UK-China Side event, Poznan, 5th Dec 2008

UK-China Side event, Poznan, 5th Dec 2008

Amongst talks of supporting developing countries through funding and technology transfer, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) held a side event here at Poznan yesterday, to promote their partnership with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST).

A key example of a collaboration between an Annex 1 and a non-Annex 1 country, the project focused on climate change effects on Chinese agriculture – particularly the vulnerability of cereal crops (rice, maize and wheat) which represent a major sector in China.

The collaboration aimed to increase the understanding of impacts of climate change, and the interactions between water resources, food security, and social issues such as forced migration. The project was also designed to develop better strategies to adapt in agriculture, and applied the principles from the Bali roadmap, including:

  1. Increasing and developing evidence
  2. Capacity Building
  3. Knowledge and Technology Transfer

UK government agencies such as the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research and the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) provided modelling and future climate scenarios which underpinned the project. They worked closely with government departments (DECC and DFID) and the University of East Anglia (UEA) to determine the climate change impacts in China.

The research focussed on the region on Ningxia and concluded that a 3-5 degrees temperature rise is expected by the 2080s, reducing crop yields by  up to 10-15% by 2020. Water scarcity is already an issue in China, and is expected to present further issues for agriculture in the next 80 years. Key recommendations included a cross departmental group for addressing adaptation in the region, awareness raising of climate change impacts – particularly among farmers, and the integration of climate concerns within ongoing national rural development programmes.

Whilst the panel and project members were more than happy to share information and data with other countries, they did stress the challenges and lessons learnt from the partnership, which must be considered in future projects and communication. Speakers also considered other socio economic challenges China is facing – such as poverty alliviation for example, and highlighted that these may have a higher priority but work on climate change has been done and there is a base to build upon.

Other project partners included Tyndall Centre – Oxford University, AEA, and the Universities of Edinburgh, Reading, Cambridge and Cranfield, as well as members of the Chinese government.

Further details of the report can be found here.

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