Keywords

food security, exploratory modelling, uncertainty

Location

Session H8: New Challenges for Agricultural Systems Modeling and Software

Start Date

17-6-2014 2:00 PM

End Date

17-6-2014 3:20 PM

Abstract

While food security can be approached as a local issue, it is strongly influenced by factors at inter-regional and global scales related to production, transaction (e.g. trade and distribution) and consumption, and by drivers such as climate, population growth, diet change, as well as social, political and technological developments. Action on food security therefore benefits from being informed by current global patterns and potential future changes and taking an integrated approach to assessing impacts of proposed responses. Modelling can notably contribute by assessing the influence of various factors on food security. Due to the significant complexity and uncertainty involved, model development and use is simplified by approaching it as an exploratory process rather than aiming for a comprehensive historically accurate model. We present a macro-scale conceptual model to help structure and guide this exploration. We begin with the broad question “Will future developments achieve and maintain food security?” with the intent of exploring alternate possibilities of future developments, definitions of food security and factors influencing this question, beginning with assessing whether there is enough green and blue water to meet dietary energy requirements under typical current and future climatic variation. The conceptual model guides the selection of factors to explore sequentially through modelling (keeping other variables constant), iteratively building complexity as necessary. This helps to construct understanding using manageable building blocks, with the conceptual model evolving as it is used. The staged decomposition of this complex issue provides a framework to help build capacity for individuals and government agencies to understand their actions and policy respectively in a global context, with the hope that improving knowledge of adaptation options can help secure food supply to everyone.

 
Jun 17th, 2:00 PM Jun 17th, 3:20 PM

A conceptual model to guide exploration of global food-water security

Session H8: New Challenges for Agricultural Systems Modeling and Software

While food security can be approached as a local issue, it is strongly influenced by factors at inter-regional and global scales related to production, transaction (e.g. trade and distribution) and consumption, and by drivers such as climate, population growth, diet change, as well as social, political and technological developments. Action on food security therefore benefits from being informed by current global patterns and potential future changes and taking an integrated approach to assessing impacts of proposed responses. Modelling can notably contribute by assessing the influence of various factors on food security. Due to the significant complexity and uncertainty involved, model development and use is simplified by approaching it as an exploratory process rather than aiming for a comprehensive historically accurate model. We present a macro-scale conceptual model to help structure and guide this exploration. We begin with the broad question “Will future developments achieve and maintain food security?” with the intent of exploring alternate possibilities of future developments, definitions of food security and factors influencing this question, beginning with assessing whether there is enough green and blue water to meet dietary energy requirements under typical current and future climatic variation. The conceptual model guides the selection of factors to explore sequentially through modelling (keeping other variables constant), iteratively building complexity as necessary. This helps to construct understanding using manageable building blocks, with the conceptual model evolving as it is used. The staged decomposition of this complex issue provides a framework to help build capacity for individuals and government agencies to understand their actions and policy respectively in a global context, with the hope that improving knowledge of adaptation options can help secure food supply to everyone.