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Climate impact assessments and appraisals of CSA options

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This module provides guidance for translating the theories and practices of climate-smart agriculture into assessment activities when designing and implementing national and subnational policies and programmes and investment cycles for agriculture, climate change and development. 

Chapter C8-1 provides an overview of methodologies, frameworks, and principles that support assessments of the impacts of climate change and the vulnerability of agriculture, food security, and livelihoods to climate change stress. It also considers appraisal of the effectiveness of climate-smart agriculture interventions in enhancing climate change adaptation and mitigation, and food security in the face of changing weather patterns. Details about how to conduct assessments and appraisals relating to policies are provided in chapter C8-2.

Climate-smart agriculture practices are specific to a given location and socio-economic context. It is not possible to prescribe one assessment approach for all situations. The ideas and methods outlined in this module represent a starting point for designing an assessment approach that targets the specific needs and the context of the proposed activity. This module does not consider in detail the policies, institutional aspects, and capacity development related to assessment (e.g. stakeholder analysis, institutional analysis). These important issues are addressed in module C3 on policies and programmes, and in module C1 on system-wide capacity development. Although they do not explicitly address planning processes, assessments are closely linked to planning. Assessments and appraisals reviewed in this module form the basis for monitoring and evaluation in programmes and projects (see module C9), which are part of holistic climate-smart agriculture planning (see module C10).

Key messages

  • All climate-smart agriculture policies and programmes should be based on clearly defined concepts, and be tailored to the specific environmental and socio-economic conditions of the targeted communities. Assessments at diverse temporal and spatial scales are integral parts of climate-smart agriculture planning and implementation.
  • The past and future impacts of climate change on agricultural sectors, and the vulnerability of livelihoods in agricultural communities need to be assessed.
  • Climate-smart agriculture options should be assessed for their effectiveness in achieving goals related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and food security.
  • Existing methodologies, data and tools need to be clearly presented to stakeholders, and robust evidence needs to be established to inform decision-making process for climate-smart agriculture planning.
  • Assessments help define baselines essential for monitoring progress and evaluation of successes and setbacks of climate-smart agricultural interventions.