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FAO ‘AI and Digital Tools for Climate Resilient AgriFood Systems’ on the spotlight at the Science and Innovation Forum 2023

Rome (Italy), Hybrid Event, 19/10/2023

The global agricultural sector is facing unprecedented challenges due to the adverse effects of climate change. Erratic weather patterns, shifting precipitations, and rising temperatures are leading to crop failures, reduced yields, and increased vulnerability of food systems. To address these challenges and ensure food security for a growing population, there is a critical need to develop climate-resilient agrifood systems that can adapt to changing environmental conditions. 


In this challenging context, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is taking bold action by organizing the FAO Science and Innovation Forum 2023 (SIF 2023), which will take place from 16 to 20 October 2023 in a hybrid mode, at the Headquarters of FAO in Rome, Italy, and virtually.


This year's theme of the FAO SIF will be “Science and Innovation for Climate Action”, aligned with the overarching World Food Forum (WFF) theme “Agrifood systems transformation accelerates climate action”.


FAO SIF 2023 will focus on enhancing the accessibility of the most appropriate climate technologies, innovative practices and local knowledge in agrifood systems for climate change adaptation, resilience and mitigation. ‘To support the most vulnerable, we need to prioritize investments in interventions with the maximum returns and assuring minimizing tradeoffs, a measure that needs accurate and up-to-date data and information to take the right decisions’ says Máximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist, stressing out the many needs to ‘build resilience and increase productivity in the face of climate change’.


 ‘As we urgently need new solutions, disruptive digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) have now emerged as powerful tools that can revolutionize the agricultural sector by enhancing efficiency, precision, and sustainability’ says Dejan Jakovljevic, FAO Chief Information Officer, Director of the Division of Digitalization and Informatics (CSI), and main organizer of the session on ‘AI and Digital Tools for resilient agrifood systems’. ‘The examples of successful uses of digital technologies to tackle climate change challenges for a transformed and modernized agriculture are numerous across the world. For example, by leveraging AI algorithms, predictive analytics, and sensor technologies, farmers can now make informed decisions to optimize irrigation, planting, and harvesting, thereby increasing yields and reducing resource wastage’ he adds.


This special event will be held on Thursday 19th October, 14.30-16.00 CEST, and showcase concrete examples of technological innovations that aim at transforming traditional agricultural practices into sophisticated, data-driven systems that will protect efficiently our people and our planet.  It aims to highlight and explore the potential of new digital technologies, with a focus on AI and digital tools’ pivotal role in building climate-resilient agrifood systems that are more efficient, sustainable, and adaptable to the challenges posed by a changing climate. It will spark dialogue on how to enable sustainable agriculture and climate actions, for adaptation, mitigation and resilience driven by a safe use of data and technology, to open the path towards the Agriculture of the Future, harming no one and leaving no one behind. 


Bringing together experts, researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and stakeholders from the broadest agricultural and technology sectors, including the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA), the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications- Heinrich Heinz Institute (HHI), Digital Green and with keynote presentations from FAO Director-General and FAO Chief Economist, the event will showcase concrete examples of technological innovations that aim at transforming traditional agricultural practices into sophisticated, data-driven systems that will protect efficiently our people and our planet.   


But if the unique revolutionary potential of these technologies is not to be recognized anymore, new issues emerging related to their safe and ethical use need to be now taken into consideration as well to ensure in a holistic perspective ‘an open, free and secure digital future for all’ – as outlined by the Global Digital Compact- that will make strong and lastly impact on our agrifood systems, for a climate but also digitally safe environment.    


Addressing the challenges posed by climate change and promoting sustainable and safe technological innovative practices is crucial to develop context-specific solutions that consider the unique needs and challenges of each region while striving for sustainable and climate-resilient agrifood systems and being careful of still unknown risks.  FAO's efforts and the sought outcomes of the ‘AI and Digital Tools’ event align with the current global efforts, being undertaken within the UN system and beyond, to ensure food security, enhance agricultural productivity, and mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, fostering the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and our common journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals achievement through a safe and ethical use of digital technologies. 



Highlights video of the session here


RE-watch the session on FAO webcast


Flickr photo album is available here

Check the full agenda here


Check our Video Intro Trailer here 


See the speakers' bios here


Check out the full programme of SIF 2023 here

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