African climate scientists in agriculture
The One Planet Fellowship, a $20 million initiative dedicated to supporting research on climate change adaptation, is an academic mentoring scheme which aims to support Africa’s smallholder farmers in adapting to a changing climate.
This year, One Planet Fellowship has collaborated with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) to raise awareness and interest in the value of women engaging in research and development.
Launched at the 2017 One Planet Summit in Paris, hosted by President Emmanuel Macron, the One Planet Fellowship seeks to boost climate research in Africa.
The Fellowship aims to support the careers of 630 climate scientists throughout Africa and Europe over the next four years, by building leadership, strengthening research skills and establishing networks across different continents, disciplines and generations.
The first 45 One Planet Laureate Candidates from 12 African countries convened in Casablanca, Morocco, for a week-long training program on integrating gender issues into their research so that they can effectively respond to the challenges, needs, and priorities of diverse populations.
Fellows in the field with their mentor, 2019. Credit: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)
Dubbed the One Planet Fellowship Science week, this meeting also established research partnerships and networks for evidence-based advocacy for environmentally friendly policies and sustainable management practices.
In addition, the Laureate Candidates took part in a roundtable discussion, which highlighted efforts to help smallholder farmers in Africa cope with climate change. Bringing together partners and African scientists working on climate adaptation, the event showcased the progress of the Fellowship so far and its plans for expansion.
Investing in the next generation of African agricultural researchers must include learning how to place gender and social inclusion at its heart.
Africa is widely accepted to be disproportionately affected by climate change. The continent contributes less than three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but stands on the frontline of the economic and social consequences of climate change while receiving just five per cent of climate funding.
Smallholder farmers are among the most affected, with rising temperatures, changes in rainfall and extreme weather impacting food production. In North Africa, yields from farming are expected to fall as a result of reduced rainfall and declining water availability for irrigated agricultural production, in particular along the Nile River.
Advances in Crop Science and Technology Journal