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Climate Change

Temperature rise, changing precipitation patterns and extreme weather events affect food systems, nutrition and health everywhere. Developing countries and smallholder farmers will be particularly hard hit.

FAO promotes concepts, including agroecology, and climate-smart agriculture.

New agricultural policies and practices are needed to feed a growing global population, ensure sustainable use of natural resources, foster resilient development, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

FAO works with governments, food producers and other stakeholders to build climate-resilient food production systems and reduce their impacts on climate and environment. FAO provides technical assistance, data for evi-dence-based policy-making, and capacity development to support Member States in developing their national climate plans and identifying climate change adaptation and mitigation options in the crop, livestock, forestry and fishery sectors. FAO promotes concepts, including agroecology, to guide change in food producers’ prac-tices and help them thrive in a changing climate while reducing GHG emissions and enhancing carbon sequestra-tion in agroecosystems

Key policy messages

·        The agriculture sector (including crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture) is critical in the global response to climate change. To sustainably achieve food security, agriculture must adapt to changing climatic conditions. At the same time, the sector offers major opportunities for climate change mitigation through GHG emission reductions and carbon sequestration. Many adaptation and mitigation options in agriculture hold potential for synergies. 

·        Policies must support a transformation toward more productive, resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems. For instance, policies aim to reform input subsidies and to adjust direct support mechanisms.  Coherence between climate change, agriculture and food security policy processes is vital to accomplish this transformation. FAO supports national governments to assure coherence for instance by promoting collaboration between national stakeholders across ministries and sectors.

·       The Paris Climate Change Agreement is a landmark commitment to limit global average temperature increases to well below 2°C (above pre-industrial levels). The agriculture sector will play a central role in implementing this important agreement. This is why about 94 percent of countries refer to the agriculture sector in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

·        Climate finance should be used as a catalyst to drive sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural development, including by supporting governments to mainstream climate change considerations into agriculture sector policies and programmes. FAO is dedicating significant resources to support Member States in developing funding proposals for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which can be catalysts for large-scale transformational change.

·        Addressing climate change is central to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In particular, SDG 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Taking action on SDG 13 (particularly through the agricultural sectors) will be critical to achieve SDG 2 on eradicating hunger, achieving food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

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