Merelyn Valdivia Díaz is a Peruvian national, a system thinker who has been working for 8 years on how to enhance resilience at local and regional level through multidisciplinary and bottom-up approaches. She is currently a Climate-resilient consultant at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
She worked with CGIAR centers (CIP, ICRAF and CIFOR) from 2013-2017. There, she focused on the developing several methodologies related to Agrobiodiversity Monitoring System, Gender-Sensitive Agroforestry and Ecosystem Services Assessment (Wild Plants and Cultural Ecosystems Services). Therefore, she has multi-year’s experience in research, knowledge brokering and the facilitation of multi-stakeholder dialogue and workshops, connecting public and private sectors in relation to ecosystem services, food and climate change.
In 2017-2020, Merelyn worked at FAO, at the Plant Production and Protection Division (AGPM). She developed a methodology “Bridging the traditional ecological knowledge and the practices on climate change adaptation”, that is in the process of becoming a “Climate Smart Farmer Field School platform”. At FAO, she also actively participates in discussions about food systems and indigenous people (as part of FAO’s Indigenous People Team).
These experience and methodologies allow Merelyn to develop a broader set of analytical skills, relevant at different scales, from the local to global policy processes. This is key for instance when discussing resource efficiency and reduced dependency on external inputs for food production for the benefit of food system resilience. She has also developed solid ground experience about specific local food systems and their nexus to climate change, including within rainforest, desert, andean and semi-arid ecosystems, both in Latin America and Africa.
Constanza Monterrubio Solís, Mama D Ujuaje, Gary Martin and Merelyn Valdivia Díaz shared their journeys and the transformative experiences which sculpted and informed the approaches they now take with food issues they engage with. Through the lenses of biocultural heritage, critical food advocacy, Community Centred Knowledge, local product commercialisation and Farmer Field Schools, our speakers weaved stories and experiences which sit at the intersections of justice, power and resilience.