Protect and build
Protecting and rebuilding livelihoods to enhance vulnerable people's resilience to shocks through the prevention and mitigation of the effects of disasters and crises across all agricultural sectors
Hazards are unavoidable, but what can and should be prevented and mitigated are the effects of disasters, conflicts, animal- and aquatic-related human health threats, food chain crises and socio-economic crises.
The 4 pillars of FAO's resilience strategy
Prevention and mitigation activities take place before and after disasters and have to be context-specific in order to reduce the underlying factors of risk. Below are some examples of what FAO does and promotes:
- Adaptation to climate variability and change: the climate is changing, meaning that communities cannot rely on their past experience to cope with changing conditions. Therefore guaranteeing the food and nutrition security of vulnerable people requires communities, scientists and policy-makers to work together to adapt to climate change. FAO’s programme aims at increasing the resilience of agricultural systems and livelihoods to adverse effects of weather and climate change, for example through the use of crops and varieties more resilient to floods or drought and adapted to new climate patterns.
- Agro-forestry: an integrated approach that combines trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. Trees in the farming system or in urban, peri-urban environments can help to increase incomes and to diversify production. Trees and shrubs can be used as shelterbelts, windbreaks and live fences and thereby diminish the effects of heavy rains and wind storms. They also stabilize soils, prevent erosion and halt land degradation.
- Conservation agriculture: lessens soil disturbance and aids permanent soil cover and crop rotation. These practices help minimize risk of erosion on steep land and increase yields of smallholder farmers in drought-prone countries.
- Integrated pest management: an approach to crop protection that reduces pest populations and keeps pesticides to levels that are economically justified and safe for human health and the environment. It relies on the use of pest-resistant varieties, the actions of natural enemies and on cultural control, so increasing the sustainability of farming systems. Programmes are usually implemented through farmer field schools.
- Precautionary fisheries measures: FAO promotes measures such as installation/improvement of storm-warning systems; training of fishers in safety precautions; contingency planning for disease and pollution; and fisheries insurance schemes.
- Secure land access and tenure: FAO seeks to improve access to land in countries emerging from violent conflict (e.g. Angola, Mozambique and the Sudan) and from natural disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The organization has developed tools for project designers, land administration and land tenure specialists.
- Seed security: involves access by farming households to adequate quantities of good-quality seeds and planting materials of adapted crop varieties at all times. Interventions to enhance seed security in farming systems include seed and cultural fairs, community-based seed production and storage systems and seed recovery programmes.
- Sustainable water management: addresses water use efficiency and productivity, and promotes best practices for water use and conservation, including expansion of rainwater harvesting, water storage techniques, water reuse and irrigation efficiency.