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Technologies for climate change adaptation: agriculture sector

Publication date:
X. Zhu (ed)
Type of publication:
Cross-sectoral enabler:

The agriculture sector faces the challenge of providing adequate food to a growing world population. There is limited scope to expand arable land, and unpredictable weather, floods, and other disastrous events make food production even more challenging. This guidebook provides information on 22 technologies and options for adapting to climate change in the agriculture sector. It describes what policymakers, development planners, agriculture experts and other stakeholders should consider while determining a technology development path in agriculture.Technologies listed in the document cover the following topic areas.

Planning for climate change and variability.
Sustainable water use and management.
Soil management.
Sustainable crop management.
Sustainable livestock management.
Sustainable farming systems.
Capacity building and stakeholder organisation.

The guidebook advises that decision-making processes should be participative, facilitated and consensus-building, and they should be based on the following key guiding principles.

Increasing awareness and knowledge.
Strengthening institutions.
Protecting natural resources.
Providing financial assistance.
Developing context-specific strategies.

The paper suggests the following criteria for the prioritisation of adaptation technologies.

The extent to which the technology strengthens environmentally sustainable biological diversity.
The extent to which the technology facilitates access to climate change information.
Whether the technology supports water, carbon and nutrient cycles, and enables increased productivity.
Income-generating potential, cost-benefit analysis and contribution to improved equity.
Respect for cultural diversity and facilitation of inter-cultural exchange.
Potential for integration into regional and national policies and upscaling.
The extent to which the technology builds formal and informal institutions and social networks.

The guidebook makes the following recommendations for practitioners and policymakers.

There is a need for improved climate modeling and forecasting for better informed decision-making and the implementation of adaptation strategies.
Information should be gathered to better understand the behaviour of plants, animals, pests and diseases as they react to climate change.
Potential changes in economic and social systems in the future under different climate scenarios should also be investigated so that the implications of adaptation strategy and planning choices are better understood.
It is important to secure effective flows of information through appropriate dissemination channels.
Improved analysis of adaptation technologies to build adaptive capacity and resilience in the agriculture sector.
Relationships between policymakers, researchers and communities should be built so that technologies and planning processes are developed in partnership.