The economic advantage: assessing the value of climate change actions in agriculture

The economic advantage: assessing the value of climate change actions in agriculture

Agriculture is a sector especially sensitive to climate change. It also accounts for significant emissions and is, therefore, a priority for both adaptation and mitigation plans and actions at global, national and local levels.

This brief summarises an International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) report: The Economic Advantage: assessing the value of climate-change actions in agriculture. The report informs readers who seek to build economic evidence in support of the inclusion of actions on agriculture in climate change plans and programs, particularly at the national level, for example the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and related policy instruments.

Key messages:

  • the majority of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement express intentions for actions on climate in the agriculture sector, but economic assessment is weakly developed to date
  • credible economic and financial proposals are needed to unleash large-scale public and private investment in agriculture under climate change
  • globally there is a strong economic case to invest in agriculture for future food security and rural livelihoods under climate change
  • at the farm level, positive economic returns can be demonstrated for practices that build adaptive capacity and reduce emissions intensity across several of the priority sub-sectors highlighted in the NDCs
  • policy development, capacity-building, institutional strengthening, services to provide finance, information, extension and research, and programme management are important investments that support climate actions in agriculture, but are difficult to quantify and value
  • the ingredients of a strong economic assessment for NDCs and other climate change plans for agriculture include: policy mainstreaming, iterative planning, a balance of project-level and farm-level assessment of costs and benefits, understanding of how costs and benefits are distributed, and appraisal of drivers of behavioural change, economic incentives and the enabling environment for farmers and other private-sector actors
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