The Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) is an appraisal system developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) providing ex-ante estimates of the impact of agriculture and forestry development projects, programs and policies on the carbon-balance. The carbon-balance is defined as the net balance from all greenhouse gases (GHGs) expressed in CO2 equivalent that were emitted or sequestered due to project implementation as compared to a business-as-usual scenario.
EX-ACT is a land-based accounting system, estimating carbon stock changes (i.e. emissions or sinks of CO2) as well as GHG emissions per unit of land, expressed in equivalent tonnes of CO2 per hectare and year. The tool helps project designers to estimate and prioritize project activities with high benefits in economic and climate change mitigation terms. The amount of GHG mitigation may also be used as part of economic analyses as well as for the application for additional project funds.
EX-ACT can be applied on a wide range of development projects from all AFOLU sub-sectors, including besides others projects on climate change mitigation, sustainable land management, watershed development, production intensification, food security, livestock, forest management or land use change. Further, it is cost effective, requires a compared small amount of data, and has resources (tables, maps) which can help finding the required information. While EX-ACT is mostly used at project level it may easily be up-scaled to the programme/sector level and can also be used for policy analysis.