On 29 January 2020, we were delighted to host Pete Smith, Professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen and a co-investigator on GCRF-AFRICAP in a seminar hosted jointly with the Global Food and Environment Institute. As one of the convening lead authors on the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land released in August 2019, Prof Smith presented on the report’s findings with a particular emphasis on how these apply to Africa.
The report was produced by 107 experts from 52 countries and explored the interlinkage between climate change and land usage, covering a range of issues including desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. During the presentation, Prof Smith emphasised the key role of land in achieving food security but also that it could not provide the entire solution to such issues. Coordinated action is required to tackle climate change and therefore help to improve land, food security and nutrition. Prof Smith ran through a number of response options in the realms of land management, value chain management and risk management that could form part of this coordinated action, many of which have positive impacts across climate change mitigation and adaptation; delivering food security; and tackling land degradation and desertification. Early action in implementing these response options is key, particularly in Africa where many countries already face severe food security challenges. However, the barriers to implementing response options can be high and Prof Smith concluded by highlighting that programmes like AFRICAP, through our policy engagement work, can hopefully play a role in starting to address such barriers.
As well as staff and students at the University of Leeds, we were delighted to be joined by over 60 remote participants from 17 countries! If you weren’t able to make it, you can watch the recording and download the slides.