that are willing to achieve both GHG emissions reduction and sustainable development.  Under “the Cool Earth Partnership”, Japan established a new financial mechanism,  on the scale of US$10 billion in 2008.  This mechanism is expected to accelerate efforts to In this line, the Ministry of the Environment, Japan(MOEJ), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCA),  launched a platform i, “Asia-Pacific Gateway to Climate and Development”, which helps  developing countries incubate co-benefits projects and elaborate science-based adaptation strategies, by providing useful information and policy tools to realize integrated efforts to address climate change and development.

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Metrics for Mainstreaming Adaptation in Agriculture by SVRK Prabhakar and Ancha Srinivasan. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)

A wide range of options for adaptation to climate change is available in the agricultural sector. Prioritizing and monitoring such options for their effectiveness is vital for efficient utilization of financial, technological and human resources, and for addressing the issue of accountability in climate actions. However, the literature on measures to prioritize and monitor agricultural adaptations and on ways to assess the extent of integration of climate change adaptation into agricultural development and policy has been extremely limited. The objective of this presentation is to explore the concept of “adaptation metrics” and examine its utility in the agricultural sector at various scales ranging from a cropping system to the national level.

In April 2008, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) organized an international expert consultation on “adaptation metrics” in agriculture and water sectors. Adaptation metrics may be defined as the quantitative or semi-quantitative measures to monitor the effectiveness of adaptation actions. The experts concluded that adaptation metrics should be policy-relevant, transferable, context-specific, and comparable. They should capture the multi-dimensional nature of climate change impacts and the diversity in perceptions of stakeholders on their utility in decision making. Further should be applicable to diverse geographical and socioeconomic contexts and valid for a considerable period of time at both local and national levels. Some adaptation metrics in agriculture explored at the meeting included stability of crop yield above a threshold level with the threshold linked to the national food security needs, household income (with some of it contributed from non-farm sources), number of people below poverty line, % of malnourished population, and soil organic content. Developing a comprehensive set of metrics is challenging however. The metrics may be qualitative and quantitative indicators, direct and proxy and they may be suggested by external sources or chosen locally. Qualitative metrics are as important as quantitative measures, especially in data-poor regions and contexts. However, appropriate metrics may be identified by developing a framework that links adaptation actions and climate vulnerability in the agriculture sector. This presentation highlights some challenges and potential solutions in developing adaptation metrics in the agriculture sector.

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Global Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia: An Adaptation and Mitigation Framework by Pramod Aggarwal. Indian Agricultural Research Institute

South Asia is home to nearly 22% of the world’s population, including 40 percent of the world's poor. Agriculture plays a critical role in terms of employment and livelihood security for a large majority of people in all countries of the region. The region is prone to climatic extremes, which regularly impact agricultural production and farmers’ livelihood. Producing enough food for the increasing population in a background of reducing resources in a changing climate scenario, while minimizing environmental degradation is a challenging task.  Himalayan glaciers, a major source of water for the rivers in the Indo-Gangetic plains, are projected to significantly recede in future that could affect food and livelihood security of millions of people in Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh. Crop production losses in the region are projected to be between 10-40% by the end of the century. Increased production variability could be perhaps the most significant impact of global impact change on south Asian economies. Simple adaptation strategies such as change in planting dates and varieties could help in reducing impacts of climate change to some extent. Additional strategies for increasing the regions’ adaptive capacity to current climatic risks include greater use of climatic information in agricultural planning and management, conservation of resources, augmenting production, strengthening pest surveillance, and improving policy for land use and natural resource management. In addition to these, land use planning using integrated assessment approach, development of stress-tolerant genotypes, improved water storage and management, and evolving a regional food security program would further assist in managing future climate change and risks.

South Asian agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, primarily due to methane emission from rice paddies, enteric fermentation in ruminant animals, and nitrous oxides from application of manures and fertilizers to soils. Potential approaches to reduce these emissions include midseason drainage or alternate drying in rice, increasing nitrogen use efficiency and soil carbon, and improvement in livestock diet. Clear inclusion of agricultural GHG mitigation options in future international agreements would lead to improved soil fertility, higher income for the farmers, and food security. Regional collaboration in agricultural adaptation to and mitigation of climate change would be useful for South Asia.





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