Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of Weather Volatility and Climate Change

Washington, DC - The global food system is growing more fragile. Changing climate and volatile weather patterns threaten global food production and the livelihood of small-scale farmers around the globe.

The increase in food prices in 2008, excessive heat and drought resulting in wildfires in Russia in 2010, and, most recently, the worst drought in more than 100 years in California, all are warning signs that farmers and farmers’ groups, global food producers, industry leaders, researchers, and scientists must address food security in the face of weather volatility and climate change.

Fortunately, innovations in fields, farms, kitchens, among businesses, and in laboratories and boardrooms already exist. Family farmers around the globe are addressing climate change through growing less water intensive crops, drip irrigation, permaculture practices, no-till agriculture, and much more.

These and other solutions will be the focus of the Chicago Council’s 2014 Global Food Security Symposium on Thursday, May 22nd, “Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of Weather Volatility and Climate Change.”

For those unable to attend, the event will be available via live-stream.

This all-day conference will address:

  • The climate-food nexus and what it means for food security, conflict, economic growth, and the environment.
  • The most effective approaches to making food systems more resilient to extreme weather and a changing climate.
  • Opportunities to better manage risks to agriculture and food production associated with weather and climate change.
  • The water-agriculture nexus and promising approaches to successfully managing water stresses related to food production.

Global leaders will convene to chart a course for how the U.S. government—in partnership with business, civil society, and international organizations can advance global food security.

The Symposium will also include the following speakers (among many others): Catherine Bertini, Senior Fellow, Global Agriculture Development Initiative, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Lester R. Brown, President, Earth Policy Institute; Howard W. Buffett, Trustee, Howard G. Buffett Foundation; Dan Glickman, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (Co-chair); Judith D. Schwartz, author; Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development; and many more.

Many of these participants are working to create resilience in the food system, spreading awareness, and creating solutions to advance global food security.

Schwartz, for example, is a journalist and author of Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth. She has taken a look at how our ability to turn crises—climate change, desertification, droughts, floods, and wildfires—into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. And Buffett is also concerned about improving the condition of Africa’s depleted soils and improving farm incomes. He says that “Africa needs a ‘brown revolution’ to improve soil quality and increase agricultural productivity.” 

According to Lester Brown "with 80 million more mouths to feed each year and with increasing demand for grain-intensive livestock products, the rise in temperature only adds to the stress. If we continue with business as usual on the climate front, it is only a matter of time before what we [saw] in Russia becomes commonplace.”.

Additional information