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Climate

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

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

Spotlight

Global food crisis, poor nutrition and the effects of climate change need urgent action, says IFAD President

A global food crisis and the effects of climate change are taking a toll on those most vulnerable: millions of people – many of them small-scale farmers and their families – who are unable to afford a healthy diet. At this critical juncture, Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD, is visiting the Solomon Islands and Australia from 29 February to 8 March 2024 to collaborate on next-steps and to deepen IFAD’s strategic partnership with governments across the region.

Experts

Contentverzamelaar

Pierre Yves Guedez

Senior Technical Specialist, GCF focal point

[email protected]

Hisham Zehni

Senior Technical Specialist - SECAP, Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division

[email protected]

Jahan-Zeb Chowdhury

Lead Technical Specialist - Environment & Climate Cluster Coordinator

[email protected]

Janie Rioux

Senior Climate Finance Specialist, GEF coordinator

[email protected]

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Stories and news

Stories and news

Global food crisis, poor nutrition and the effects of climate change need urgent action, says IFAD President

februari 2024 - NEWS

A global food crisis and the effects of climate change are taking a toll on those most vulnerable: millions of people – many of them small-scale farmers and their families – who are unable to afford a healthy diet. At this critical juncture, Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD, is visiting the Solomon Islands and Australia from 29 February to 8 March 2024 to collaborate on next-steps and to deepen IFAD’s strategic partnership with governments across the region.

Zero waste, full plates: winning with school meals - Episode 54

februari 2024 - PODCAST

In this episode, we explore why we must pursue zero hunger and zero waste as joint goals. In particular, we look at how these efforts are crucial for children, who depend on nutritious diets for healthy development.

Prosperity or the planet? Luckily, they're not mutually exclusive

februari 2024 - BLOG

All too often, value chain development harms the planet by emitting carbon and degrading environments. That’s why to build truly prosperous rural areas, we must make value chains not just strong, but sustainable.

Twenty years on from the first Farmers’ Forum, four farming leaders weigh in

februari 2024 - STORY

We asked four farmers’ organization leaders from around the world about current challenges, new developments and their hopes for the future at the eighth global meeting of the Famers’ Forum.

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Related publications

Related publications

“Fruiting Africa” for health and wealth

december 2018
Since 2006, IFAD and the European Union have partnered to invest over EUR 230 million in agricultural research programmes carried out through the CGIAR system. 

A task list for multilateral agencies: the possibilities of Bridgetown

juli 2023

The policy brief focuses on the challenge of equitable and sustainable development for all and proposes a task list for multilateral development agencies and outlines potential for reform.

Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) brochure

oktober 2015

The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) was launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2012 to make climate and environmental finance work for smallholder farmers. A multi-year and multi-donor financing window, ASAP provides a new source of cofinancing to scale up and integrate climate change adaptation across IFAD’s approximately US$1billion per year of new investments. The programme is joined up with IFAD’s regular investment processes and benefits from rigorous quality control and supervision systems.

ASAP is driving a major scaling up of successful ‘multiple-benefit’ approaches to smallholder agriculture, which improve production while reducing and diversifying climate-related risks. In doing so, ASAP is blending tried-and tested approaches to rural development with relevant adaptation know-how and technologies. This will increase the capacity of at least 8 million smallholder farmers to expand their livelihood options in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment.

additional-languages: Arabic, English, Spanish, French, Russian

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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, [email protected]