The inaugural OpenAg Symposium, hosted by the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, Somerville College, and UPL Ltd., has outlined a series of policy positions, technological interventions, and collaboration opportunities that can contribute to global efforts to reshape the role of food systems in the face of climate change.
On 3rd September 2021 – ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit and COP26 – the inaugural ‘Food Future in a Changing Climate’ OpenAg Symposium took place at the University of Oxford. The event united a select group of leading academics, policymakers, technology investors, industry pioneers, and NGO innovators from across the globe to address the social and environmental trade-offs and challenges posed by climate change in the area of agriculture.
The OpenAg Symposium opened with an introduction by Jan Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon and Somerville’s Principal, and by Her Excellency the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, Gaitri Issar Kumar. The keynote was led by Sir Charles Godfray, Director of the Oxford Martin School and former Chair of the Science Advisory Council to the UK. The conference brought together four panels, covering the topics of: ‘The Role of Agriculture in Combatting Climate Change’; ‘Priorities for Policymakers in Land Use and Biodiversity’; ‘Technologies to Transform the Agrifood Chain’; and ‘The Future of India’s Agricultural Sector.’
In a hybrid format, speakers from Brazil, India, the Netherlands, and Kenya, joined a live audience and a wide range of in-person expert speakers, which included: Dr Agnes Kalibata, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit; Berry Marttin, Member of the Managing Board, Rabobank; Dr Helen Harwatt, Chatham House; Adam Anders, Managing Partner, Anterra Capital; Emiko Terazono, Commodities Correspondent, Financial Times; Dhruv Sawhney, COO, nurture.farm; and Professor Radhika Khosla, Research Director, Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development. A full list of speakers and panel topics is included in the notes at the end of this release.
Concluding the OpenAg Symposium, Baroness Royall, said:
“The inaugural OpenAg Symposium has been a resounding success. What we have heard and seen today is just the beginning of an exciting role that food systems must play in the fight against climate change. As an institution, Oxford has an extraordinary power to convene and shape the coalitions that lead to the transformation of some of humanity’s most urgent needs. We are excited to see where the OpenAg Symposium, and the discussions it has inspired, go from here.”
Jai Shroff, Global CEO of UPL Ltd., said:
“Agriculture is one of the only systems on the planet that has the ability to reshape and reverse the effects of climate change. At UPL, we take a wholly optimistic view of the opportunity that exists for farms and farmers to nourish the planet, while feeding the population. This transformation will not be easy, but the discussions we have heard at this inaugural OpenAg Symposium show that the will and the means exist to meet this challenge if we continue to work together.”
A full report of conference proceedings and video content of panel discussions can be viewed online at: http://openag.some.ox.ac.uk/videos
Download the conference report here, summarising the keynote speech along with reports from each of our four panels.
Watch key reflections on the conference in our short video here.
To register your interest in future conferences, sign up here.