Climate-Smart Agriculture

Methods & Assessments

Assessment, monitoring and evaluation are integral parts of CSA planning and implementation. They are crucial for making decisions on the use of natural resources. Both the past and future impacts of climate variability and change on agriculture and the vulnerability of communities needs to be assessed. CSA options should be assessed for their effectiveness in achieving goals related to food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as other development objectives.

The Modelling System for Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change (MOSAICC) helps countries carry out inter-disciplinary climate change impact assessment on agriculture through simulations.

Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM) simulates the interaction of activities and processes involved in livestock production (meat and milk production) and the environment. It is designed to analyse multiple environmental impact categories, such as greenhouse gas emissions, land use and land degradation, nutrient and water use and interaction with biodiversity.
The guidelines of the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture (SAFA) system is a holistic and inclusive framework for assessing sustainability performance in the food and agriculture sector, including crop and livestock production, forestry and fisheries. The monitoring and evaluation of activities set baselines, define indicators, measure progress and evaluate successes and setbacks in CSA interventions.

The Economics and Policy Innovations for Climate-Smart Agriculture (EPIC) programme works with governments, research centres, universities and other institutional partners to support the transition to CSA by using economic and policy analysis. It is a programme of work aimed at identifying and harmonizing climate-smart agricultural policies, analysing impacts, effects, costs and benefits as well as incentives and barriers to the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices.

The Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool (EX-ACT) is an appraisal system developed by FAO. In the project development phase, it provides ex-ante estimates of the impact of agriculture and forestry development projects, programmes and policies on the carbon-balance. The carbon-balance is defined as the net balance from all greenhouse gases expressed in CO2 equivalent that will be emitted or sequestered due to project implementation as compared to a business-as-usual scenario.

Climate Risk Management (CRM) is an example of an integrated approach that addresses vulnerabilities to short-term climate variability and longer-term climate change in the context of sustainable development. FAO's key CRM component is the provision of usable weather and climate information products that help the farmers, livestock herders and fishers to assess risks and improve opportunities at local level.

Gender mainstreaming
Gender mainstreaming is crucial to achieving CSA in a socially sustainable way. The roles, responsibilities and capabilities of men and women need to be well understood to ensure that both men and women have access to and benefit from CSA practices and policies. FAO and partners recently developed a new module for the Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook: Gender in Climate-Smart Agriculture. For further information see Learning.  

Monitoring and Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Potential in Agriculture (MAGHG) project falls under the MICCA programme and supports Member Countries in reporting and gathering data on GHG emissions in the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sector for UNFCCC related reporting requirements. FAO also assists countries in analysing this data for improved actions to respond to climate change.