Global food systems are at the intersection of three major challenges under climate change:
- to increase food production and to achieve food security even as largely negative climate change impacts are being felt;
- to enhance the resilience of farming communities to these impacts; and
- to reduce emissions from food systems, to help meet the 2o C target to limit global warming, set out in the Paris climate agreement.
In this context, food systems will need to transform, and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) has emerged as an approach to drive transformational change.
However, driving transformation is not easy, owing to the highly differentiated nature of agricultural systems. For some farmers, agriculture is their sole livelihood activity and income source, while others maintain a smallholder subsistence focus with highly diversified livelihoods, including beyond the agricultural sector, especially where returns from agriculture are insufficient to survive. Still others are integrated into capital intensive global trading systems. This diversity encapsulates a range of different motivations and reasons for farming that are superimposed over a complex mosaic of cultural identities, incentives, technologies, subsidies and sanctions, which need to be addressed for effective implementation of CSA.
In recent years, the international community has increasingly emphasized the need to accelerate the transformation agenda by scaling CSA. CCAFS aims to facilitate this through research and action based on science.
Since 2012, CCAFS has had a focus on scaling up CSA. Notable achievements include:
- Piloting, capacity development, and scaling up climate advisories in 12 countries (Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Ghana, Honduras, Lao PDR, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Vietnam).
- Scaling up the Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs) approach by governments and industry in more than 3000 villages in India, Nepal and Niger.
- Informing policies and investments with participatory scenarios in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ghana, Honduras, Tanzania, and Uganda.
- Trialing and scaling out index-based insurance in India, Bangladesh, Honduras, Senegal, Ghana, and Ethiopia, in partnership with industry and government.
- Enhancing c. $1 billion of investments for climate action in agriculture, including CSA projects in Niger and Kenya by the World Bank ($350 M); and projects in Nicaragua, Comoros, Liberia and Uganda (through the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme).
- Disseminating low emissions livestock practices to over 600,000 farmers in Kenya.
- Informing UNFCCC decisions and discussions on agriculture, and supporting negotiators from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
As CCAFS enters its second phase, scaling up efforts have a greater focus through the cross-cutting Learning Platform on Partnerships and Capacity for Scaling CSA. The Learning Platform is the central mechanism for cohesion at national, regional and global levels; and manages global and continental-wide partnerships and impact pathways for climate change policy. The Learning Platform is hosted by the Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds.
Partnerships, capacity enhancement, communications and engagement, and climate finance are all crucial elements of the Learning Platform, and of CCAFS’ approach to scaling CSA. More information about CCAFS’ strategies in each of these areas can be found below:
- Loboguerrero AM et al. 2018. Feeding the world in a changing climate: an adaptation roadmap for agriculture. Discussion Paper, Global Commission on Adaptation.
- Dinesh D et al. 2018. Facilitating Change for Climate-Smart Agriculture through Science-Policy Engagement. Sustainability 10(8): 2616.
- Westermann O et al. 2018. Scaling up agricultural interventions: Case studies of climate-smart agriculture. Agricultural Systems. Agricultural Systems 165: 283–293.
- Thornton P et al. 2017. Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based. Agricultural Systems 152: 145-153.
Blogs and News
- Walking the talk: Taking climate-smart agriculture to scale
- Feeding the world in a changing climate: An adaptation roadmap for agriculture
- Contextual and universal: Scaling context-specific climate-smart agriculture