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SREX: Lessons for the agricultural sector

The Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in response to a recognised need to provide specific advice on climate change, extreme weatherWeather refers to the state of the atmosphere with regard to temperature, cloudiness, rainfall, wind, and other meteorological conditions. (UKCIP) and climate events (‘climate extremes’). The SREX report was written over two and a half years, compiled by 220 expert authors, 19 review editors and takes account of almost 19,000 comments. It went through three rigorous drafting processes with expert and government review. The findings were approved by the world’s governments following a four-day meeting, where the Summary for Policy Makers was agreed. It thus provides the most complete scientific assessment available to date and describes the immediate and long-term action required to manage the risks we face. It comprises of a policy summary released in November 2011 and a full report released in March 2012 (available online here).

This thematic brief, Managing Climate Extremes and Disasters in the Agricultural Sector: Lessons from the IPCC SREX Report, summarises the key findings of the report relevant to the agricultural sector. It draws exclusively on material from SREX. It includes an assessment of the science and the implications for society and sustainable developmentThe concept of sustainable development was introduced in the World Conservation Strategy (IUCN 1980) and had its roots in the concept of a sustainable society and in the management of renewable resources. Adopted by the WCED in 1987 and by the Rio Conference in 1992 as a process of change in .... It is intended to be useful for policy makers, decision takers and planners locally, nationally and regionally. In recognition that these readers will have many competing calls on both their time and budgets, this brief seeks to highlight key thematic findings and learning from SREX. It makes suggestions for immediate action to avoid further damage and to build a more resilient future with benefits that go beyond agricultureCultivation of the ground and harvesting of crops and handling of livestock, the primary function is the provision of food and feed..

For agriculture sectorAgriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinals and other products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, ... policy-makers and planners, or indeed anyone whose work contributes to agricultural development, this brief should prompt discussion and understanding of several questions:

1) Why are extreme events a critical issue for agricultural development?

2) How is the agriculture sector affected by the risk and impact of extreme events?

3) What actions can be taken to manage these risks?