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Planning and costing agriculture’s adaptation to climate change - Policy Perspectives

Agriculture has a crucial role to play in meeting development goals – from demand for food as populations grow and become wealthier to maintaining essential ecosystem services, diverse livelihoods, and economic development. Underinvestment over the past 20 years has resulted in a sector that is not adequately prepared for the challenges of climate change. Yet for most developing countries, agriculture has been one of the earliest sectors to be affected by climate change, with negative impacts already apparent and more serious consequences projected for the future.

There is increasing recognition by both the climate change and agricultural development communities that agriculture needs to be part of a new global climate change deal. ‘No agriculture, no deal’ is a clear signal from concerned stakeholders that agriculture will be a key feature of climate change negotiations, both for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting vulnerable populations and economies. There has been a long history of assessments of the impact of climate change on agriculture, and recent international movements to press toward effective action are noteworthy.

This Policy Perspectives paper summarises the results from a recent study led by the International Institute for Environment and Development, the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Global Climate Adaptation Partnership, with national teams in five developing countries (see Box 1). The principal conclusions inform policy and planning by addressing the following issues:

•Framing and methodological development in the assessment of climate adaptation.

•Assessment of current vulnerabilities, and potential future impacts and costs of adaptation.

•Identification of strategies and measures considered priorities across regions and types of agriculture in ‘pathways of adaptation’.

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Downing, T. and Chambwera, M., Cabot Venton, C., Dyszynski, J., Crawford, V., 2011. Planning and costing agriculture’s adaptation to climate change: Policy Perspectives. International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK.