FAO.org

Home > Policy Support and Governance > Policy Themes > Climate Change
Policy Support and Governance
©FAO/Farooq Naeem

Climate Change

Extreme weather and variable rainfall affects food production and rural communities everywhere. Climate change will impact food systems, nutrition and health. Developing countries and smallholder farmers will be particularly hard hit. 

Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.

Agriculture must adapt to climate change to feed a growing global population, and ensure sustainable and resilient development. Sustainable agriculture can also contribute to reducing GHG emissions from agriculture and land-use change, and enhance carbon sequestration by improving the health of soils and plant biomass.

FAO has been working on climate change for decades, providing technical assistance, data, statistics, and capacity development to Member States. FAO supports countries in developing their national climate plans, identifying mitigation options and building resilience in their food production systems and agricultural, forestry and fishery sectors. FAO promotes agricultural practices that will allow producers to thrive in a changing climate, such as agroecology and climate-smart agriculture.

Key policy messages

·        The agricultural sectors (including crops, forestry, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture) are critical in the global response to climate change. To sustainably achieve food security, agriculture must adapt to changing climatic conditions, whilst at the same time the sector offers major mitigation and carbon sequestration opportunities to reduce and remove greenhouse gases.

·        Policies must support a transformation toward more productive, resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems. Coherence between climate change, agriculture and food security policy processes is vital to accomplish this transformation.

·       The Paris Climate Change Agreement represents a landmark commitment to limit global average temperature increases to well below 2°C (above pre-industrial levels). The agricultural sectors will play a central role in implementing this important agreement. This is evidenced by the fact that about 94 percent of countries referred to the agricultural sectors in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

·        Policies and programmes should use climate finance as a catalyst for driving sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural development. Developed countries must achieve their collective goal to mobilize USD 100 billion in public climate finance per year by 2020. As specified in the Paris Agreement, Parties must also agree on a more ambitious climate finance goal by 2025.

·        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.

Featured resources

Share this page