Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Enabling policy environment for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Enabling Frameworks


Achieving the objectives of climate-smart agriculture will require close collaboration among various stakeholders and coherent cross-sectoral policies. Policy work to support climate-smart agriculture needs to be aligned with the goals and objectives of international agreements, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement and the SFDRR.

The principles that guide policies that are intended to support climate-smart agriculture, sustainable development and food security are very similar. However, different countries have different development priorities. To formulate appropriate climate-smart agriculture strategies and interventions, reliable information, good quality data, sound climate change projections and impact assessments, and robust evidence is required. Capacities to implement climate-smart agriculture interventions also need to be strengthened and current barriers to adoption need to be systematically addressed at all levels (see module C1). 

Current national development, agriculture, food security and climate change policies need to be carefully analysed and adjusted to increase their coherence. Policy makers need to gain a better understanding of how different policies effect efforts to reach the objectives of climate-smart agriculture. To better support the scaling up of climate-smart agriculture it is often sufficient to analyse and adjust existing policies and ensure their enforcement rather than design new policies. New policy measures may need to be formulated to fill the gaps that are not adequately covered by existing policies, or compensate for trade-offs between different objectives. If necessary, governments can use fiscal or regulatory instruments to cover policy gaps or strengthen public benefits.

To create an enabling environment for expanding climate-smart agriculture and it into broader national development plans, institutions with effective and transparent governance structures need to be established. If climate-smart agriculture interventions are to be successful, policy makers need to adapt regulations so that they meet the country's specific environmental needs, and accompany these regulations with incentives that encourage agricultural producers and other stakeholders in the food system to adopt climate-smart agriculture practices. 

Regulatory and fiscal instruments can help promote climate-smart agriculture and overcome barriers to its adoption and expansion. Incentives (e.g. price and non-price measures) need to focus on surmounting the constraints that limit the adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices. A mix of different forms of support (e.g. regulations, capacity development, investments in research and innovation, the dissemination of knowledge, improvements in infrastructure, social protection and safety nets) are often more effective and sustainable in creating a pathway for scaling up climate-smart agriculture.

Civil society, the private sector and financial institutions all play vital roles in implementing climate-smart agriculture. These groups need to work together with key national line ministries and development agencies and donors to develop climate-smart agriculture policies through an inclusive participatory process that can capitalize on the range of experience of different stakeholders.