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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

On tap: How regular water supply helped farmers discover a green thumb in Bhutan

Despite the lush greenery that surrounds Ngarpongtang village in Thangrong, Bhutan, until recently, it was impossible to grow vegetables there. “I used to have to go to other villages to exchange pinewood for vegetables,” says Wangdi, a 54-year-old farmer. “We couldn’t get vegetables to grow here.”

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

Research Series Issue 62: The spillover effects of seed producer groups on non-member farmers in mid-hill communities of Nepal

June 2020
Rice farmers in the mid-hills region of Nepal are vulnerable to drought, which can drastically reduce yields. Stress-tolerant rice varieties can mitigate this vulnerability, as can having a high seed replacement rate and using best management practices in rice cultivation.

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.

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