102 Hand in Hand for Climate Resilience: Inclusive Approaches to Transformative Adaptation

How can we better plan for transformative adaptation in agriculture? Concepts, finance and multi-stakeholder approaches.


  • World Resources Institute
  • Government of Québec
  • FAO
  • WFP
  • IFAD
  • Laval University (Québec, Canada)
  • Union des producteurs agricoles – développement international, UPA-DI
  • Government of Kenya (TBC)


We are all united by the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change. A change in natural conditions, whatever it is, can jeopardize the balance on which food security and good nutrition depend. In many areas of the world, transformative approaches will be required where climate impacts are currently or are projected to be so severe that they may undermine the continued viability of current agricultural systems. These transformations can be disruptive and difficult. They involve a cost that poor farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and women, foresters and indigenous communities, especially those living in developing countries, are often unable to pay. In other words, climate change forces us to rethink our concepts and models of cooperation and solidarity, to ensure global food security, avoid maladaptation, and reduce escalating risks of conflict and crisis as climate impacts intensify.

This side event thus proposes to move beyond traditional approaches to climate change adaptation and to build a dialogue around what transformative adaptation means. Both the panel and interactive discussions that will follow will involve a particular focus on identifying what planning tools and methods will be needed, how best to target climate finance at this challenge, and how to better carry out these transformations through a multi-stakeholder and inclusive approach, to ensure sustainability and ownership.

The side event will build on concrete examples of cooperation projects and initiatives, including the research work on transformative adaptation in agriculture conducted by WRI, the findings from the International Symposium on Food Security and Nutrition in the Age of Climate Change, organized by the Government of Quebec in collaboration with the FAO and the National Adaptation Plan process in Kenya. It will emphasize on the key roles of inter-institutional coordination, policy coherence and country-driven processes. It will bring together leading experts from the Rome-based agencies as well as others to advance the discussions.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Carter, Deputy Director, Climate Resilience Practice, WRI
  • Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, FAO
  • Jean Lemire, Envoy of the Government of Quebec for Climate Change and Nordic and Arctic Issues
  • Pius Wakabi Kasajja, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of the Government of Uganda
  • Liza Leclerc, Environment and Climate Finance Coordinator, IFAD, Representing the Rome-based Agencies

Main themes/issues discussed

Transformative approaches to adaptation are necessary where climate impacts are currently or are projected to be so severe that they may undermine the viability of current agricultural and food systems. This side-event contributed to building a dialogue around what transformative adaptation means, and the implications and the importance of including multi-stakeholder perspectives in planning for such significant social and economic changes.

In this panel,  representatives from different sectors and institutions discussed the imperative to include broader scale, more systemic, longer-term transformative approaches in adaptation planning; how and why to make adaptation planning processes more inclusive; drivers of success; and supportive enabling conditions to more rapidly and effectively scale up adaptation action in a manner that is more inclusive.

We discussed a variety of related challenges, including greater uncertainly over longer time horizons and reluctance to acknowledge the implications of the looming severity of climate impacts in some regions. We explored strategies to broaden inclusion and pathways toward transformation, and shared concrete stories of building sustainable climate resilience through systemic and inclusive change.

Summary of key points

  • The IPCC 1.5 Degrees report makes it clear that we cannot continue with only “business as usual” adaptation; profound, systemic change in how we produce and consume food will be needed.
  • Transformative approaches to agricultural adaptation will be needed to counter the increase in food insecurity and malnutrition we are beginning to see due to climate impacts and should be particularly targeted toward highly vulnerable small-scale farmers.
  • Innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships can help breaking the traditional silos existing between agriculture, environment and nutrition.
  • Water and land governance emerged from the discussion as important issues to consider when planning for longer-term transformation – particularly where avoiding conflict is a goal.
  • Capacity building to improve understanding of climate impacts and how to manage them is sorely needed.

Key take away messages

  • More inclusively managing adaptation and moving toward transformation will require multi-stakeholder collaboration, including the private sector, civil society, academia, and experts on a wide range of associated issues such as food security and nutrition. Building synergies is an important focus going forward.
  • Reshaping investment, risk management and other financial aspects of adaptation options is essential for encouraging transformative adaptation.
  • Adaptation action, including transformation, is needed not only at the national level, but also from states, cities and other sub-national entities.
CFS - Side Event -102 - Hand in Hand for Climate Resilience: Inclusive Approaches to Transformative Adaptation