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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

Zero hunger, climate resilient: Transforming agriculture in Guinea-Bissau

Innovative and forward-looking, the IFAD-funded project in Guinea-Bissau will transform rural economic networks for a sustainable agriculture of the future.

Funds from Sweden to help farmers adapt to climate change

January 2020 - NEWS
The Government of Sweden has contributed approximately US$12 million to help rural farmers adapt to a changing climate and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, IFAD announced today.

IFAD and China promote climate-resilient agriculture and reforestation in Pakistan

December 2019 - NEWS
Climate-resilient and sustainable reforestation practices to support Pakistan's national development is the focus of a one-day seminar convened by IFAD and the governments of China and Pakistan in Islamabad today.

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.

INSURED - Insurance for rural resilience and economic development

January 2020

INSURED is a technical assistance programme working to strengthen agricultural insurance in IFAD’s portfolio.

Research Series Issue 49: Climate and jobs for rural young people

December 2019

Climate change matters for all young people, especially for those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. This study shows that adaptation to climate change is feasible and options increase as new technologies and management approaches come on-stream. 

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.

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