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Challenge

Efforts to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic have sent shockwaves across the globe. The immediate measures to preserve human life and bring the health crisis under control have been wholly necessary, but as restrictions on modern life remain in place for months to come, disruptions to food systems will inevitably become more acute. The number of hungry people, already at 800 million, could double as part of the wider fallout from the pandemic.

As a global organization working at the nexus of agriculture, the environment, and nutrition, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT is in a position to help countries avert further catastrophic hits on their food systems by stress-testing promising quick-response options, monitoring and mitigating current impacts, improving and accelerating responses, and facilitating recovery.

Solution

As an immediate response, the Alliance has quickly mobilized its resources and expertise to address immediate needs, including helping our host countries meet short-term food security requirements, providing real-time information on COVID-19-driven shifts in food consumer behavior, and maintaining our global collections of seeds and germplasm ready for deployment to farmers fields across the globe.

In the short- to medium-term, while we remain committed to our ongoing research agenda, our response to COVID-19 will focus on supporting food systems at the country level.

We have divided this response into three main areas:

  1. We will monitor impact. Our researchers have already mobilized data-gathering resources to learn how COVID-19 is influencing agricultural production and consumer behavior. This work will allow us to evaluate the extent to which country-level food systems have been disrupted by the pandemic.
     
  2. We will improve and accelerate responses. In the short- to medium-term, our impact monitoring will lead to the deployment of targeted policy recommendations and proposals to keep national food system supply chains open and thriving, even under conditions of global stress.
     
  3. We will facilitate recovery. Over the longer term, we will embed resilience in national food systems through evidence-based policy and action recommendations. We will do this by helping countries shift consumer and agricultural behavior toward increased domestic food production, improved diets, and improved resilience to future external shocks.

CGIAR's coordinated response

The CGIAR centres, including the Alliance, make available their latest research and analysis on COVID-19 to support authorities and the public in making informed decisions during the current crisis.

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During the next few weeks and months, we will tell you more about these new initiatives. We will also keep you up-to-date on the latest news from our global team of scientists and collaborators, who continue – with even greater urgency than before – their longstanding efforts to improve the health and livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable.

Our initiatives

COVID-19 makes a strong case for urban farming

In Eastern Africa, supporting urban and peri-urban farming would help respond to the devastating effects of COVID-19.

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Biodiversity: a building block for a healthier future

On the International Day for Biological Diversity, we discuss how biodiversity can be leveraged to embed resilience in our food systems and build a...

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The response from the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT to COVID-19 impacts on global food systems

The number of people affected by hunger, already a staggering 800 million, could double as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The Alliance of Bioversity...

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Earth Day 2020: Climate Action for resilient food systems

To ensure food security following the COVID-19 pandemic, we must confront the climate crisis. The Alliance discusses the continued importance of...

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Caring for the seeds of the future during the quarantine

Making sure that the collections of beans, cassava, bananas, and forages remain alive, even during the quarantine, is an essential job of the Alliance...

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