Cauca Climate-Smart Village, Colombia

Farmers from Cauca Climate-Smart Village seek to take advantage not only of the climate, but also of the various challenges in the social, economic and political context of the country. Photo: L. López (CCAFS)

Project description

The Climate-Smart Village (CSV) approach is based on the principles of participatory research to generate evidence on climate-smart agriculture (CSA). The research carried out in a CSV is by default based on the specificities of the context and its enabling characteristics for the implementation and scaling of CSA. A CSV constitutes living laboratories that show how different actors in one territory co-develop, test, adopt and evaluate a portfolio of integrated and innovative CSA options aiming to reach sustainable agriculture and improving the livelihoods of the rural population.    

Cauca CSV is located in the northwest of the municipality of Popayán, in the department of Cauca, Colombia. The communities of these villages have been strengthened and empowered through the Association of Community Action Boards (Juntas de Acción Comunal—JAC) to seek mechanisms that generate sustainability and improve their quality of life.

Farmers in these communities struggle with challenges such as the impacts of climate variability and climate change, which generate a decrease in productivity in their crops, problems in access to water resources and soil degradation, among others. These communities are very enthusiastic to make their lands productive. Their desire for their children and grandchildren to have the possibility to continue living on their land is even greater.


It is important to note that there is no universal package of CSA options that works for every territory. It is important to identify what is appropriate for each region according to its agroecological characteristics, development level, capacity and interest of the community and local governments.

The following initiatives have been developed for Cauca CSV, tailored to its needs:

  • Land Adaptation Plans.       
  • Participatory research on the adaptability of bean varieties to improve food and nutrition security.        
  • Innovation, monitoring, and evaluation to improve the adoption of climate-smart technologies.        
  • Planning for adaptation to climate variability and climate change with a gender perspective.       
  • Activities on gender and social inclusion issues.        
  • Estimation of greenhouse gas emissions in productive systems.       
  • Perception of risks to farmers' livelihoods and barriers to adaptation to climate change.        
  • Social appropriation of knowledge and capacity building on climate change adaptation for rural youth.        
  • Consolidating a network of community weather stations for climate risk management.        
  • Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture  (PICSA).        
  • Cauca Local Technical Agroclimatic Committee (LTAC).     

Expected outcomes

Among the most important achievements that have been reached at the CSV over the years we can find:

  • The Land Adaptation Plans have been replicated in the municipalities of Mahates (Bolívar), Cucutilla (Norte de Santander), and the village of Yumbillo (Valle del Cauca).        
  • The CSV scaling experience in the municipality of Morales, Cauca, started in 2018. Scaling experiences have also been shared with the Santa Rita CSV in Honduras.        
  • The Municipal Units for Technical Assistance (UMATA) of Popayán incorporated in their work the approach to adaptation to climate variability and climate change within the framework of CSA, by implementing the manual for Land Adaptation Plans and the field guide of Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) with 30 families from the Association of Agricultural Women of Las Mercedes (ASOAGROMER).        

The Regional Autonomous Corporation of Cauca (CRC) actively participates in Cauca CSV from which it has collected different lessons for its various initiatives:        

  • Integration of the adaptation approach to climate variability and climate change in the School Environmental Project (PRAE) and in the Citizen Project of Environmental Education (PROCEA) in Las Mercedes Educational Institution.        
  • Implementation of land adaptation plan in Zanjón micro basin in Las Mercedes village, at Cauca CSV.       
  • Training of technicians of the Territorial Directorates of the CRC in the methodology of Land Adaptation Plans.        
  • The Government of Cauca has also joined the institutions that have led processes of articulation between the results and methodologies implemented in Cauca CSV and the purpose of management and execution of public policies.        
  • The Planning Advisory Office and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have had the support of CCAFS and the Ecohabitats Foundation for the revision of the Comprehensive Plan for Territorial Climate Change Management of Cauca.

Gender and youth

Within the CSV approach, the population of women and youth is evaluated differently to develop and prioritize a portfolio of CSA options, technologies, services, and practices, to achieve social and gender inclusion. At Cauca CSV, the initiative to incorporate the thematic nexus of gender and climate change in the educational projects of rural schools was developed with the purpose of building school environmental projects and citizen environmental education projects.

The objectives of this initiative are to promote a culture of adaptation to climate change, link young people in adaptation processes while generating a sense of ownership of the territory, and capacity building. Finally, it also seeks to achieve the transfer of traditional and scientific knowledge between generations.

The community school seeks to generate evidence of the climate change education approach, articulated with the national environmental education policy and the national education strategy. The School Environmental Project will be built among students, parents and the educational community.

The CSV children's school, for kids under five years old, also applies the pedagogical strategy of the school garden. At the same time, the activities carried out at Cauca CSV seek to make visible the role of women in agricultural production and identify the gender inequities that exist in the community.

At the CSV, a baseline survey was conducted to identify the perceptions of men and women about climate change and climate variability and their decision-making process against it. This survey allowed us to know the gender dynamics of the CSV and how gender inequities could be solved through land adaptation plans.

In Cauca’s case, it was identified that women have less access to information on CSA practices, which still leads to a general unknown of the CSA options.

One of the main achievements of Cauca CSV is that thanks to the knowledge generated from the territory were updated the environmental component and a new component on climate change was added to the Departmental Policy on Women (Cauca).

Cauca CSV in the spotlight


More information

For more information, please contact project leader Jesús David Martínez, CCAFS Latin America ( and Deissy Martínez Barón, CCAFS Latin America (


This work was implemented as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and was carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements. For details please visit