International experts call for coordinated action to mitigate climate change impact on agriculture

Symposium organised by WMO and FAO recommends various measures to tackle the challenge of growing more food in the next 20 years

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 29 October 2014

The symposium noted that more food was needed for a growing world population, expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050 (Image Courtesy:

In the backdrop of the warnings about an impending food crisis because of climate change, made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), international experts have called for improved weather predictions and coordinated action to mitigate impacts of global warming.

The International Symposium on Weather and Climate Extremes, Food Security and Biodiversity (ISCEFS), which ended on October 24, released its final declaration on Tuesday, along with a number of recommendations to tackle the challenge of growing more food in the next 20 years, in the face of increasing climatic changes.

The symposium was organised by the World Meteorological Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, in collaboration with eleven co-sponsors, at the George Mason University in Fairfax, USA.

The symposium was organised a few days after IPCC released the full version of its Fifth Assessment Report titled ‘Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability’ on October 16.
Experts from UN Agencies, governments, universities and research organisations and from private sector agencies in the USA and 15 countries around the world participated in the symposium. The issues of weather and climate extremes, food security and biodiversity as well as impacts in different regions around the world were discussed in three plenary sessions; 17 concurrent sessions and four breakout group sessions spread over four days.

Below are some salient recommendations from the symposium:

-To facilitate decision-making by user communities, predictability and prediction studies of extreme weather events at lead times from one day to two weeks and extreme climate events from one season to one decade should be carried out.

-To meet stakeholder needs, developing countries need improved data from better observation networks (more stations, denser networks, complete data, near-real time data), and coordinated action across regions and continents.

-Standardised criteria and methodologies for defining weather and climate extremes, and more consistent reference periods are urgently needed by both research and applications communities.
-Priority should be given to systematic monitoring of the impacts of weather and climate extremes.

-Ocean and satellite data of consistent quality should be operationalized and maintained. Systematic efforts should be made to collect soil moisture and groundwater data worldwide.

For a complete list of the recommendations, log on to: (

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