Climate Change

Background & Overview


What is climate risk?

What is climate risk?

Climate risk in agriculture refers to the potential of climate-related hazards to have a negative impact on food production systems and the livelihoods of farmers, livestock herders, fishers and forest dwellers. Climate-related hazards include: changing precipitation patterns, climate variability, geographical redistribution of pests and disease and greater frequency of extreme events such as drought and flooding.

Climate risk is understood as a function of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and adaptive capacity. 

Hazard probability is the potential occurrence of an extreme meteorological, climatological and hydrological event.   

Exposure is the presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental functions as well as services and resources, infrastructure, or economic, social, or cultural assets in places and settings that could be adversely affected by extreme weather events.  

Vulnerability is the propensity to be adversely affected, including sensitivity or susceptibility of a system to be harmed and lack of capacity to cope and/or adapt.   

Adaptive capacity is the capacity of ecological, social or economic systems to adjust in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects of impacts.   

What is Climate Risk Management?

What is Climate Risk Management?

Climate Risks Management (CRM) is the process of quantifying risk and identifying measures to reduce or mitigate the risks. Measures to reduce risk can include minimizing exposure, reducing vulnerability or increasing adaptive capacity. Climate risk management covers a broad range of potential actions, including early-response systems, strategic diversification, dynamic resource-allocation rules, financial instruments, infrastructure design and capacity building. But in addition to avoiding adverse outcomes, a climate risk management strategy also aims to maximize opportunities in climate-sensitive economic sectors, for example, farmers who use favorable seasonal forecasts to maximize their crop productivity. 

What does Climate Resilience mean?

What does Climate Resilience mean?

Climate resilience represents the capacity of social, economic, and environmental systems to cope and/or absorb climate stresses, respond and reorganize in ways that maintain their function, identity and structure. Agricultural climate resilience contributes to enhance agricultural productivity and farmers' income by adapting to climate change and by reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions through sustainable land and water management practices, among others. 

Why is Climate Risks Management relevant to ensure food security?

Why is Climate Risks Management relevant to ensure food security?

All six dimensions of food security and nutrition are affected by climate change and climate variability: availability, access, utilization, stability, agency and sustainability. The impacts of climate change on agricultural production trickle down to additional risks to the food security and nutrition of people who are directly dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.  Climate variability and extreme weather presents an additional threat when vulnerability is increased as a result of economic and health crises, particularly where compounded risks are already a reality.  Therefore, understanding and quantifying climate risk is at the core of actions required to substantially reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and achieve sustainable and resilient food and agricultural systems.  

How does proactive decision-making contribute to building resilience?

How does proactive decision-making contribute to building resilience?

It is estimated that proactive, anticipatory action such as early warning systems for food and agriculture can save lives and assets that are worth at least ten times their costs. According to WRI (2019), the investment of US$1.8 trillion in a range of adaptation approaches (strengthening early warning systems, making new infrastructure resilient, improving dryland agriculture and crop production, making water resources management more resilient and global mangrove protection) could generate up to US$7.1 trillion in savings. 

Climate-Risk for Climate Finance


What is a Climate Risks screening?

What is a Climate Risks screening?

Climate risks screening is an initial and proactive step at the earliest stage of the project cycle to identify climate risk and potential measures to mitigate risk throughout project development. FAO’s Climate Risk Screening process helps ensure that short- and long-term risks posed by climate change and other natural hazards are considered systematically in the screening, assessment and planning processes of projects and programmes.  

Why are climate risk assessments important in agriculture?

Why are climate risk assessments important in agriculture?

Agriculture is the most affected sector by natural hazards and disasters. The negative impacts of climate change are threatening the food security of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, almost 80% of which live in rural areas. These populations, including family farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk and community foresters, are highly dependent on natural resources and are the first to suffer from weather-related shocks.  

What is a climate rationale?

What is a climate rationale?

