Enhancing capacity for low emission development strategies (EC-LEDS) in the agricultural sector program phase III

Vietnam EC-LEDS team


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Foreign Agriculture Service’s Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) program provided technical assistance to developing countries to promote low-emission economic growth through sustainable land-use practices. The program aimed to build knowledge about the tools and resources necessary to address technical and regulatory issues in low-emissions development (LED) across developing countries. The funding of EC-LEDS projects in the agriculture sector has led to technical outputs, such as tools, guidelines, and databases whose use can be scaled-up to reach more stakeholders.

In Colombia, low-emissions agriculture required improved information for activity data and emission factors. The USDA supported research conducted in 2015-2019 by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) that addressed two key gaps in Colombia’s low-emission strategy: activity data for fertilizer use and the mitigation potential of cacao plantations.

World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and CIAT developed the climate-smart agriculture (CSA) Data Atlas and Planning Guide to support operationalizing Kenya’s CSA strategy at the county level.

The Department of Livestock Production (DLP) and the National Center for Agriculture Extension (NAEC) in Vietnam and the University of California-Davis worked together to develop a national feed database and customize the ration formulation tool for Vietnam.

This research informs countries’ LED strategies by providing improved information to support their nationally determined contributions (NDC), NDC implementation, and inventories. In all three countries, the Low-Emissions Development Flagship of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) jointly evaluated these research outputs and co-design impact pathways with the LED policymakers and practitioners in the agriculture sector and countries NDC updating team to scale the use of research outputs. 


The purpose of this project was to improve the impact of research outputs in the agriculture sector to support national agricultural development and LED strategies of target countries to achieve significant mitigation outcomes. This project has supported partners in the selected countries to develop analyses, partnerships, and action plans to help better integrate research and LED strategy development.


  1. Deliver improved outcomes: Use science communication and engage policymakers to advance EC-LEDS research outputs uptake and outcomes, particularly related to tools and processes for planning and implementing GHG emissions reduction strategies.
  2. Assess impact pathways: Synthesize lessons about how to best link EC-LEDS research outputs and policymakers to generate outcomes.
  3. Improve knowledge management: Assess opportunities for improved knowledge management to enable national policymakers to better use LED strategy research outputs, for example, through the development of climate information hubs or other integrated platforms.

The project implementation plan included: 1) selection of countries that have received USDA EC-LEDS support in the agricultural sector and where national LED action was likely; 2) development of action plans for scaling up use of the EC-LEDS project’s research outputs, tools, and processes, and informing the countries national and sub-national LED strategy; and 4) synthesizing best practices for integrating new knowledge and processes into LED strategy decision making.


The project focused on Colombia, Kenya, and Vietnam as countries that have received the USDA EC-LEDS support in the agricultural sector and where national LED action was likely. The project was implemented in collaboration with national partners and CGIAR centers working in the selected countries and with the use of consultants to facilitate country teams, produce action plans and summarize lessons learned.

In each country, a team composed of an EC-LEDS project representative, key policymakers responsible for LED strategies, and consultants. They worked together to identify policymakers’ priorities, needs for LED information and tools, and develop an action plan.

Partnerships among governments, researchers, and bilateral organizations helped to develop and refine EC-LEDS research outputs, communication to the stakeholders, and integration into the LED policies and strategies in the country.

The key achievements of this project include:

  1. Use of activity data for a national GHG inventory in Colombia;
  2. Agriculture sector inputs to Colombia’s NDC;
  3. Agriculture sector inputs to the Subsidiary Body of Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and Vietnam’s NDC;
  4. Recognition of CSA county plans by Kenya’s updated NDC; and
  5. Capacity building of key stakeholders in each country.

The key messages of this project are:

  • Translation of LED policies for implementation on the ground requires research outputs that can be developed in collaboration with the key stakeholders. This helps to understand the stakeholder’s roles and policy processes, as well as enhancing technical capacity that facilitates science results uptake.
  • The mitigation options (i.e., research outputs) developed in collaboration with the national partners and research organizations can support the countries to achieve the target set in the nationally determined contribution (NDC) and other LED strategies in agriculture and allied sectors.
  • Scaling the use of mitigation research outputs needs to be institutionalized and the capacity of the key stakeholders strengthened at different levels.


The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) Flagship for Low-Emissions Development in the University of Vermont led the project in collaboration with the Department of Livestock Production and the National Center for Agriculture Extension (NAEC) in Vietnam, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Kenya, and the Alliance of Biodiversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia. The project team worked with national agriculture sector policymakers and NDC updating teams. 


For further information please contact Low-Emissions Development Flagship Leader, Lini Wollenberg (CCAFS) at or Science officer, Arun Khatri-Chhetri (CCAFS) at


Research outputs