Sourcebook on Climate-Smart
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 

Climate-Smart Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries concept and definition

Climate-smart agriculture, forestry and fisheries (CSA), as defined and presented by FAO at the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010, contributes to the achievement of sustainable development goals. It integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) by jointly addressing food security and climate challenges. It is composed of three main pillars:

  • sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes;
  • adapting and building resilience to climate change;
  • reducing and/or removing greenhouse gases emissions, where possible.

CSA is an approach to developing the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change. The magnitude, immediacy and broad scope of the effects of climate change on agricultural systems create a compelling need to ensure comprehensive integration of these effects into national agricultural planning, investments and programs. The CSA approach is designed to identify and operationalize sustainable agricultural development within the explicit parameters of climate change.

Executive summary

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See: Climate-Smart Agriculture - Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation, FAO 2010 


The purpose of the sourcebook is to elaborate the concept of climate-smart agriculture, demonstrate its potential as well as limitations and facilitate decision makers’ at a number of levels (including political actors and natural resource managers) to understand how different options for planning, policies, investments and practices are available and suitable for transforming different agricultural sectors, landscapes and food systems into CSA. The sourcebook shows how CSA could be achieved, and what it would take to achieve it. It further analyzes existing solutions and barriers and demonstrates how they could be used to promote the uptake of CSA.   

Target audience

This sourcebook aims to be a useful reference for planners, practitioners and policy makers working in agriculture, forestry and fisheries at national and sub-national levels. It is assumed that the audience may have little prior knowledge of climate change related assessments, processes and expected impacts, but needs to understand how measures for adaptation and mitigation of climate change can be integrated with development policies to promote in the development of resilient ecosystems, food security and sustainable livelihoods. Private sector involvement is also considered in the sourcebook.


The sourcebook is divided into three sections:

Section A “The Case for Climate-Smart Agriculture“ consists of two Modules establishing a conceptual  framework and is targeted to a broad audience. Module 1 explains the rationale for CSA and module 2 focuses on the adoption of a landscape approach.

Section B “Improved Technologies and Approaches for Sustainable Farm Management” is divided in nine modules. It is targeted primarily to the needs of planners and practitioners and analyzes what issues need to be addressed in the different sectors to achieve CSA; what is needed in terms of water (Module 3), soils (Module 4), energy (Module 5) and genetic resources (Module 6) for up-scaling of practices of crop production (Module 7), livestock (Module 8), forestry (Module 9) and fisheries and aquaculture (Module 10) along sustainable and inclusive food value chains (Module 11).

Section C “Enabling frameworks” encompasses seven Modules, targeting to policy makers providing guidance on what institutional (Module 12), policy (Module 13) and finance (Module 14) options are available. It further provides information on links between disaster risk reduction (Module 15) and utilization of safety nets (Module 16) and also illustrates the key role of capacity development (Module 17) and assessments and monitoring (Module 18).

CSA Key features

Within climate-smart agriculture multiple challenges faced by agriculture and food systems are addressed simultaneously and holistically. CSA is not a single specific agricultural technology or practice that can be universally applied. It is an approach that requires site-specific assessments to identify suitable agricultural production tehcnologies and practices. This approach:

  • Is a location-specific and knowledge-intensive
  • Identifies integrated options that create synergies and reduce trade-offs
  • Identifies barriers to adoption and provides appropriate solutions
  • Strives to achieve multiple objectives while prioritizing benefits and trade-offs
  • Identifies barriers to adoption and provides appropriate solutions
  • Strengthens livelihoods by improving access to services, resources and markets
  • Addresses adaptation and builds resilience to shocks
  • Considers climate change mitigation as a potential co-benefit
  • Integrates climate financing with traditional sources of agricultural investment.
  • It brings together practices, policies and institutions that are not necessarily new but are used in the context of climate change  

Web platform

The Sourcebook will be available in the current CSA website facilitating stakeholders’ access to additional information, case studies, manuals, practices, and systems etc. of a particular module. The platform is dynamic and will be updated on a regular basis.