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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

Recipes for Change: Chef Pierre Thiam shares a lockdown-friendly vegan chilli recipe

IFAD’s Recipes for Change chefs are carrying on with life under lockdown by sharing some excellent recipes that you can make with ingredients you’ve already got in your home cupboard. Senegalese Chef Pierre Thiam joins us from his home in New York State with a delicious recipe for vegan chilli.

Related news

Mali and IFAD develop a new strategic programme to meet the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the face of climate change

March 2020 - NEWS
The Government of Mali and IFAD held a workshop in Bamako on 5 March 2020 to prepare a new results-based country strategic opportunities programme (RB-COSOP) for the period 2020-2024.

Guinea-Bissau and IFAD partner to build farmers’ resilience to climate change

March 2020 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today announced support for a new project in Guinea-Bissau to reduce poverty, increase productivity and incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 287,000 small-scale farmers in the face of climate change.

Sao Tome and Principe and IFAD partner to improve nutrition and incomes in face of climate change

February 2020 - NEWS
IFAD today announced support for a new project to increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 34,800 rural farmers of Sao Tome and Principe, an island country highly affected by climate change.

Related publications

Good Practice Brief: Fostering sustainability and resilience for food security in Niger

March 2020
This brief highlights a project in Niger that is tackling climate change and land degradation and scaling up sustainable natural resource management for family farming.

Resilient Food Systems 2018-2019 Annual Report

March 2020
Discover how the Resilient Food Systems programme is enhancing long-term sustainability and resilience for food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

Fostering Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains: The role of climate-resilient infrastructures for SMEs

February 2020

This study reviews evidence on initiatives that invest in climate-resilient infrastructure to support smallholder farmer organizations and agribusinesses in the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) category and, ultimately, to foster inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains. Case studies from the BRACED and ASAP programmes across sub-Saharan Africa are presented.

Partners


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