What’s your role at AICCRA and the journey that led you here?
I coordinate AICCRA’s talented team so that the project achieves its objective of accelerating the impact of CGIAR climate research in Africa. My duties include providing scientific leadership for planning, implementing, monitoring and reporting of AICCRA’s agenda including designing activities and the continual improvement of collaborative mechanisms for implementation; providing oversight of the project’s activity portfolio, including annual work plans, budgets and fund distribution, project implementation, and ensuring that reporting requirements are met; chairing AICCRA’s management committee which coordinates the implementation of the project; and being the primary contact person for the World Bank.
I am a researcher that likes to take an interdisciplinary approach using both quantitative and qualitative methods and theories from social and natural sciences to address some of the fundamental challenges imposed by climate change in the Global South. My main interest is in understanding how science can influence policy-making processes either by policy stakeholders or by farmers themselves, including the appropriation of climate information by farmers. This experience has proved useful to help informing policies that respond to climate challenges in AICCRA’s countries and regions.
At CCAFS I played a major role in leadership on partnerships and capacity for scaling Climate-Smart Agriculture. One of the most exciting things that I did while working for CCAFS was to lead the “Transforming Food Systems under a Changing Climate” initiative that involved over 200 partners aiming to realize a transformation in food systems by mobilizing knowledge and catalyzing action. Before CCAFS, I worked at the Sustainable Environmental Development Deputy Directorate of the National Planning Department of Colombia as coordinator of climate change. While at the deputy directorate, I led the formulation of the Colombian Climate Change Policy, the National Adaptation Plan, the National Development Plan and the research agenda on climate change as well as coordinated technical support for the Colombian Low Carbon Growth Strategy. In AICCRA, I am using my previous experience working in the public sector to become a key partner of policy makers and planners so that they truly use climate information and tools to design and implement plans and strategies and find ways to make climate information useful and applicable for end-users.
I am also Global Research Director of Climate Action for the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. In this position I provide strategic leadership to mainstream climate action in food systems for adaptation and mitigation. I also lead one of the initiatives of OneCGIAR. The principal challenge addressed by this Initiative (ClimBeR) is the poor climate adaptation preparedness of the food and agricultural systems in low- and middle-income countries. The central objective of ClimBeR is to transform the climate adaptation capacity of food, land, and water systems in six countries (including three of AICCRA’s anchor countries), ultimately increasing the resilience of smallholder production systems to withstand severe climate change effects like drought, flooding, and high temperatures.
Tell us why you think AICCRA can deliver on a climate-smart future for Africa?
AICCRA is an innovative project that focuses on understanding and implementing the most efficient mechanisms so that climate-smart agriculture and climate information services can be scaled in Africa. There are many technologies that address adaptation needs in food systems but a very low percentage of them have been adopted massively. AICCRA bridges this gap by promoting partnerships and capacity building for accelerating the impact of these technologies.