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FAO Outlines Lessons from Developing Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategies

FAOSeptember 2012: As institutions and countries place attention on approaches to agriculture that meet climate change mitigation, adaptation and food security objectives, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has collected country experiences on developing climate-smart agriculture (CSA) strategies and presented a strategy framework with clear building blocks.

The FAO paper, titled "Developing a Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy at the Country Level: Lessons from Recent Experience," presents: the evolution of the concept of CSA; the role of integrating research, policy and investment into a CSA strategy; the development of baseline scenarios; barriers to adoption of CSA strategies; approaches to address vulnerability and manage climate risks; guidance on building coherent policies and institutions; and the role of guiding investments.

It stresses that a wide variety of mitigation and adaptation options exist at the farm level and that options will need to be prioritized, noting that coordination is required across the private sector, the financial sector, government bodies and research institutions. The paper also highlights that while information, inputs and output markets are necessary, translating risks and uncertainty in a way that farmers understand will be equally important. It underscores that CSA strategies should consider approaches to social safety nets that may be needed to bolster local resilience and reinforce coping strategies, and that the benefits from CSA implementation will not all be immediate.

Finally, the paper notes that policy instruments that change incentives and build farmer capacity to change their production systems will be central to impacting livelihoods and affecting incentives to adapt to climate change. [Publication: Developing a Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy at the Country Level: Lessons from Recent Experience]