Economic and Policy Analysis of Climate Change

FAO supports the integration of policy dialogue and capacity building to address climate challenges in Southern Africa

News - 07.01.2019

FAO, with the support of the Flander’s Cooperation, assists the governments of Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to develop integrated approaches to enhance climate change adaptation and resilience in smallholder agricultural systems. A core element of this work is to help governments identify evidenced-based policy options that can help smallholders to transition towards more climate resilient systems.

ESA recognizes that generating policy relevant evidence is necessary, but insufficient to spark meaningful climate adaptive policy reforms in the agricultural sector. It is critical to ensure that local capacity exists to conduct policy analysis of climate adaptation and resilience to secure long-term sustainability and country ownership. The EPIC team in ESA has, therefore, developed an approach that integrates evidenced-based policy dialogue with capacity development trainings of government officers to establish the mainstreaming of evidenced-based policy formulation for climate change adaption and resilience. 

In October 2018, ESA, in collaboration with CBC and with the FAO Zambia office, conducted a high-level policy dialogue on policy options to enhance smallholders’ resilience to climate change in Lusaka, Zambia and a four day capacity building workshop on conducting climate-smart policy analysis. The policy dialogue involved a panel of Government experts across multiple Ministries and Departments, including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mr Julius Shawa.

As a result of this dialogue, agreement was reached that the Zambian Meteorological Department would collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture in order to integrate seasonal forecast information into pre-planting agricultural extension advice at a provincial level. In addition, the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture requested that the evidence generated by ESA be presented directly to the Ministers of Agriculture, Livestock, Land, and Commerce in order to guide on-going high-level discussions on the formulation of the Second National Agricultural Investment Plan.

“I really appreciated the presentations and the revelations on the diversification drive in Zambia. As a Policy and Planning Department, we feel we could contribute to the enhancement of the diversification drive greatly. We really appreciate the effort s of your organization to the development of the agricultural sector in Zambia. We urge your continued support,” said John Kalumbi, Director of Policy and Planning Department. Ministry of Agriculture, Zambia

During this high-level dialogue, ESA facilitated a four day capacity-building workshop with government officers from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. In this workshop, participants learned how to conduct climate-smart policy analysis, including how to merge farm-level socio-economic and farm management data with georeferenced historical weather data. Through this workshop technocrats where given the data and skills to replicate the evidence presented in the high-level policy dialogue and tools to conduct their own evidenced-based policy analysis.

“I have enthusiastically attended the capacity building from FAO and now I really have started using and applying in my office work the knowledge that FAO imparted to us,” commented Ali Twaibu, Economist in the Land Resource Conservation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi

Integrating policy dialogue and capacity building offers opportunities for FAO to support countries to design and monitor evidenced-based policies for climate change adaptation in agriculture. These complementary activities help to raise awareness about policy options and challenges among policy makers, while supporting the capacity of local officers to address these challenges through locally appropriate policy solutions.