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Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Social protection and decent rural employment for CSA

Enabling Frameworks

Overview

There is enormous potential to make the agricultural sectors more sustainable and increase the environmental and socio-economic benefits they deliver. Sustainable agricultural development could generate considerable opportunities for job creation in environmental protection and sustainable land management, natural resource management and preservation, sustainable agritourism, organic farming and local food systems. 

These opportunities can be realized through the promotion of decent, green jobs, which can be done through skills training and capacity development programmes, with a special focus on youth, and social protection. Social protection contributes to food security and builds the resilience of the rural poor to the impacts of climate change. It allows vulnerable rural household to avoid adopting negative coping strategies that harm the environment, and gives them a measure of protection against the impact of climate-related shocks. By promoting sustainable agricultural practices, social protection initiatives can also support climate change mitigation. 

This module provides theoretical approaches related to social protection and decent rural employment. It showcases practical examples of country-level interventions that have proven successful and have the potential to be replicated in other contexts. Chapter C8-3 presents the social dimensions of climate change and considers the relationships that connect agriculture, climate change and poverty. Chapter C8-4 presents how social protection, through its protective, preventive, promotive and transformative functions, can support climate-smart agriculture, strengthen household risk management and open up opportunities for households to engage in a greater range of productive activities. Chapter C8-5 focuses on the relationship between climate-smart agriculture and decent rural employment and green jobs, and looks at the link between employment and climate change. It provides a definition of the terms 'decent rural employment' and 'green jobs' and outlines why green jobs are climate-smart. The chapter concludes with some concrete examples of FAO work in this area.

Key messages

  • Climate change, agriculture, and poverty are closely intertwined. Promoting climate-smart agriculture in conjunction with policies and programmes on social protection and decent rural employment can address the issues of climate vulnerability, rural poverty and the degradation of agricultural assets.
  • Climate-smart social protection systems that can respond to shocks can enhance the resilience and decrease the vulnerability of the rural poor. They can reduce the need for recurrent and continued humanitarian aid, facilitate an effective response to crisis situations, and ensure that climate change adaptation and mitigation are embedded into rural poverty reduction strategies.
  • Collaboration between government ministries (e.g. agriculture, social protection,  finance, and environment) play a key role in ensuring that interventions related to emergency response, sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation are carried out in a coherent manner. Greater cross-sectoral collaboration can establish mutually supporting relationships between humanitarian actions and long-term development programmes, which can build the productive capacity of impoverished communities and at the same time promote the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices.
  • By ensuring that no one is left behind, social protection can provide tools to protect the most impoverished communities against the impact of climate-related shocks. Over time, social protection initiatives can build the capacity of households and communities to withstand and overcome threats and crises, and support their access to broader range of services designed to promote sustainable production and economic growth.
  • Along with significantly reducing environmental risks and addressing ecological scarcities, a shift to a green economy can improve overall well-being and promote greater social equity. Such a shift could create up to 60 million additional jobs, with net gains in employment higher in developing countries. 
  • To harness the potential of the green economy to create employment, especially for youth, there is a need for a package of integrated mechanisms that include innovative, appropriate, and affordable technologies; skills development and training; and policy support.