Adaptation to climate change impacts is increasingly recognised as a key priority for the agricultural sector. In the four OECD countries analysed, the focus is on reducing risks and vulnerability and increasing resilience of agricultural systems to climate change. This paper examined the types of policies and measures that are being considered, designed and implemented to support adaptation in the agricultural sector in UK, Finland, Germany and three US states. General policy directions identified were:
increasing adaptive capacity
addressing specific risks related to climate change
exploring sector-specific opportunities in the context of a changing climate
promoting communication and research.
The review then proposes three priorities for adaptation in the agricultural sector, and recommendations on each priority:1. Policy development process and institutional involvement:
establish advisory bodies including researchers, policymakers and sectoral stakeholders so that adaptation policies can be easily integrated into diverse sectoral priorities
involve stakeholders in all stages of policy development to improve ownership by actors that will be central to implementation
identify and develop shared objectives and values that will guide development of an agricultural adaptation policy
make a vision and framework to guide integration of adaptation policy with existing policy, and across sectors and various objectives.
2. Developing adaptation strategies and policies:
conduct vulnerability assessments of agricultural systems to know where sensitivity is high and capacity is lacking
identify options that provide benefits even without impacts of climate change for capacity development
conduct reviews of current management standards, practices and plans to incorporate potential impacts of current climate change
consider implications of longer-term agricultural priorities for adaptation and capacity development policies
consider adaptation needs in the agricultural sector concurrently with other priorities
start with existing practices and programmes when developing adaptation options
explore the use of innovative policy tools for incorporating adaptation.
spearhead pilot initiatives to broaden the impact of adaptation options
highlight existing actions by agricultural stakeholders and involve stakeholders in policy development to enhance relevance of policies and improve buy-in
develop adaptation options that can be adjusted to contexts at a farm, ecosystem, community and regional level
establish extension agencies, communication strategies and dialogue with farmers to integrate climate data and adaption actions into their practices
provide for research into climate change impacts, adaptation options and implementation issues in the agricultural and other sectors.