Managing Climate-Driven Pests And Diseases In West Africa


On Tuesday, 30 June 2020, IITA will hold a webinar on climate-driven pests and diseases in West Africa. The webinar will take place from 2 to 4 pm West African time.

The “One-Health platform for climate-driven pests and diseases in West Africa” is under the CGIAR’s Two Degree Initiative for Food and Agriculture. This Initiative aims to address the risks of climate change and how the world’s food systems and small-scale farmers can adapt at the speed and scale needed.

If agricultural and food systems are to advance, CGIAR and partners need to provide radical innovations in technology and practice. To put those radical innovations in place, CGIAR insitituted eight Regional Grand Challenges, each with a different focus, of which the “Two Degree Initiative” is the overall umbrella.

The One-Health regional grand challenge, lead by IITA through its Biorisk Management Facility (BIMAF) in Benin, will support farmers in managing biorisks, cross-government approaches to address climate-driven food-health risks, institutionalized capabilities for early detection of emerging threats and rapid response, and new technologies for biocontrol. West Africa will serve as a model for what can be achieved before scaling to other regions.

According to May-Guri Saethre, IITA’s Deputy Director-General for Research and Development, “Each Regional/Subregional Challenge is structured around three interlinked implementation strategies: (i) improving access to climate-smart technologies and agroecological practices, (ii) enhancing climate-informed digital advisory services, and decision support, and (iii) supporting policy and institutional reforms. Technology-focused R4D is a “given” for CGIAR; thus, in this Initiative, CGIAR will step up research and action, through developing global thematic groups that link to all the Regional/Subregional Challenges: learning lessons, promoting South-South learning on these topics, and linking to global processes.”

Strategic priorities
The One-Health platform for climate-driven pests and diseases in West Africa has four strategic priorities:

• SP1- Horizon scanning and building Early Warning & Rapid Response Systems, which aims to provide seasonal and long-term forecast and management options for biorisks affecting plants, animals, people and the environment in West and Central Africa. Specific objectives are: (a) Data infrastructure on climate and environmental variables and biorisk characteristics; (b) Prevention, surveillance, diagnostic, and ICT tools at local, national, and regional level.

• SP2- Managing climate-driven biorisks, which will prioritize and manage the most serious existing and emerging biorisks in agriculture. Specific objectives are: (a) Common tool set for assessing and managing biorisks; (b) Biopesticides, biofertilizers, and biological control agents developed and deployed against current and high-risk future biotic stresses including agricultural land degradation.
• SP3- Harnessing high throughput technologies for food safety and health for mega-cities in West Africa. Its aim is to improve food safety and health for mega-cities in West Africa under a climate change context. Specific objectives are: (a) Climate-smart and biorisk resilient cropping systems and crop varieties; (b) Enhanced human health in relation to water, soil, plant and animal health for sustainable quality food production.
• SP4- Mainstreaming biorisk management into national and regional development programs, It will establish a platform for sharing information on climate change-related biorisks and to influence policy dialog and advocacy. Specific objectives are: (a) Updated regulatory framework on biorisk management; (b) Strengthened capacity of national and regional bodies on the framework and on the use of biorisk.

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