Informing policies and institutions for climate-resilient food systems in Latin America

Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT)

Project description 

Latin America is at a critical point in time where many governments and well-organized sectors are developing their mitigation and adaptation strategies. CCAFS supports these processes through the excellent partnerships and ongoing climate change research across Latin America.

This project worked closely with governments and research institutes to ensure the latest climate and agriculture science is used to inform climate and agriculture policies in Latin America.

In addition, the team supported and trained country negotiators attending the high-level United Nations climate negotiations. This ensured negotiators are well prepared to represent their countries in the development of an agreement that simultaneously addresses climate change, agriculture and forestry.

The project conducted research on climate change impacts, mitigation opportunities and climate-smart agriculture, and facilitated knowledge sharing via established cross-country collaboration platforms.

Ultimately, this project helped to build resilient food systems by improving policy development and decision-making at both regional and national levels across Latin America. Specifically, the project achieved this by contributing to at least four Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), one National Adaptation Plan (NAP), and one sub-sector National Adaptation Plan. In addition, Latin American United Nations climate conference (COP) delegates are aware and make use of the latest scientific insights on climate, agriculture, and food security in COP negotiations.

Research on the potential of silvo-pastoral systems and improved pastures from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in 2014 helped the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development prioritize mitigation actions for the agriculture and livestock sector in its NAMA.

In 2014, the Colombian National Planning Department developed detailed sector-level adaptation plans, in part, as a result of CIAT researchers’ measurement of the economic impacts of climate change in the water, biodiversity, and livestock sectors.


Expected Outcomes

  • Creation of climate information systems in two additional Central American countries, based on the Guatemalan experience.
  • Study on factors explaining countries’ positions in topics related to land use, land use change, and forestry and to REDD+ and agricultural national mitigation plans.
  • A portfolio of climate-smart agriculture alternatives for preserving soil carbon stocks and mitigating carbon emissions in High Andes wetlands and natural grasslands
  • Data about land tenure, organizational status, infrastructure and security issues by region in Latin America.


The climate negotiator trainings included a gender-sensitization component, ensuring gender is considered while developing equitable country-level adaptation and mitigation plans. Capacity enhancement on effective gender integration in climate change policies was also carried out together with policymakers via workshops, a regular bulletin, and focused research products. The project provided support to Ministries and Secretaries of agriculture on how to integrate gender in the development of specific policies and strategies on climate change, as well.


The project was led by:

Local and regional partners included:

  • The Agricultural Council of Central America (CAC)
  • Centro Agrónomico Tropical de Investigación (CATIE)
  • University of Florida
  • University of Alberta
  • Institute de Café de Costa Rica (ICAFE)
  • Relevant national ministries of agriculture, environment, forestry, risk, development and planning, and financial institutes in all project countries.

Further information

For further information, please contact the project leader, Peter Laderach (CIAT) at