Impact through policies and partnerships

G. Betancourt (CIAT)
Outcomes & Impacts

Colombia draws on CCAFS science to respond to climate change in agriculture sector

Latin America
Low Emissions Development

In 2014, the Colombian government committed itself to several important national climate initiatives. Evidence from CCAFS scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and partners such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), played a critical part.

CIAT–CCAFS has provided vital scientific support for Colombia’s response to climate change, especially where agriculture is concerned.

The Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) produced a national mitigation action (or NAMA) to convert pastures to fruit crops. Before this, CIAT and CCAFS had collaborated with the Colombian government to identify mitigation measures for the agricultural sector and establish the evidence base for the Colombian Low Emission Development Strategy.

Colombia draws on CCAFS science to respond to climate change in agriculture sector

CCAFS scientists contributed to Colombian national action plan to mitigate the effects of climate change. A. Jarvis (CIAT)

Scientists considered the mitigation potential of several measures and concluded that improving pastures, developing silvo-pastoral systems and establishing fruit plantations on land previously dedicated to livestock would be the most effective strategies for reducing emissions without harming food security. They estimated that, by rehabilitating 4.4 million hectares of degraded pastures, Colombia could cut its annual CO2-equivalent emissions by 1.4 million tonnes.

Scientists ran workshops, training sessions and presentations with ministry officials at all levels, and with national producers associations such as the National Federation of Oil Palm Growers. This helped to raise awareness and knowledge. They also facilitated a successful South–South exchange between Colombia and Senegal, which officials found very useful. 

“CIAT-CCAFS’s work was a critical factor in enabling MADR to propose the national mitigation action plan.” Nelson Enrique Lozano Castro, Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Other government departments in Colombia have made use of the analysis too. It filled a serious knowledge gap for the National Planning Department, which previously had no economic data on the effects of climate change on water, biodiversity and livestock. Drawing on CIAT–CCAFS’s new evidence base, the department prepared a strategy for climate-smart agriculture which was included in the National Development Plan for 2014–2018. The department also used CIAT’s modelling to prepare the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (2015–2025).

CIAT–CCAFS science has provided vital support for Colombia’s response to climate change, especially where agriculture is concerned. The impact does not end there, however, because further changes are expected. For instance, following the national mitigation action and the work around it, the country’s producer associations now plan to measure greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints.

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