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Transforming policy and practice towards agroecological transitions for resilient and just food and farming systems in a changing climate

Transforming policy and practice towards agroecological transitions for resilient and just food and farming systems in a changing climate


British Council Research Links Climate Challenge

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Total value: £49,298
Value to Coventry University: £10,000


University of Cape Town (UCT)


Michel Pimbert, Nina Moeller, Bastien Dieppoise, and George McAllister


15th February 2021 - 30th April 2022

CAWR Theme

Policies and institutions for resilient food and water systems
Fundamental Processes and Resilience

Sustainable Development Goals

GOAL 2: Zero hunger
GOAL 5: Gender equality
GOAL 10: Reduced inequalities
GOAL 13: Climate action
GOAL 15: Life on Land

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Project overview

In the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow, this collaboration between CAWR and the University of Cape Town will forge ECR networks between the UK and South Africa to co-generate research focusing on: 1) Adaptation & Resilience: to promote social and political transitions towards climate resilient food systems through adaptive farming strategies; 2) Nature: to research the application of nature-based farming solutions to protect and restore ecosystem functions on which soils, water, livelihoods and climate depend; and 3) Finance: to advocate for a transformation of international agriculture funding and investment priorities, and public procurement in support of more equitable and resilient food and farming systems.

Invitation to Early Career Researchers to participate

Are you interested in building your network of peers and mentors on transdisciplinary and action research for climate justice? We invite early career researchers (ECRs) from South Africa and the UK, from academia and civil society organisations to join a cohort of 40 early career researchers to join us in this 10-month process from May 2021 to March 2022. Find out more.

Researcher Links Workshops

The purpose of the workshops is to develop an interdisciplinary network of ECRs in South Africa (SA) and UK specialising in food and farming systems transformation in an era of acute climate uncertainty. Forty ECRs from academic institutions and civil society organisations in the UK and SA will be invited, through an open process, to participate in a series of online workshops. These are designed to focus on the 3 key themes (resilience & adaptation, nature and financing) and contribute research outputs to COP26. Workshops aim to build research skills, facilitate networking, and to prepare ECRs to develop collaborative proposals to be presented and evaluated by a panel. The process provides an opportunity to bridge different 'ways of knowing' and engage with deliberative consensus-forming processes across disciplinary perspectives. With a focus on re-orientating financing for agroecological transitions to stimulate adaptation and resilience through nature-based farming solutions, workshops link closely with the SDGs. As climate change, food systems, seed, soil and water, gender and political ecology specialists we will promote critical ECR collaborations between natural and social scientists, drawn from both academia and civil society networks across urban and rural spaces.

Six workshops (totalling 18 hours) will take place over three months (May-July) in 3-hour sessions delivered in the mornings and evenings to optimise accessibility.

Challenge Prize Research Projects

Mentored by specialists within the project team, an anticipated four successful projects will be awarded a Challenge Prize to conduct transdisciplinary research over a period of six months. This research will then be translated and communicated into various forms of accessible media.

The Challenge Prizes will facilitate the co-production of research with vulnerable, small-scale producers and other food system actors in SA inhabiting some of the most fragile landscapes exposed to acute water scarcity, soil erosion and land pressures, who are at the forefront of grassroots initiatives that respond to climate change impacts on food and farming systems. Our focus emphasises the co-generation of socially inclusive research capable of collectively restoring ecosystem functions and building adaptive capacities for climate resilient food & farming.

NOTE: In anticipation of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, and with the climate costs of UK>SA travel, ECRs will be expected to work creatively and divide their work packages. While having joint responsibility for conceptualisation, analysis and Challenge project reporting, UK ECRs may be expected to undertake desktop research on ie. policy drivers; while SA ECRs undertake COVID-compliant fieldwork on their impacts (ie. on natural resources, landscapes and livelihoods), using video or other tools to share such as focus group discussions, iterviews and field observations with UK colleagues.

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