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Global Environmental Change and Food Systems

Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) was launched in 2001 as a 10-year, comprehensive programme of international, interdisciplinary research focused on understanding the links between food security and global environmental change. GECAFS will improve understanding of the relationship between food systems and the Earth System to deliver science-based tools for analysing the socioeconomic and environmental consequences of adaptation strategies. These will be designed to help policy-makers and managers evaluate the best options for reducing vulnerability of food systems to global environmental change while minimising further environmental degradation.



 To determine strategies to cope with the impacts of global environmental change on food systems and to assess the environmental and socio-economic consequences of adaptive responses aimed at improving food security.

This goal will be achieved by improving understanding of the interactions between food systems and the Earth System's key socioeconomic and biogeophysical components. The research agenda is specifically targeted towards delivering the new science necessary to underpin policy formulation for improving food security in the face of global environmental change.



GECAFS is delivering a number of science-based products to help achieve the long-term aims, for example:

  1.  An analytical framework for food systems research based on food availability, access and utilisation, to help assess food system sensitivities to GEC;
  2. Analytical methods to assess the factors that make food systems vulnerable to GEC, and to assess policy, and management options for reducing exposure to risk and/or increasing coping capacity to deal with environmental stresses caused by GEC;
  3. Region-specific scenarios of future socioeconomic, ecological and environmental conditions involving food systems;
  4. Decision support systems to communicate GEC issues to policy-makers and to analyse how different adaptation options for food systems may then affect the environment, society and economies; and
  5. Assessment of a number of current regional food systems, their vulnerability to GEC and their policy contexts for possible adaptation options.

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