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Managing landscapes for Climate-Smart Agriculture systems

Concept

Overview

This module describes why and how landscape approaches can be used as an instrument to achieve climate-smart agriculture objectives at multiple scales in agricultural ecosystems. Landscape approaches increase synergies and minimize trade-offs among the various strategies and actions designed to meet the increasing demand for food, conserve ecosystems and support resilient rural livelihoods. By contributing to local, subnational and national goals, they can also contribute to global efforts to reach many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Chapter A3-1 presents the key concepts related to landscape approaches. Chapter A3-2 looks at the challenges that climate change poses to natural resources, the enabling environment needed to support the achievement of climate-smart agriculture objectives, and the synergies between landscape approaches and climate-smart agriculture.

Chapter A3-3 presents the key elements of landscape approaches for climate-smart agriculture; sets out a step-by-step guidance for implementation of climate-smart agriculture using landscape approaches; and explains the relation between climate-smart agriculture, landscape approaches and sustainable food and agricultural systems. 

Chapter A3-4 looks at the national policies and the legislative and institutional enabling environment required for the implementation of landscape approaches. It focuses on how landscape approaches help improve climate-smart governance and decision-making. Because the success of climate-smart agriculture intervention that apply landscape approaches will depend on the active participation of communities that have a stake in the sustainable management of the landscape, the chapter considers approaches for bringing stakeholders together to plan and negotiate acceptable and equitable practices and management actions and establish conflict resolution mechanisms. This is essential to ensure that the decision-making processes address gender and youth power differentials, and the benefits of the interventions are shared equitably. 

Key messages

  • The application of landscape approaches takes into consideration the synergies and trade-offs among the range of activities carried out to promote the sustainable intensification of agricultural production, enhance adaptation to climate change, reduce and/or remove greenhouse emissions, and support disaster risk reduction at various scales and with many sectors and stakeholders.
  • The success of climate-smart agriculture activities in delivering benefits to stakeholders requires establishing sound land-use planning and decision-making processes that are based on participatory, consensus-based and people-centred approaches, and the establishment of an enabling policy and institutional framework.
  • To improve the resilience of landscapes to the impacts of climate change, actions in the agriculture sectors and other sectors (e.g. tourism, industry, mining, energy, urban development) need to be well coordinated to minimize conflicts, enhance equity and sustain ecosystem services. This involves reducing competition for resources, determining the most acceptable trade-offs, minimizing negative externalities and optimizing synergies.
  • Measuring and monitoring the multiple benefits of climate-smart agriculture interventions that apply landscape approaches is essential for tracking the impacts of cross-sectoral and multistakeholder efforts at different scales and adjusting to change. Measuring and monitoring activities, which are critical for optimizing benefits and empowering stakeholders, can be realized in part through self-assessments undertaken by stakeholder groups of the value of sustainable land management, and by recognizing the importance of traditional landscape management practices.
  • Scaling up successful pilot projects to large-scale climate-smart landscape programmes requires specific strategies and processes that support system-wide capacity development that can foster country ownership. Scaling up climate-smart landscape programmes also involves mainstreaming climate change into policies and institutions, creating an enabling policy environment, improving communications and building public-private partnerships.
  • Catalysing landscape-scale climate-smart agriculture interventions requires increasing access to financing. Financing options that can support the scaling up of sustainable land management include creating incentives for sustaining ecosystem services through innovative market-based mechanisms that compensate farmers and farming communities for maintaining these services.