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The agriculture sectors, in particular livestock farming, plays a major role in the Uruguayan economy, accounting for 7 percent of the GDP and 70 percent of the country’s total exports. 

Over the last decade, the agricultural sectors have experienced a period of rapid growth, intensification and modernization. However, agriculture production remains highly exposed to climate change and climate variability, with floods and droughts during the same period becoming more intense.

To tackle these challenges Uruguay is undertaking a series of adaptation interventions, underpinned by a progressive policy framework, and with support from the the NAP-Ag Programme, will increasingly be integrating adaptation strategies into its national and sub-national planning and budgeting processes. 


Adaptation policies

To cope with the challenges that climate change poses on the agriculture sectors, Uruguay has developed an advanced suite of related policies, strategies and plans.

In 2016 the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) began the process of developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for the agriculture sectors, with support of the NAP-Ag programme. The Agriculture NAP (PNA-Agro) was launched in 2019 and is a strategic instrument that will help the country achieve the national adaptation and mitigation commitments established in their first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, as well as contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The PNA-Agro proposes a strategy for 2050 and an action plan for 2025, with adaptation measures in four dimensions: production systems, ecosystems and natural resources, livelihoods and institutional capacities. It seeks to clarify questions around which agriculture, forestry and fishery activities need to adapt, in which parts of the country, and how producers can effectively reduce their vulnerability and build their resilience to future climate uncertainties. Next step is now to implement this plan. 

NAP-Ag activities

In Uruguay, the NAP-Ag focused on supporting the formulation of the agricultural NAP through: the strengthening of an impact evaluation framework; cost-benefit analysis of adaptation options; generating sex-disaggregated rural statistics; identifying indicators for monitoring and evaluation for adaptation in agriculture; and modelling of climate change scenarios.

The NAP-Ag works directly with the Sustainability and Climate Change Unit (USyCC), in the Office of Agricultural Programming and Policy (OPYPA) of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries (MGAP) and with the other national institutions involved in the process.

Monitoring and Evaluation

As part of the conceptualization of the National Adaptation Plan to Climate Variability and Change for the Agriculture Sector (PNA-Agro and the Action Plan for 2025), a matrix of 32 indicators was elaborated to serve as monitoring mechanism of the policy. The identification of the indicators was performed by searching for synergies with the PNA-Agro and other existing indicators in the NDC and the SDGs, in order to track progress in the implementation of the four adaptation dimensions identified in the plan, namely Production system (9 indicators), Ecosystems and natural resources (9 indicators), Livelihoods (9 indicators), Institutional Capacities (5 indicators). The work was performed in collaboration with the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS).

Coordinating NDCs, NAMAs and NAPs

Within the Unit of Sustainability and Climate Change in the Office of Agricultural Planning and Policies (OPYPA) of the MGAP, the NDC and NAP processes were carried out in a coordinated way. The Agriculture NAP process has generated inputs for formulating the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system of the NDC and this formulation was considered for elaborating the set of adaptation indicators included in the Agriculture NAP. The elaboration and implementation of the Agriculture NAP is one of the adaptation actions for agriculture included in the first NDC of Uruguay. MORE+

Cross-sectoral consultations

In Uruguay, broad stakeholder consultations through Adaptation Dialogues for the fisheries, forestry, dairy, horticultural, agricultural and livestock sectors have been held to identify national adaptation priorities, challenges and responses to feed into the development of Uruguay's NAP for the agricultural sector.

Gender mainstreaming

Ongoing activities seek to build and strengthen understanding and inclusion of gender dimensions within the agricultural sector of the NAPs. The research combines qualitative and quantitative survey methods and will generate sex-disaggregated rural statistics, as well as indicators on the contribution of women to rural production and issues such as how climate adaptation strategies and perceptions differ between women and men in dairy, livestock and vegetable production sectors. The process and results of this activity are shared in the case study Making the case for gender-responsive adaptation planning in Uruguay: The importance of sex-disaggregated data.

Impact evaluation

The NAP–Ag, in partnership with research institutes and universities, is working on the development and implementation of an impact evaluation framework for the agricultural sectors that will generate evidence-based results of adaptation options and serve as an input for national adaptation planning.

The Case of Uruguay (2017)

The case study on Uruguay is part of a series that describes the steps taken to formulate and implement NAPs. The series aims to provide national policy makers with valuable information from counterparts in Asia, Africa and Latin America who are on the same NAP journey to tackle the multiple challenges posed by climate change. It also shows the links between the country-led NAP processes and the NAP-Ag Programme activities and resulting impacts.

Climate scenarios through Statistical Downscaling (2018)

Climate scenarios through Statistical Downscaling (2018)

To build a better understanding of how to measure and assess the estimated impact of climate change on agricultural production in the country, the NAP-Ag introduced MOSAICC (Modelling System for Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change), a tool to analyse climate risks and assess climate vulnerabilities. The tool will be used for downscaling climate scenarios to support national decision-making and planning. During 2018, Uruguay will implement MOSAICC's module for the modelling of climate change impacts for main crops and pastures - a fundamental stage for planning and identifying adaptation strategies.

Loss and Damages

Loss and Damages

The NAP-Ag is providing support for the development of a systematic protocol for estimations of loss and damage due to climate events in agriculture. Methodical estimations of loss and damage are important for effective climate risk management and to support policies and programs that are successful at reducing the impact of climate in agriculture and promote adaptation. 

Cost-benefit analysis

Cost-benefit analysis

A guide for the ex-ante evaluation of adaptation alternatives was developed in collaboration with the SARAS2 Institute. This guide is meant to support the mainstreaming of cost-benefit analysis of adaptation alternatives at the policy level. The NAP-Ag is also working with the Office of Agricultural Programing and Policies of the Ministry of Agriculture to Analyze irrigation alternatives in rice and crops.

Capacity building for youth

Capacity building for youth

Recognizing the key role of youth in adaptation to climate change in agriculture, the Nap-Ag in Uruguay organized capacity building activities at Agricultural High schools across the country in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Center for Response to Climate Variability and Climate Change of the University of the Republic. The goal of the program is to raise awareness on the causes and impacts of climate change in agriculture, reflect on the importance of adaptation, and explore reliable sources of climate information. As children better understand the causes and impact of climate change they will be better prepared to plan and respond to it. Youth are powerful agents of change and can contribute not only to adaptation but also to mitigation actions.