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FACCE-Evolve Report Summary

Project ID: 652612
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FACCE-Evolve (FACCE-Evolve - Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change Coordination and Support Action 2)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Recent policy events including the launch of a new Sustainable Development Agenda2 and the Paris Agreement3 have highlighted the real need for a coordinated approach to tackling the challenges of food security and agriculture in a changing climate. The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been launched with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the aims of this new agenda is both to be more efficient in attaining food security for all, and to better integrate the social and ecological dimensions of sustainability (inequalities, biodiversity degradation and greenhouse gases emissions as well as the impacts of future climate changes). The Paris Agreement, reached at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), included an objective to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, and to increase the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change in a manner that does not threaten food production.
FACCE-JPI has an important role to play in achieving these targets and the SDGs through the joint actions taken to implement the FACCE-JPI research priorities, thus putting the importance of food security and agriculture at the heart of national and international climate agendas. The role of FACCE-JPI has also been highlighted in the European Commission’s new strategy for agricultural research and innovation4, where FACCE-JPI is named as a key partner in developing synergies between Member States and the EC, and enhancing the integration of European research programmes. Furthermore, FACCE-JPI aims to provide a strong evidence base to inform European policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy, the Bioeconomy Strategy, the emerging strategy on Food and Nutrition Security, as well as the 2030 Climate and Energy framework.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In its first six years, FACCE-JPI has already achieved a great deal in research excellence and alignment, having launched several actions, mobilising approximately €110M of funding for transnational research activities (80% of which comes from national budgets), with a further €50M to be invested in upcoming actions. These actions have included several joint calls, through ERA-Nets (FACCE ERA-Net Plus ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’, FACCE-SURPLUS, ERA-GAS) and jointly with other European initiatives, international partners and non-EU countries (Belmont Forum, ERA-Net BiodivERsA, multi-partner call on agricultural greenhouse gas research, WaterWorks 2015), and developing novel instruments such as the Knowledge Hub MACSUR7. The research in MACSUR and its outcomes have helped inform policy decisions by contributing to the IPCC’s fifth assessment report. FACCE-JPI has helped to identify new approaches for sustainable agricultural development (e.g. through research conducted as part of the ERA-Net Plus on Climate Smart Agriculture) and to increase the visibility of European research on agriculture, food security and climate change on a global scale. It has organised European-wide scientific events and strengthened its links with national programmes and the European Commission.
In order to carry out these achievements, two FACCE Coordination and Support Action were set to launch and support the successful development of JPI Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change. The second one, entitled EVOLVE has started on March 2015 for 60 months.
During its first period, M1-M18, in addition to organising the meetings of the three boards, the Secretariat was responsible for an update to the original Strategic Research Agenda taking into account FACCE-JPI’s achievements to date, advances in scientific research and shifts in the international policy context of FACCE-JPI’s remit. This update refreshed the original five Core Themes, reframing them around new, more impact-driven research priorities (see Deliverable D1.1) which will be the focus of FACCE-JPI’s efforts over the coming years. Research priorities for each of the five Core Themes were developed as collaboration between the Scientific (SAB) and Stakeholder Advisory Boards (StAB) and the FACCE-JPI Governing Board (GB), and based in part on common national research priorities.
The updated Strategic Research Agenda paves the way for FACCE-JPI’s next course of action aimed at addressing the challenges at the crossroads of agriculture, food security and climate change. The FACCE-JPI SRA is implemented through successive Implementation Plans. During M1-M18, the 2016-2018 IP was developed and adopted by the Governing Board in an iterative process including the SAB and StAB. This inclusive approach ensures that the actions of FACCE-JPI are supported and owned by the member countries, have an evidence-based scientific grounding, address the needs of the end-users of the research, and have an impact in the longer term on the societal challenge the JPI aims to address, namely sustainable food security in the face of climate change.
The IP 2016-2018 addresses the research priorities using existing and new instruments, maximising the impact of European research in these critical times. Instruments include joint calls, workshops, Thematic Annual Programming Networks, Knowledge Hubs and Knowledge Networks.
IP Joint Action Working Groups composed of selected GB, SAB, StAB and Secretariat representatives were set up to initiate the implementation of the 2016-2018 adopted actions. It was also decided to re-organise the activities of the Secretariat (Consortium) to be fully in line with the decision of the GB and empowered to carry out the IP actions.
During M1-M18, actions to implement the IP 2016-2018 were also launched, some of which had originated in the 2014-2015 Implementation Plan (TAP SOIL, Knowledge Network on Sustainable Intensification) and others launched in 2011 and 2013 were supported and or followed (MACSUR, Belmont forum call, Biodiversa call). Other actions of the 2014-2015 IP were cancelled or postponed, based on FACCE Governing Board decision (Knowledge Hub on plant disease and epidemiology under climate change, Knowledge Hub on experimental climate change studies on crop and grassland systems).
A European and International Strategy was also adopted. Recognising the importance of cooperation in addressing the challenges of agriculture, food security and climate change, it identifies three broad target groups for interaction at both the operational and strategic levels: European initiatives and partners, international initiatives and partners, and third countries. Subsequently, this strategy and action plan fostered, during M1-M18, the adhesion of FACCE-JPI to the Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA). The JPI also became a partner of the 4PRIMA CSA, and a member of the International Bioeconomy Forum (IBF). It also initiated discussions about a strategic partnership with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research (GRA). Finally New Zealand adhered to the JPI.
These mains outcomes implied a constant adaptation and flexibility from the three boards (Governing Board, The Stakeholders advisory Board, and the Scientific Advisory Board) and the Secretariat.
In addition, in order to fulfil the governance rules and given the need to cover/complement the scientific and stakeholder expertise in the SAB and StAB membership respectively, the election of new SAB and StAB members and a new StAB Chair was also conducted by the Secretariat. The process of updating the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the SAB and StAB was also initiated to better align it with the ToR of the GB and to reflect the evolving activities of the two boards.
In parallel with the development of new actions through the successive Implementation Plans and the necessity for re-organisation and governance rules updates, an on-going process of monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment is being carried out to ensure that FACCE-JPI, its joint actions and research projects are achieving the aims and objectives of the JPI. Another priority was during M1-M18 to ensure FACCE’s visibility on the web (updating the website, managing social media accounts) and to the stakeholders via its involvement in major events on May 2015 and January 2016 in closed links with the European Commission and the update of the Communication and Valorisation strategy.
The joint FACCE-JPI – JPI HDHL event the “Grand Debate on Nutrition Security” at the EC’s Pavillion in EXPO2015 in Milan was organised on May 13, 2015. The event attracted the attention of FACCE-JPI’s stakeholders and target audiences through a joint press release and joint live tweeting efforts of the two JPIs. Another stakeholder event, “International soil research: Opportunities for synergy and cooperation with FACCE-JPI” was organised as a half-day side-event to the DG AGRI Conference “Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation” on January 27th, 2016. The event successfully furthered the collaboration on soil research, especially on carbon sequestration, and was well received by stakeholders and target audiences through a press release and live tweeting.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

With this work, FACCE-JPI has entered into a new period of maturity with stronger focus on policy relevance.
It is expected that in the future, FACCE will contribute to meeting the societal challenge through its research actions and its input into evidence-based policy. FACCE is also beginning work on self-sustainability which will allow it to continue in the future without CSA support from the EC. To this end, FACCE participates in the GPC working group on long term strategy and has put in place its own GB working group which has met once and will continue to work over the next year.

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