Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook

Social protection and decent rural employment for CSA

Enabling Frameworks


The challenges associated with climate change are daunting. Everyone will be influenced by its consequences, but it is the poor and vulnerable, particularly in rural areas, who will be the most affected. That is why there is a great need to address the social dimensions of climate change, by establishing effective and resilient social protection systems and generating opportunities for decent employment and green jobs in rural communities.

This module focuses on the human and social aspects behind climate change and describes how social protection and decent rural employment can be crucial in increasing the resilience of vulnerable groups, especially women and young people, in the face of the impacts of climate change.

Social protection can be instrumental in reducing the impacts of climate-related shocks, such as droughts, floods, landslides, tropical storms. Social protection interventions can also have a positive  effect on production. There are several policy mechanisms that can be put in place to harness the potential of social protection in rural areas for climate-smart agriculture: increasing the coverage of social protection in rural areas, especially in fragile contexts; ensuring that social protection programmes are risk-informed and responsive to shocks, so that governments have the capacity to react swiftly to natural disasters; and creating linkages between social protection programmes and productive opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Climate change poses particular challenges to labour markets. Jobs will shift, and some will be irrevocably abandoned. However, millions of new green jobs can also be created. By bridging the apparent divide between economic growth and environmental protection green jobs are at the centre of socio-economic-environmental nexus and can provide a climate-smart way of meeting the challenges of food insecurity, environmental degradation and climate change. For economic growth to be greener and sustainable, policy support and capacity development will be essential. This will require that provisions be made so that young people can obtain adequate training to upgrade and develop their skills. It will also involve guaranteeing that green investments are targeted towards young people and that young women and men have equal access to opportunities for decent employment and green jobs. It will be also necessary to promote change at the policy level by ensuring that green jobs in agriculture, together with youth and gender initiatives, are included in national development plans, strategies and programmes. Such an approach would demonstrate a firm, long-term commitment to making a transition to socially equitable climate-smart development.