Policy Support and Governance Gateway
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Climate Smart Agriculture

The world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. To feed this population, food production must increase by an estimated 70 percent. Agriculture is key to addressing these challenges. At the same time, agriculture must adapt to climate change and help mitigate climate impacts.

Achieving food security in a changing climate.

The Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) approach addresses food security and climate change simultaneously, whilst contributing to greenhouse gas mitigation.

FAO advocates this integrated approach at the national level by supporting governments in the development of CSA approaches, providing policy-relevant evidence and tools, assisting in the design of national climate change adaptation plans, and in accessing climate finance.

At the international level, FAO provides policy advice to inter-governmental processes (e.g. UNFCCC) and plays a unique role in raising awareness of the importance of agriculture in achieving food security under the new realities of climate change and population pressure.

Key policy messages

·        Agriculture and food systems must undergo significant transformations in order to meet the challenges of food security and climate change.  A CSA approach to agricultural policy making can be a major driver to achieve this.

·        CSA is not a new set of sustainability practices or production systems, but an approach to provide the means for integrating the specificities of adaptation and mitigation into sustainable agricultural development policies, programmes and investments.

·        Solutions are context specific (both in terms of location and time), and as such, they require a process of analysis and consultation to identify what will work in which context to sustainably improve food security.

·        Improved policy coordination within agricultural sectors (e.g. crops, livestock, forestry and fisheries) and across other sectors (e.g. energy, water, industry) is essential to capitalize on potential synergies, reduce trade-offs and optimize the use of natural resources and ecosystem services.

·        A sustainable agriculture requires responsible and effective governance. Mediating key trade-offs and enhancing synergies between the principles of sustainable agriculture and their associated indicators implies iterative processes of bargaining between different actors and sectors, and active coalition building. Governance arrangements that facilitate effective and inclusive dialogue between stakeholders, including governments, private sector and civil society, and make a concerted effort to ensure that the voices of the poor and marginalised are heard, are critical for sustainable agriculture.  

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