In Bonn, CIAT scientists collect prestigious UN award

In Bonn, CIAT scientists collect prestigious UN award

Dr. Daniel Jimenez and Dr. Julian Ramirez represent the 30-plus researchers of CIAT and CCAFS working on climate services during the awarding ceremony of the 2017 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

Dr. Julian Ramirez and Dr. Daniel Jimenez today received one of the prizes of the coveted 2017 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The awarding ceremony was part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

The CIAT scientists represented the team of more than 30 researchers that work on using information and communication technologies to benefit small-scale farmers. In particular, they develop climate and agricultural forecasts for farmers using big data techniques. This groundbreaking approach is known as climate services.

“It’s great to get this award in Bonn, during COP23, on behalf of my colleagues and all those involved in this revolutionary work,” said Ramirez, climate impacts scientist who co-leads the CIAT- and CCAFS*-led winning initiative together with Jimenez. “It’s a tremendous honor for all of us to be recognized during what is the climate change event of the year.”

Since 2013, this team has worked with government institutions at national and local levels, national growers’ associations, and weather agencies in Latin America, particularly Colombia and Honduras, to provide farmers with advice on which crops to grow, and if and when to plant. The farmers were then able to choose the action that best suited their needs.

Firstly, the team set up online systems to capture and disseminate crop and climate information. Then they used innovative approaches in modelling, climate forecasting, big data analysis, and artificial intelligence to develop the recommendations for farmers. They discussed and analyzed these with local partners, who in turn shared them with farmers through an online platform, monthly bulletins, and regular meetings.

So far, this work has reached an estimated 300,000 farmers in the two countries. It also helped prevent an economic catastrophe: In 2014, 170 Colombian rice farmers dodged a staggering USD3.6 million in losses after following the advice of their national association, Fedearroz, not to plant the crop in the first of two annual growing seasons. That advice was based on information from the bulletin.

Last month, UNFCCC announced 19 activities as winners of Momentum for Change. The CIAT and CCAFS initiative won in the ICT Solutions category.


Additional information

Key partners in this award-winning work include the Colombian National Federation of Rice Growers (FEDEARROZ), the Colombian Association for Fruits and Vegetables (ASOHOFRUCOL), the National Federation of Cereal and Grain Legume Growers (FENALCE), the National Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (IDEAM), the National Directorate of Science and Technology, Honduras (DICTA),  Agronet, Local Technical Agro-climatic Committees (LTACs), the Permanent Committee for Contingencies (COPECO), and the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG).

Funders include the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS), the Climate Services for Resilience Development (CSRD) Program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State, and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

* The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security is a CIAT-led collaboration to improve food production while helping farmers adapt to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The webcast of the 2017 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities awarding ceremony. Click the video (starting at 4:00:33) to get a glimpse of our winning initiative, which uses ICTs to help small-scale farmers make smarter decisions.