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FANRPAN Co-organises Session on Food Security at Global Environmental Change Conference
Cape Town, South Africa
5 May 2008 - 9 May 2008
GCAFS-SAF


FANRPAN is co-organising a session on "Interactions between Global Environmental Change, Food System Activities and Food Security in Africa" at the fourth International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) Congress in Cape Town, South Africa. The Congress is from 5 to 9 May, while the food security session is on 8th May. At the Congress, prominent international researchers and policy makers will be sharing new knowledge and ideas on the theme "Sustainable Livelihoods in a Changing Earth System." Africa is the continent that is most vulnerable to these environmental changes, making the conference especially timely and relevant this year.

Social, economic and political factors are increasing food insecurity in many parts of Africa. Changes in the environment, and particularly those related to climate, are further complicating what is already a food insecure situation for many. These interactive stresses are affecting all aspects of the food systems which underpin food security at local, national, regional and continental levels. Food system activities include (i) producing food, (ii) processing and packaging food, (iii) distributing and retailing food, and (iv) consuming food. By and large, each contributes to further environmental degradation. Adaptation pathways therefore need to be developed that both improve food security and minimise further environmental damage associated with these activities. This session, led by African researchers, aims to identify what aspects of each of these sets of activities make African food systems vulnerable to the added complications that Global Environmental Change (GEC) is bringing, and identify possible adaptation options to deliver outcomes which better support the key food security issues of access to food, utilisation of food and availability of food. Following a brief overview of GECAFS (Global Environmental Change and Food Systems) "food systems" concepts and the GECAFS regional research programme that has been endorsed by NEPAD and FARA, the session will comprise oral presentations, each of which will examine the interactions between GEC and one of the sets of "Activities" in the food system.

The session is organised by GCAFS-SAF in collaboration with COMESA, FANRPAN and International Council for Science (ICU)-Africa, while FANRPAN is the convener on behalf of the GCAFS-SAF Regional Steering Committee. Further information is available at www.igbp2008.co.za. Dr Douglas Merrey, Director of Research, will represent FANRPAN.

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