The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently unveiled a new set of guidelines to support developing countries balance the needs of increased food production and climate change adaptation. The guidelines aim to support governments in making sure that the agriculture sector is both included in national climate change adaptation plans and made more resilient and sustainable.
As a part of the Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans program, the guidelines support the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation into agricultural policies, plans, and programs in several countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The guidelines aim to help each country’s governments assess climate change impacts on their unique agricultural systems, identify adaptation options, and support farmers—especially women—in adopting best practices in climate change adaptation.
“Medium to long-term adaptation planning is crucial to build climate resilience and food security for future generations,” said Julia Wolf, FAO Natural Resources Officer and co-author of the guidelines. “The agriculture sectors, often the economic backbone of developing countries, need to be a key driver and stakeholder. The guidelines are set out to address the key issues, entry points and steps to take.”
Total emissions from agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors have doubled over the last 50 years, making it a target for mitigation efforts declared at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December 2015. FAO’s work on climate change highlights the need for “a paradigm shift towards agriculture and food systems that are more resilient, more productive, and more sustainable,” to mitigate and adapt to climate change and ensure future food security for a growing global population.
The guidelines are designed for multiple actors involved in climate and agriculture planning, including national planners, climate experts, local community members, and agriculture, forestry, and fishery authorities.