Dialogue on Scaling Up Risk Management for Food Security and Agriculture

Session number 4 Room: Al Khansaa

Key Messages

  1. The most food insecure, poor and vulnerable people are those at most risk of climate change. Scaling up actions that ensure food and nutrition security and help manage their livelihood risks must be prioritized by policy makers.
  2. Managing risks goes beyond addressing losses and damage and is part of a broader effort to build resilience and ensure food security. Effective risk management requires regional, national and local stakeholders to integrate a range of available risk management tools into plans and strategies that  create opportunities to build resilience, promote sustainable growth and adapt livelihoods to a changing climate.
  3. National safety nets is a key vehicles and enabling environment for scaling up risk management and climate adaptation. Establishing safety nets for the poor and most vulnerable must be a policy and programme goal for all societies.
  4. Successful risk management are partnership driven. Partnerships start with people and often include public and private actors, each having their unique role to play in providing ownership and sustainability, and in bringing innovation and additional capacity to programmes, tools and services to meet  current and future climate risks.
  5. Assessing and understanding climate related risks is a precondition for scaling up risk management. Ensuring access to data for those who manage risks at all lelves requires translating data into tailored user information services in many different formats based on local needs and contexts.

Session summary

‘Mission possible’ was the main slogan for the dialogue on scaling up risk management for food security and agriculture. Through an interactive dialogue between discussants and the audience there was broad agreement that scaling up risk management is not only possible, it is already being done. Several concrete programmes such as Oxfam and WFP’s Rural Resilience Initiative (R4), IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), and MCII’s regional risk initiative in the Carribean, and others were highlighted as examples and as as providing important lessons on bringing solutions to scale.

But much more is needed, and from the discussions a number of key lessons and areas for future work crystallized, including:

  1. The importance of assessing risks and having sufficient information and data about climate risks available as a precondition for effective risk management. Scaling up requires ensuring that risk managers have access to climate information through tailor-made services, such as seasonal and short-term forecasts, fit for specific contexts at the local level. Specific focus must also be put on equality to ensure women’s and other marginalized groups have access to these services.
  2. The necessity to regard risk management as working best when different risk management tools are integrated and mutually supporting, for example integrating early warning systems, risk reduction activities such as community water and soil management, risk transfer mechanisms such as index-insurance, which taken together better promote food security and more resilient livelihoods. This exemplifies that despite current significant interest in insurance as a risk transfer tool, insurance alone will only be successful in managing risks if combined with other tools that reduce underlying risks. Risk management must also be layered at various geographical levels, from local, to national, regional and international, in order to deliver the best and most cost-effective results.
  3. The best partnerships include the three invaluable “P”:s: People-Public-Private. Partnerships require energy, innovation and ideas, but most importantly people to do the legwork. Different partners have different functions; public stakeholders (and public finance) can provide an enabling environment and help provide first investments to jump start markets and help get past the “first-mover”-problem, private stakeholders can help scale up market based solutions and ensure sustainability etc. Importantly, different partners also have different capacities, expertise, and sometimes objectives, and there is considerable transaction costs involved in partnership action – however – all successful examples have involved several partners working side by side to deliver benefit and impact.
  4. Scaling up climate risk management must be part of broader development plans, for example food security and poverty reduction strategies, initiatives that aim at building resilience,  national adaptation plans (NAPs), and as much as possible risk management should be integrated into these types of ‘regular’ rural and urban development programmes. In the context of the most food insecure, the poorest and the most vulnerable farmers, social protection and safety nets offer critical platforms and vehicles for scaling up risk management.  Several examples of how safety nets can be a platform for scaling up already exists and considerable lessons are being learned. Scaling up can also be done at the grassroots level and bottom-up (in combination with efforts at the national level), for example from district to district, through cross-fertilization, farmer to farmer learning sessions and similar. However, in general there are severe capacity needs, including building institutions and infrastructure, to support scale up in the near future.


Related links 

Blogs from this session:

Insurance can help farmers face climate risks

More session information ↓

Brief synopsis of the issue
The world is increasingly characterized by a changing risk environment. Climate-related hazards have become more severe and less predictable. Managing climate risk is a prerequisite for poor, food insecure people to move out of poverty, and ensure global food and nutrition security. Underlying risks related to health, market volatility, degradation of natural resources, and poor governance are further compounded by climate change, putting opportunities for growth and development beyond the reach of food insecure and vulnerable people dependent on agriculture.With climate change, these risks will manifest climate-related hazards on an unprecedented scale, especially impacting the most vulnerable and food insecure. Ensuring that risk management is scaled up at all levels is therefore a priority for food insecure and poor smallholders and communities. With effective risk management, vulnerable groups will be better placed to anticipate, absorb and recover from climate shocks and stresses.Scaling up risk management in a manner that is useful and brings real tools that help food insecure and vulnerable communities needs careful understanding of local contexts and coping behaviors, sound analysis and assessments and the appropriate enabling environments – including new partnerships and effective institutions and governance structures.Speakers in this roundtable will focus their attention on key issues related to scaling up risk management under a changing climate. 

Agenda for the session:

  • Introduction of panelists and topic by the moderator, Richard Choularton (WFP)
  • Panel presentations
    • Gernot Laganda (IFAD)
    • Arame Tall (CCAFS-CGIAR)
    • Kitt Batten, USAID Global Climate Change Coordinator
    • Koko Warner (UNU) – tbc
    • David Waskow (Oxfam America) – tbc
  • Discussion of questions and interaction with audience
  • Wrap up and summary of key points

Questions to be addressed:

  1. What are some of the existing examples of supporting food insecure, poor and vulnerable groups in managing climate risks? Are these relevant for an environment marked by increasing risks and uncertainty?
  2. How do we obtain reliable information about managing, reducing and transferring risks? Do we have enough data – and in the right format – to take action at scale?
  3. How do we ensure that the risk management tools and approaches that are being promoted at a global level are appropriate at the local level and in conditions of extreme poverty and hunger? What are key elements of an “enabling environment”?
  4. How important are partnerships for scaling up risk management? What is the role of private-public partnerships? When are pure market solutions appropriate, and when are they not?
  5. Is there a need for the international community, and the climate negotiations, to be more convincing about the need for managing increasing risks as part of adaptation efforts? Is it useful to measure cost-effectiveness of risk management, or putting a price on risks? What is the best way to address financing and funding questions for risk management?