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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

IFAD-supported projects help women come back to the countryside

Life in the countryside isn’t always easy – especially for rural women, whose contributions and successes have only recently begun to receive the attention they deserve.

Related news

€300 million loan from AFD to IFAD to support millions of small-scale farmers

November 2020 - NEWS
In an effort to tackle the devastating impact of climate change on rural hunger and poverty, the French Development Agency (AFD), today signed a €300 million loan to IFAD to help small-scale farmers in high-risk countries build their resilience to shocks and increase their productivity.

Climate finance neglects small-scale farmers – new report

November 2020 - NEWS
Only 1.7 per cent of climate finance – a fraction of what is needed - goes to small-scale farmers in developing countries despite their disproportionate vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, according to a report released by the IFAD and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) today.

Historic statement by Public Development Banks signals greater commitment to tackle global hunger and poverty

November 2020 - NEWS

For the first time in history, today 13 Public Development Banks (PDBs) made a joint commitment to strengthen investments in food and agriculture in the context of a global pandemic and a changing climate.

Related publications

Climate Risk Analyses in East and Southern Africa

November 2020
These Climate Risk Analyses assess the potential impacts of climate change on several crops and commodities in Lesotho, Mozambique and Uganda.  

Examining the climate finance gap for small-scale agriculture

November 2020

In a rapidly changing world, agriculture remains the heart of sustainable development. The risks facing the world in this final decade left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals are many, but the opportunities are equally numerous.

Climate change and small-scale farming: The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)

October 2020
IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is the largest multi-donor global fund specifically dedicated to enabling smallholder farmers to adapt and build their resilience to climate change.

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