Scaling Climate-Smart Agriculture

Global food systems are at the intersection of three major challenges under climate change:

  1. to increase food production and to achieve food security even as largely negative climate change impacts are being felt;
  2. to enhance the resilience of farming communities to these impacts; and
  3. 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:

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:


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