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Ensuring environmental sustainability and building resilience to climate change

Smallholder farmers and poor rural people bear the brunt of climate change and the degradation of natural resources. Extreme weather events, such as droughts, storms and floods, are putting pressure on the ecosystems that farmers depend on, as are gradual processes such as rising sea levels and melting glaciers.

Crop failures and livestock deaths are causing economic losses and undermining the food security of rural people with ever-greater frequency, especially in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

At the same time, the rapidly growing global population demands higher levels of food production. To meet the world’s growing needs, agricultural production must double by 2050, food waste must be reduced and value chains have to become sustainable and efficient.

The ecosystems on which smallholder farmers rely are increasingly undermined. Access to suitable agricultural land is declining, and forest, soil and water resources are increasingly restricted and degraded. 

Many farmers produce on marginal, rainfed land, where water is increasingly scarce. Pollution and overexploitation are causing a serious decline in fish populations, threatening essential sources of income and nutrition.

Improving farming practices and safeguarding the environment

Poor farmers and fishers are guardians of natural resources. With targeted assistance, agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors can play a key role in tackling environmental degradation and climate change.

Improving land management and adjusting farming practices can help alleviate pressure on the environment and lower greenhouse gas emissions. 

Farming systems that embrace sustainable intensification practices can increase crop tolerance, diversify production and hinder environmental degradation.

Sustainable agricultural intensification

IFAD promotes agricultural growth that is environmentally sustainable and integrated into ecosystems. We help farmers and fishers become more resilient to the impact of climate change.

IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme is the largest global climate adaptation programme for smallholder farmers. We channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers, helping them to reduce poverty, enhance biodiversity, increase yields and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

IFAD is also an executing agency of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). These are among the main financial mechanisms for addressing the intertwined issues of poverty alleviation, sustainable ecosystem management and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Through these programmes, IFAD works with our partners to scale up successful approaches to sustainable agricultural production and green value chains. These approaches build climate resilience by managing competing land-use systems while reducing poverty, enhancing biodiversity, increasing yields and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

In depth

Renewable energy

More than 2.5 billion people rely on biomass, such as fuel wood, charcoal, agricultural waste and animal dung to meet their energy needs for cooking. In many countries, these resources account for over 90 per cent of household energy consumption.

Spotlight

Family farming, biodiversity and climate change - opportunities of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming

Agriculture is responsible for much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but family farmers are also responsible for promoting biodiversity and guaranteeing ecosystem services upon which agricultural activity depends. 

Related news

Morocco and IFAD to invest in smallholder farmers’ climate change resilience

December 2019 - NEWS
A new €82.6 million agricultural development project financed by IFAD and the Government of Morocco will help 11,200 vulnerable households to increase their productivity and incomes in the face of climate change.

New Report: Investments in indigenous people, youth and women essential to fight climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean

December 2019 - NEWS
Development projects that integrate investments in rural indigenous people, youth and women with measures to adapt to climate change are more likely to be successful in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new report launched today by IFAD.

IFAD, together with ASEAN invests in reducing transboundary haze pollution in Southeast Asia

December 2019 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and ASEAN Secretariat have launched the Measurable Action for Haze-Free Sustainable Land Management in Southeast Asia (MAHFSA) Programme today to reduce transboundary haze pollution and its impacts in Southeast Asia.

Related publications

Climate Action Report 2019

December 2019
The Climate Action Report 2019 provides an overview of IFAD’s work on climate change and reports on progress, challenges and achievements.

The Latin America and Caribbean Advantage: Family farming – a critical success factor for resilient food security and nutrition

December 2019
Development projects that integrate investments in rural indigenous people, youth and women with measures to adapt to climate change are more likely to be successful in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a new report launched today by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The West and Central Africa Advantage

November 2019

A new report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shows that by working with women, men, young people and indigenous peoples as change agents we are best placed to beat back the impact of climate change on rural communities in West and Central Africa (WCA).

Partners


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Contact us

For questions please contact Brian J. Thomson,

Knowledge Management and Communication Manager,

+39 0654592282 and mobile: +39 366 6121101, b.thomson@ifad.org