An important element to support transformational changes is building robust evidence about past and future climate risks and vulnerabilities, and identification and appraisal of adaptation practices.  The climate rationale provides the scientific underpinning for evidence-based climate decision-making by ensuring that the linkages between climate impacts, climate actions and societal benefits is fully grounded in the best available climate data and science. 

 

 

Climate Services for farmers and agricultural end users


Who benefits from climate services?

Who benefits from climate services?

Climate services equip decision-makers, at regional and national levels, in climate-sensitive sectors with better information to help them adapt to climate variability and change. Accurate and tailored climate services and agrometeorological advisories are key to helping farmers reduce the risks and increase sustainability through optimized on-farm management of resources and inputs and climate-informed decision making at all stages of the value chain. FAO's work with climate services also focuses on reaching the last mile: bringing information to the end-user (farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk). 

What is Agriculture Stress Index System (ASIS) useful for?

What is Agriculture Stress Index System (ASIS) useful for?

Drought monitoring systems provide decision-makers with near real-time information in order to improve preparedness and reduce the impact of drought on food security and crop production. The Agricultural Stress Index System (ASIS) allows countries to fine-tune parameters of the system based on detailed land use maps and national crop statistics. At the country level, it could be used in developing a remote sensing-based index for crop insurance. ASIS is based on 10-day (dekadal) satellite data of vegetation and land surface temperature from the METOP-AVHRR sensor at 1 km resolution. 

What is a Global Information Early Warning System (GIEWS)?

What is a Global Information Early Warning System (GIEWS)?

The Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture (GIEWS) continuously monitors food supply and demand and other key indicators for assessing the overall food security situation in all countries of the world. It issues regular analytical and objective reports on prevailing conditions and provides early warnings of impending food crises at country or regional level. At the request of national authorities, GIEWS supports countries in gathering evidence for policy decisions, or planning by development partners, through its Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions (CFSAMs), fielded jointly with WFP. In country-level application of tools for earth observation and price monitoring, GIEWS also strengthens national capacities in managing food security related information. 

Social and ecological aspects


Do climate risk assessments support the identification of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) measures?

Do climate risk assessments support the identification of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) measures?

FAO recognizes the fundamental role of biodiversity and ecosystem services for achieving sustainable agriculture and food systems. Vulnerability and risk screening thus consider EbA practices based on conservation and management of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change as well as to identify potential measures and appropriate locations for the implementation of adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) planning at local, national and regional levels.  

How does centralized information benefit farmers?

How does centralized information benefit farmers?

Many countries are increasingly exposed to climate risks and suffer from lack of adequate infrastructure to take advantage of digital technologies and advanced weather and climate information. Providing actionable information that is tailored to users’ needs is one of the pillars of climate risk management, which requires the strengthening of national capacities through national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHSs). Centralization means that the responsible public authority such as NMHSs will receive in-real time information on the prevailing agricultural weather, which on one hand can help, for instance, monitor the crop growth and on the other hand make it possible to monitor the outbreak of pests and diseases in areas covered by the weather stations. Subsequently, crop protection specialists and phyto-pathologists are able to use the centralized agrometeorological data by means of crop disease models and send information to outreach extension services and agricultural technicians at crop-level basis on the needed prevention and spraying programs. At a third-step level, extension services disseminate information to farmers per locality and per crop through agrometeorological advisories.  

How do resilience measures and recommendations consider or promote peasant and indigenous innovations, practices and knowledge?

How do resilience measures and recommendations consider or promote peasant and indigenous innovations, practices and knowledge?

While climate risk management tools and methods are grounded on scientific-technological solutions, recommendations such as new crop varieties, extension services, early warning systems, agronomic practices, and alternative livelihoods are sensitive to, and cognizant of locally relevant indigenous knowledge systems (IKS).

Participatory approaches are crucial for the production and delivery of climate services by promoting trust amongst the producers of information and end-users. Scaling-up climate services requires collaboration between service producers, local indigenous technical knowledge (ITK) experts and end-users as well as local resources such as the media for dissemination of weather and climate advisories. Climate change is a multifaceted challenge which requires knowledge integration and continuous adaptive learning and management.