The challenge Climate change-related hazards are hitting smallholder farmers especially hard, but international climate finance is not benefitting them nearly enough. Losses and damages from extreme weather events keep increasing, as the patterns of droughts, floods and tropical storms are becoming more unpredictable. In parallel, rural livelihoods are undermined by the creeping effects of erosion, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. Faced with climate change as a threat multiplier, development organisations need to devise new financial and programming instruments to address these emerging problems.
The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is a programme launched by IFAD in 2012 to channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers so that they can increase their resilience. ASAP, a multi-year and multi-donor programme, received substantial financial support from the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Other donor countries are appraising a contribution. The objective of ASAP is to improve the climate resilience of large-scale rural development programmes and improve the capacity of at least 8 million smallholder farmers to expand their options in a rapidly changing environment.
Through ASAP, IFAD is driving a major scaling-up of successful “multiple-benefit” approaches to increase agricultural output while simultaneously reducing vulnerability to climate-related risks and diversifying livelihoods.
Examples of ASAP-supported initiatives include:
Back to back with these multiple-benefit approaches, ASAP will empower community-based organisations to make use of new climate risk management skills, information and technologies. These can include improved weather stations networks, which can provide farmers with more reliable seasonal forecasts and cropping calendars; Geographic Information Systems can help better understand and monitor landscape use in a changing environment; and economic valuation of climate change impacts can inform more robust policy decisions.
By blending tried and tested ‘no regrets’ approaches to rural development with modern adaptation know-how, ASAP is well positioned to increase the climate resilience of IFAD’s approximately US$ 1billion per year of new investments. In doing so, ASAP embodies one of the most concrete and decisive steps a UN agency has ever undertaken to truly integrate climate change into its programming.