Last week, FutureWater colleagues Brecht D’Haeyer and Asher Lazarus travelled to Ankara, Turkey, for the kickoff meeting of the CREATE project (Cross Border Climate Vulnerabilities and Remote Impacts of Food Systems of the EU, Turkey and Africa Trade Climate Risk and Adaptation). There, they met with partners from the host institution, Ankara University Water Management Institute (ENSTITUSU). Representatives of various Turkish stakeholders, including food exporters and ministries of trade, forestry, and agriculture, were also in attendance.  

The CREATE project, administered by a consortium of partners from the Netherlands, Turkey, Morocco, and Egypt, is focused on conducting a cross-border climate risk assessment based on case studies of economically important crops traded between these countries. FutureWater has been active in mapping climate hotspots, identifying the key crops to be studied, and conducting preliminary analysis on climate risks affecting the production systems of these crops. Brecht and Asher presented on these activities and heard from partners Dr. Ertug Ercin of R2 Water on mapping climate risks in food systems, and Dr. E. Sena Uzunpinar of GTE Carbon on conducting life cycle assessments of carbon emissions from food systems.

The partners also discussed the next steps of the project. For FutureWater, this will involve further analysis of climate risks to key crops through the use of CMIP6 climate data and crop modelling. We are excited to continue collaborating with project partners and stakeholders to develop outputs that can be used to inform adaptation decisions at multiple scales, from on-farm management to national-level policymaking.

CREATE team during the kickoff meeting
Presentation provided by FutureWater colleague Asher Lazarus
Presentation provided by Dr. Ertug Ercin

The study will focus on selection of key traded crops between the EU and Africa and their key producing regions. The tasks will include overall analysis of current practices and the background in the regions, determination of key sensitive parameters in order to select key crops and food products and map hotspot regions. In addition, project team will assess climate risks for these hotspots on key crops and food products and link these risks with the importing countries. Climate risks will be assessed by identifying the multiple climate sensitivities on the food systems in each region, assessing changes predicted by a CMIP6 (latest) climate model ensemble on key agriculture-related climate indices, and analysing impacts on production-related indices, distinguishing between rainfed and irrigated production systems. It will be focused on country specific case studies in each partner country. The impacts of climate change on trade patterns will be evaluated to assess the carbon- and water footprints and virtual water profiles of key traded commodities of these countries. At the end, the project team will focus on policy relevance and assessment of adaptation strategies and identify interventions that will be needed, at which point in the system, and from which sector (or actor) is of interest.

The outcomes of CREATE will be used to increase awareness of the risks that climate change poses to the agro-food trade and the broader economy at large. They can contribute to efforts by the governments (macro-scale), the communities (meso-scale), as well as relevant agricultural producers (micro scale) in the case study countries, by providing essential information for promoting actions towards mitigating the negative consequences of climate change on agro-food trade.