Expert Panel 15

The power of many: enhancing climate change mitigation through agricultural research networks (in times of pandemics)

Thuenen Institute / Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) / University Potsdam 

Time: Thursday, 21. January 2021, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Languages: English, German

The response to Covid-19 shows how global research collaboration can accelerate science and action. The power of many is also needed to combat climate change in agriculture. It is a global and complex challenge that needs a global and multidisciplinary response.

The expert panel discussed challenges faced in different world regions and fields of research regarding mitigating agricultural greenhouse gases and provided best practice examples from research networks to tackle them. Challenges identified, among others, were: developing country-specific emission factors, maximizing soil carbon sequestration and reducing emissions from ruminants. Solutions included: regional research collaborations to improve ruminantsˇ diet quality and through strategic supplementation. By applying a standardized methodology worldwide it is possible to identify silvopastoral and similar systems as a sustainable grazing system which offers multiple wins. Cooperation between many partners enables knowledge transfer and validation of data to accelerate mitigation science.

Experts agreed on the relevance of transferring science into policy and practice. They highlighted the need for new research project designs, for instance, on-farm research projects or co-innovation projects where farmers are involved in the design of the research activity. Organized field days for relevant stakeholders and networks of best practice showcase farms can support this transformation and accelerate climate action.


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Hayden is the Special Representative of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, responsible for supporting the activities of its 64 member countries, research groups and networks and liaising with its many partner organisations.  Hayden previously served as New Zealand’s Ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.  He has been involved in issues related to climate change and agriculture since 2005, including serving as New Zealand’s negotiator for agriculture and forestry in the UNFCCC negotiations on climate change between 2006 and 2012 and as a special advisor on climate change in the New Zealand Embassy in Paris, France.

Nina Grassnick is working as a research associate in the climate coordination unit at the Thuenen Institute in Brunswick (Germany). Her project aims to strengthen research collaboration on mitigating climate change in agriculture at European level. She supports the Global Research Alliance (GRA) Secretariat team and promotes GRA activities (particularly research) in Europe. Her academic background is in international and agricultural economics. She is currently working on a social network analysis investigating interactions of actors active in the field of mitigating climate change in agriculture.

Panel guests

Dr. Claus Deblitz is an agricultural economist and works with the Thünen Institute of Farm Economics in Braunschweig, Germany. Claus acts as deputy director of the institute and specialises in the analysis of beef, sheep and pig production systems, their economics, drivers and perspectives world-wide. In this context, he has been the coordinator of the global research network agri benchmark Beef and Sheep for the last 19 years and took over the coordination of the agri benchmark Pig Network in 2015. Claus contributes 30 years professional experience in international production system analysis, benchmarking, policy, sustainability and practice change analysis.

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Dr. Verónica S. Ciganda is a principal investigator at the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INIA – URUGUAY) and Director of INIA´s Research Program of Production and Environmental Sustainability. She has led and participated in international and national research projects related to GHG emissions in livestock and agricultural production systems. The development of strategies for carbon balance production systems, through emissions mitigation and soil carbon sequestration, has been the central issue of her studies. Country specific emission factors development have been also an aim to collaborate with the National GHG inventories.

Salva Calvet is associate professor and Head of the Institute of Animal Science and Technology at Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain). He is expert in measuring and modelling emissions from livestock production systems. He coordinates the scientific network “Red REMEDIA”, which is a Spanish association of researchers involved in climate change mitigation in agriculture, livestock and forestry sectors. Red REMEDIA aims to enhance multidisciplinary research among research groups, to identify and propose scientific actions sustained over time for an adequate understanding of mitigation measures, to articulate national and international research initiatives, and to collaborate with production sectors and policy makers.

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Hubert Wiggering is a Land Scientist, has been Director of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) in Münchberg for years and now is holding a professorship for Land Sciences at Potsdam University. He is member of several policy advisory boards in the field of Sustainability.

Furthermore, he is operating a complemental research project for COP in Agriculture, linking research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the framework of the German initiative of promoting ‘mitigation of climate change in the agricultural sector and adaptation of agricultural production to the effects of global warming´.

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