LIMA, 4 December 2014 - At a press conference held during the United Nations climate summit here, IFAD has released a report, The Smallholder Advantage, that contains 12 case studies from projects where it is putting climate finance to work for smallholder farmers.
The launch of the report comes amidst a busy first week at the 20th Conference of Parties - also known as COP20 - of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In the lead-up to the conference, which is the apex of all international climate fora, the expectations for action on climate change have been high. COP20 continues through 12 December.
IFAD's new report details a collection of projects that are financed in part by its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). The projects address the demand from millions of smallholders to invest in initiatives that help them adapt to increasingly unpredictable and extreme climate scenarios.
That demand has been clearly reflected at COP20, as developing country delegates call for more progress on capitalization of the Green Climate Fund - a UN effort to help developing nations limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate-change impacts. At the same time, there have been clear commitments from developed countries to provide predictable financial flows to those who are most affected by a changing climate.
Investing in climate-change adaptation
Against this backdrop, IFAD has positioned itself as a leader on delivering climate-change adaptation ahead of 2020. By then, advocates hope, a new climate agreement will see adaptation scaled up to a critical mass.
"If we do not invest in the productivity and sustainability of small farms, then we see that with our current trajectory we are headed for a big problem," said Gernot Laganda, Lead Technical Specialist in the Environment and Climate Division, who is in Lima as part of IFAD's delegation to COP20. On the other hand, Laganda noted, smallholders can contribute to sustainable development if they have the climate finance they need to manage sensitive ecosystems, conserve biodiversity and adapt production methods to new conditions.
Juan de Dios Mattos, IFAD's Regional Climate Specialist for Latin America and the Caribbean, who is also in Lima, offered a case in point: the Adapting to Markets and Climate Change Project in Nicaragua. This ASAP grant-funded project, he said, strengthens the availability of weather information to help smallholders harvest their coffee beans before unexpected weather destroys the crop.
The Nicaragua project is only one example of how IFAD - through ASAP - is promoting strategic climate-change interventions to protect agricultural livelihoods cost-effectively, before a crisis hits. As COP20 proceeds, IFAD will continue to highlight the need for any climate agreement to ensure investment in productive, sustainable smallholder farms.