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Transforming food systems under a changing climate to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Wednesday 6 November 2019, 12:00 - 13:00
School of Earth & Environment Seminar Rooms 8.119
Philip Thornton, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Lindsay Stringer, Sustainability Research Institute (SRI)

Joint CCAFS / GFEI / Priestley / SRI seminar


Despite decades of attention to agricultural development, poverty and food insecurity remain, especially amongst rural dwellers in lower- and middle-income countries. With climate change the challenges only increase and will further intensify as extreme events and variable weather patterns make small-scale production even more challenging. Transformational change in rural livelihoods is needed for climate change adaptation and poverty alleviation. Change needs to embrace the broader food system. Several elements will need to be acted on simultaneously: co-creating new knowledge, “renovating” existing but as-yet under-utilised scientific and indigenous knowledge, bringing near-ready (possibly disruptive) new technology to bear, and sharing knowledge between all stakeholders and levels in the food system.

The University of Leeds as part of its collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) hosts the ‘Learning Platform on Partnerships and Capacity for Scaling Climate-Smart Agriculture’ at the Priestley International Centre for Climate. A major new effort of the Learning Platform is a global initiative, ‘Transforming food systems under a changing climate’, which aims to catalyse a transformation in food systems. In this seminar, the key findings from the synthesis report of this initiative will be shared by one of the authors.


Philip Thornton (Presenter) leads the ‘Priorities and Policies for Climate-Smart Agriculture’ Flagship of Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). He is hosted at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he is a Principal Scientist. He holds honorary positions with the University of Edinburgh and with CSIRO, Australia. His work includes integrated modelling at different scales, evaluating climate change impacts, and assessing and prioritizing adaptation options and policy support in smallholder farming systems. He received degrees from Reading University in the UK and Lincoln College in New Zealand. He has over thirty-five years’ experience in agricultural research for development in many countries throughout the tropics and subtropics, particularly in Africa and Latin America. He has contributed to several global assessments in the area of agriculture and food systems, and is currently a Working Group II Lead Author for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report.

Lindsay Stringer (Chair) is Professor in Environment and Development at the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.  Her research is interdisciplinary and uses theories and methods (both qualitative and quantitative) from the natural and social sciences. She takes a solutions-orientated, systems based approach that recognises the complexity of the world’s sustainable development challenges and the trade-offs and opportunities created by change. In 2017, Lindsay won a Wolfson Merit Award from the Royal Society, and in 2013, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her work on environmental change and sustainable development in drylands. In 2015 she was presented with a Women of Achievement Award. As part of the ‘Transforming food systems under a changing climate’ initiative, Lindsay led the paper ‘Adaptation and development pathways for different types of farmers’.

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