Independent Dialogue on Participatory and Inclusive Climate Risk Management for Resilient and Climate Friendly Food Systems

Food systems around the globe are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which are set to become more frequent and intense over the coming decades. Crop cultivation, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as related sectors such as forestry are heavily affected by changes in weather patterns, extreme weather events, and slow-onset processes such as sea level rise, soil degradation, and loss of ecosystem services.

On June 3rd 2021, SLYCAN Trust hosted an independent dialogue on participatory and inclusive climate risk management for resilient and climate friendly food systems. The aim of the event was to facilitate a discussion on solutions to be introduced under the Action Track 5 of UN Food Systems Summit, build resilience to vulnerabilities and shocks, and identify entry points for integrating context-specific and holistic risk management approaches into national and international policies, plans, processes, and existing infrastructure. Prof. Saleemul Huq, Mr. Lesley Ndlovu, Mr. Duncan Williamson, and Mr. Daniel Stadtmüller were among the speaker panel. 

Speaking during the dialogue, Prof. Saleemul Huq, the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development and co-chair of Action Track 5 of the UN Food Systems Summit, gave a brief overview of the UN Food Systems Summit which was conducted with the UN General Assembly meeting. He highlighted three action areas under the Action Track 5,

  1. Making food systems more resilient to the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and economic shocks.
  2. Food as a human right: We already have the right to education and freedom, and we also have the right to food. Food is no longer just a commodity; it is something that everyone has a right to obtain in an adequate amount and in nutritional balance.
  3. Climate resilient pathways for food systems going forward: Linking food systems to the climate change issue at the global and national levels, linking food into the national development plans, adaptation plans, and mitigation plans.

Mr. Lesley Ndlovu, CEO of African Risk Capacity Limited, emphasized the dramatic increase in climate change impacts in Africa, as well as the importance of risk transfer and resilience. He noted that the frequency and severity of weather-related disasters is increasing, along with unprecedented levels of droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones, all of which have devastating effects on agricultural and food systems in general. He also referenced African Risk Capacity Limited, a climate change mitigation and adaptation mechanism, emphasizing the vital importance of developing climate change mitigation and adaptation mechanisms. The ARC Group focuses on enabling countries to strengthen their disaster risk management systems and access rapid and predictable financing when disaster strikes to protect the food security and livelihoods of their vulnerable populations. During a question and answer session a participant brought a question about the possibility of parametric insurance miscalculations. Mr. Lesley responded by stating that it is one of parametric insurance’s fundamental flaws, explaining that parametric insurance is based on a model rather than actual losses. He also mentioned the speed of payouts as an advantage of parametric insurance, claiming that there is no need to assess real losses using single losses, farmers, or districts, allowing insurers to settle claims faster.

Mr. Daniel Stadtmüller, Team Leader, Insuresilience Secretariat, Global Partnership and German Corporation for International Cooperation, spoke at the dialogue about how disasters have a greater impact on people who rely on natural resource-based activities for their livelihoods, such as small-holder farmers. He also stated that poor and more vulnerable populations are less able to recover faster after a disaster, and that this effect varies by community, geography, and gender. He emphasized the necessity of fostering resilience at all levels while also ensuring that no one is left behind. He explained the multi stakeholder partnership, which was established in 2017 to serve as a central global platform for scaling up disaster risk financing and insurance solutions, with the goal of providing financial protection against natural disasters.

During the breakout group session, participants discussed solutions to tackle climate and disaster risk along the agricultural supply and value chain to create resilient food systems, ensure global access to food, and utilize both innovative and pre-existing financial mechanisms to reach out to financially vulnerable agricultural communities. 

The virtual dialogue saw a high level of participation and provided participants with information on aspects of participatory and inclusive climate risk management for resilient and climate friendly food systems, as well as an overall awareness of the significance and need for climate risk management mechanisms related to food systems.