Climate change adaptation programme can help an additional 10 million vulnerable people in Asia and Pacific says new IFAD report

Source(s): International Fund for Agricultural Development

Climate-related hazards are intensifying in the Asia Pacific region, disproportionately affecting vulnerable rural communities. Policymakers must prioritise climate resilience and adaptation measures in order to protect rural communities from losing economic advancements according to a new report released today by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The Building climate resilience in the Asia Pacific region report, reviews the key results and lessons learned from the IFAD-supported Adaptation for Smallholder Agricultural Programme (ASAP) which ran from 2012 to 2017 and invested US$ 305 million in targeted rural development projects that needed support in adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change on rural communities. The ASAP programme made significant progress in the region, supporting more than 510,000 small-scale farming households to adapt to climate change in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam.

The report highlights the diverse, effective, and innovative approaches that IFAD has developed in cooperation with rural communities to adapt to and mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change on rural people’s lives and livelihoods.

It analyses approaches and actions that were successful and can be “scaled up” in the region, providing a solid foundation for the new phase of the programme called the Enhanced Adaptation for Smallholder Agricultural Programme (ASAP+), potentially channelling an additional US$500 million in climate finance to support the climate resilience of 10 million vulnerable people, particularly women and youth.

“Small-scale producers often know what they need to be more resilient to the effects of climate change, we can support them by helping them to access the appropriate finance and technology,” said Kisa Mfalila, IFAD’s regional climate and environment specialist for Asia and Pacific.

“The report confirms that farmers have developed many successful adaptation techniques over time. We need to act fast to draw upon local knowledge,” she added.

There will also be a live event at the IFAD Pavilion at COP26 on Wednesday 3 November 2021 that includes a virtual field trip to Bangladesh (featured in the report) to discover what steps small-scale farmers are taking to adapt to climate change. Accompanied by documentary filmmaker Qasa Alom, the audience will virtually travel to the country to meet and interact with farmers who are participants of IFAD-supported projects, to discuss their climate challenges and how they and their rural communities are adapting. 

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • Act fast, use technology to speed assessment of climate change risks and impacts, and draw upon the experience, knowledge, and creativity of local people: Smallholder farmers have developed many successful adaptation techniques – these must be identified, refined, rolled out and financed adequately and quickly.
  • Use public-private partnerships to add value to and speed up the uptake of solutions created by local people: Public sector initiatives should be combined with efforts from private sector players, providing inputs and machinery, advisory services, technology solutions and market access to be able to market more profitable products.
  • Successful adaptations will be spontaneously adopted in rural communities as long as constraints are removed and finance is available: Smallholder farmers quickly adopt production enhancing innovations if supportive policy frameworks are in place and if public institutions and the private sector provide adequate finance and advisory services
  • Information and communication technology platforms introduced to support climate-resilient initiatives also protect against other adverse events, including pandemic disruption: technology platforms can help to bring together suppliers, producers, buyers, and other stakeholders to facilitate their exchanges and to make farmers and food chains less exposed to external shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, technology platforms help to attract young people to enter the food and farming sector, enhancing the rural economy.

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