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UN partners with European Commission to promote ‘climate-smart’ agriculture

Article / Review by on January 16, 2012 – 9:04 pmNo Comments

UN partners with European Commission to promote ‘climate-smart’ agriculture

A woman farmerA woman farmer

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Commission are teaming up to help Malawi, Viet Nam and Zambia transition to a “climate-smart” approach to agriculture.

The €5.3 million project announced today seeks to make changes in farming systems that will help improve their contribution to the fight against hunger and poverty, render them more resilient to climate change, reduce emissions, and increase agriculture’s potential to capture and sequester atmospheric carbon.

“We need to start putting climate-smart agriculture into practice, working closely with farmers and their communities,” FAO Assistant Director-General for the Economic and Social Development Department, Hafez Ghanem, stated in a news release.

We need to start putting climate-smart agriculture into practice, working closely with farmers and their communities

“But there are no one-size-fits-all solutions – better climate-smart farming practices need to respond to different local conditions, to geography, weather and the natural resource base.”

Agriculture is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, while at the same time, it is a significant producer of greenhouse gases, thus contributing to global warming.

Mr. Ghanem noted that the project will look closely at the three countries and identify challenges and opportunities for climate-smart agriculture and produce strategic plans tailored to the specific situation of each one.

“While not all solutions identified will be universally applicable, we can learn a lot about how countries could take similar steps and begin shifting to this approach to agriculture,” he stated.

In collaboration with local and international organizations, the three-year project will identify country-specific opportunities for expansion of existing climate-smart practices or implementation of new ones.

It will also study the constraints that need to be overcome to promote wider adoption of climate-smart agriculture, including investment costs, among other aims.

By tackling the urgent need to incorporate climate change concerns into agricultural development planning, this new project represents a concrete step forward, said Mr. Ghanem.

“The problems of climate change are increasingly being felt on the ground, and thus early actions to address the problem are needed, even as international negotiations continue in the search for a global climate agreement.”

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FAO-EC project to promote climate-smart farming
Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia will benefit from collaborative effort

16 January 2012, Rome – FAO and the European Commission announced today a new €5.3 million project aimed at helping Malawi, Vietnam and Zambia transition to a “climate-smart” approach to agriculture.

Agriculture — and the communities who depend on it for their livelihoods and food security — are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. At the same time agriculture, as a significant producer of greenhouse gases, contributes to global warming.

“Climate-smart agriculture” is an approach that seeks to position the agricultural sector as a solution to these major challenges.

It involves making changes in farming systems that achieve multiple goals: improving their contribution to the fight against hunger and poverty; rendering them more resilient to climate change; reducing emissions; and increasing agriculture’s potential to capture and sequester atmospheric carbon.

“We need to start putting climate-smart agriculture into practice, working closely with farmers and their communities,” said FAO Assistant Director-General for the Economic and Social Development Department, Hafez Ghanem. “But there are no one-size-fits-all solutions — better climate-smart farming practices need to respond to different local conditions, to geography, weather and the natural resource base,” he added.

“This project will look closely at three countries and identify challenges and opportunities for climate-smart agriculture and produce strategic plans tailored to each country’s own reality,” Ghanem said. “While not all solutions identified will be universally applicable, we can learn a lot about how countries could take similar steps and begin shifting to this approach to agriculture.”

Tailor-made solutions

The EU is providing €3.3 million  to support the effort; FAO’s contribution is €2 million.

Working closely with agriculture and other ministries in each of the partner countries, and collaborating with local and international organizations, the three-year project will:

  • Identify country-specific opportunities for expansion of existing climate-smart practices or implementation of new ones
  • Study the constraints that need to be overcome to promote wider adoption of climate-smart agriculture, including investment costs
  • Promote integration of national climate change and agricultural strategies to support the implementation of climate-smart agriculture
  • Identify innovative mechanisms for linking climate finance with climate-smart agriculture investments
  • Build capacity for planning and implementing climate-smart projects capable of attracting international investments

FAO will take the overall lead on the project, working in partnership with national policy and research institutions, as well as global organizations such as the Global Crop Diversity Trust.

By tackling the urgent need to incorporate climate change concerns into agricultural development planning, this new project represents a concrete step forward, said Ghanem. “The problems of climate change are increasingly being felt on the ground, and thus early actions to address the problem are needed, even as international negotiations continue in the search for a global climate agreement,” he said.

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> UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is an intergovernmental organization and has 191 Member Nations, two associate members and one member organization, the European Union. Achieving food security for all is at the heart of FAO’s efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives.

FAO HEADQUARTERS. Rome, Italy. Credit: FAO. Giulio Napolitano

FAO’s mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working with its Members and the entire international community for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

These eight goals – each with specific targets and indicators – are based on the United Nations Millennium Declaration, signed by world leaders in September 2000. They commit the international community to combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women.

The eight Millennium Development Goals are:

The eight Millennium Development Goals are:
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

* More information at UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

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> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

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* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)

More about United Nations (UN)

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