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Managing landscapes for Climate-Smart Agriculture systems


Evidence and policy implications of climate-smart agriculture in Kenya

In Kenya, the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, with the FAO Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture (MICCA) Programme, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), undertook a process to understand what is working in climate-smart agriculture in regions of the countries that are not arid and semi-arid lands. The process involved taking stock of 40 projects related to integrated crop-livestock-tree-fish production to understand the lessons learned and how to apply them to support the scaling up of climate-smart agriculture in Kenya. The process was inherently landscape-based for multiple reasons. First, it integrated practices used in the management of natural, semi-natural and agricultural ecosystems with issues related to governance. It was also designed as a joint process that encompassed planning and management, which built on the interaction between multiple sources of knowledge (e.g. research, institutional, civil society, traditional, indigenous). It also followed a system-wide approach that interdependently strengthened the capacities of people, organizations, institutions and the enabling environment. 

The process engaged with representatives from the government sectors that make up the climate change unit (agriculture, fisheries, livestock) and the climate change secretariat based in Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Also included in the process were stakeholders from research institutions, practitioners in the field and policy makers who shared and analysed scientific evidence and field experiences from the various projects.  The process presented a detailed picture of the current state of knowledge on how climate-smart agriculture can serve to simultaneously achieve Kenya’s development goals, meet the country's climate change targets and strengthen policy linkages. Some of the overarching recommendations related to cross-sectoral coordination include: 

  • integration is required at all levels; 
  • knowledge generation and sharing are critical for evidence-based decision-making; 
  • inclusiveness and contextualization promote ownership and uptake; and
  • it is import to building synergies and address potential inconsistencies between policies, regulations, investments and implementation. 

Jointly agreed upon communications about climate-smart agriculture, which were based on solid evidence, were developed as a cross-sectoral contribution to the policy dialogues of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international fora, including the Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africa.