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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.


Spotlight

Italian Chef Carlo Cracco draws attention to climate change threats for small scale farmers in Cambodia

For World Environment Day, IFAD partners with Italian chef Carlo Cracco to shed light on the devastating impact that climate change is having on rice production in Cambodia. 
 

Related news

IFAD announces second phase of its flagship climate change adaptation fund

December 2017 - NEWS
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is pleased to announce the second phase of the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the largest global financing source dedicated to supporting the adaptation of poor smallholder farmers to climate change.

Germany pledges €20 million at COP 23 to help smallholders fight climate change

November 2017 - NEWS
At COP 23 the German government announced that it is pledging €20 million in climate finance to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help smallholder farmers in developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change and improve their food security.

Biomimic Tree pushes agriculture up the Agenda at COP23

November 2017 - NEWS
Bonn, Germany 7 November 2017 – Drawing attention to the impact that climate change is having on rural communities in developing countries, British artist Silas Birtwistle unveiled his Biomimic Tree at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany.

Related publications

Comprehensive environment and climate change assessment in Viet Nam

June 2010

This report was prepared for informing IFAD‘s Country Strategic Opportunities Program (COSOP) 2012 – 2017 for Viet Nam. In preparation of this report a brainstorming workshop was held on 9 May 2011 in Hanoi bringing together key national research institutes working on climate change (CC) and environment related issues, ministries of agriculture and environment and bilateral and multilateral donors.

LANGUAGES: English

Food prices: Smallholders can be part of the solution

July 2009
Recent price volatility on international markets is putting pressure on global food security. For the 2 billion people who live and work on small farms in developing countries, life has become more precarious. But with the right investments, policies and development programmes in place, smallholder farmers have a huge potential to increase food production, improving their lives and contributing to greater food security for all.

The Marine Advantage

November 2017
Agriculture and fisheries, the backbone of food security and nutrition for coastal communities and globally, are under threat. Climate change and environmental
degradation in coastal areas, including Small Island Developing States, are already affecting the natural resource base on which smallholders depend for their food
security and livelihoods. Future projections outline an increasingly urgent need to help communities adapt to these changes and protect these fragile resources.
LANGUAGES: English

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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, b.thomson@ifad.org