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FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Sustainable Rice Landscapes Initiative

Rice is one of Asia's most important crops. It sustains lives and livelihoods. As the region's population grows, demand for rice will increase. To meet this future demand in an environmentally and economically sustainable way, a consortium has forged an alliance to find innovative solutions to meet this challenge: the Sustainable Rice Landscapes Initiative. The Initiative is a partnership of FAO, GIZ, IRRI, SRP (Sustainable Rice Platform), UN Environment and WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development). In 2019, the six partners signed a Statement of Intent on the way forward during the Responsible Business Forum on Food and Agriculture, in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Sustainable Rice Landscapes Initiative

Launched in 2018, during the 6th GEF Assembly meeting in Danang, Viet Nam, the Sustainable Rice Landscapes Initiative has created a unique consortium of public, private and civil society partners, bringing together technological, ecological, policy and market-led approaches to the challenges of rice sustainability.

The main objective of the partners in this initiative is to harness multiple opportunities to meet the growing global demand for sustainable rice, using a public-private partnership approach towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This will require transformation of rice-based production landscapes for which collaborative action – especially with the private sector and multilateral organizations – is urgently needed to mobilize required resources and drive mainstreaming of sustainable best practice at farm and policy levels. At scale, these approaches will contribute to meeting national greenhouse gas reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, as well as restoring degraded landscapes and conserving biodiversity.

The initiative builds upon the efforts of the Sustainable Rice Platform to drive transformative change in the rice sector, initially through a programme to be submitted for funding via the Global Environment Facility under the GEF-7 Global Impact Programme on Food Systems, Land-use and Restoration.

The initiative will work with governments and value chain actors at landscape and policy levels to drive adoption of proven climate-smart best practices and innovative technologies to reduce the environmental footprint of rice, as well as link farmers to markets.

Adoption of these practices by rice smallholders is expected to generate multiple social, environmental and economic benefits, including the following:

  •  Healthier watersheds and biodiversity protection
  • On-farm and landscape resilience
  • Increased water and fertilizer use efficiency
  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions from rice production
  • Reduced agrochemical pollution
  • Improved farmer health and livelihoods
  • Strengthened consumer markets for sustainably produced rice.