Agriculture takes a leap forward at Bonn Climate Talks

UNDP-FAO Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans (NAP-Ag) Programme highlights need for sectoral adaptation planning

November 2017, Bonn, Germany – The signature decision on agriculture coming out of this year’s climate talks in Bonn, called the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, provides a new opportunity to address how climate change impacts on agricultural production have put millions of lives and livelihoods at risk worldwide.

“This bold landmark decision brings agriculture to the forefront of the international climate change agenda, and looks directly at important issues such as assessing adaptation and mitigation benefits of agriculture, improving soil health, nutrient management and livestock systems, and addressing  the socio-economic and food security issues associated with climate change in the agriculture sectors,” said Julia Wolf, Natural Resource Officer and Coordinator from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the joint UNDP-FAO Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP-Ag).

Agriculture has been an agenda item within the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) since 2011. Parties and observers are invited to submit views, by 31 March 2018, on what elements should be included in the work programme, particularly on modalities for the implementation of outcomes from the five workshops held on matters related to agriculture during the years of negotiations.

“This decision allows us to take new steps to address the role of agriculture in National Adaptation Plans and in particular contributing to the achievement of the Paris Agreement Goal on adaptation, while promoting poverty reduction, safeguarding livelihoods and promoting resilient societies,” said Rohini Kohli, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) coordinator for the NAP-Ag Programme.

During COP23 in Bonn, a NAP-Ag side-event, with presence from partner countries, the Green Climate Fund and Global Water Partnership, underscored the need to engage the private sector, implement gender-responsive approaches and improve local climate governance to connect the agriculture sectors with more effective climate change adaptation plans.

In her introduction to the session, Wolf underscored the need to leverage finance for National Adaptation Plans to ensure the integration of agricultural sectors by tapping into existing synergies and activities at national level.

Addressing climate risks in Uganda

In Uganda, 72 percent of the population is employed in agriculture, out of which 77 percent are women and 63 percent are youth. But women have less access to resources such as land, tools and seeds, and are less engaged than men in the higher rungs of the value chain for agricultural products, according to Stephen Muwaya, Senior Range Ecologist from the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.

Muwaya highlighted NAP-Ag Programme support on gender analysis in Uganda to ensure that the unique impact of climate change on women and youth is fully reflected in climate change adaptation plans.

Muwaya also indicated that one of these important synergies lies in connecting resilience of cropping, livestock, fisheries and integrated fishers resource management into adaptation plans.

To execute these plans more effectively, Uganda is working to build more effective climate information services, early warning systems and disaster preparedness.

Climate change adaptation projects are also being careful to involve both men and women in learning activities, ensuring that a fair number of trainers are women, promoting gender-inclusive climate-smart technologies, engaging young people through school programmes, and leveraging Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to share weather and market information.  

Local community action in the Philippines

Another example of how agriculture is being integrated into climate change adaptation planning comes from the Philippines, where climate change, new pests and disease, and the destruction of coastal habitats threaten yields from staple crops and is undermining efforts to build more climate resilient livelihoods.

The vision of the Philippines, according to Lerey A. Panes from the Philippines’ Department of Agriculture, is to enable local communities to manage climate risks while pursuing sustainable livelihoods. The Government of the Philippines is achieving this goal through its flagship Adaptation and Mitigation Initiatives in Agriculture programme (AMIA).

The programme, which started in 2015, seeks to support the introduction of climate relevant technologies at the local level across the country, working in very close collaboration with municipalities and the local communities.

Through AMIA model villages, the programme is sharing climate information services, disaster risk reduction tools, training and computer-aided decision-making technology, while also working to ease access to credit, insurance and improved market access.  

In its next phase, the Philippines will be scaling up the AMIA programme to contribute in achieving 9 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Phillippines was referred to as a NAP Champion in a separate side event hosted by the UNFCCC. NAP-Ag programme support was acknowledged for assisting in the integration of the AMIA programme into an increased number of sectoral and national policies in the Philippines.

International partnership

Effectively integrating agriculture into adaptation plans will require continued international support, capacity building, improved evidence-based decision making, and partnerships across a variety of related sectors.

Jason Spensley, Manager of the Green Climate Fund’s Project Preparation Facility and Adaptation Planning Support Programme, underscored the need for Nationally Designated Authorities to look at specific climate change issues and related sectors when formulating project proposals and adaptation plans in order to leverage support from the most adequate sources.

The Global Water Partnership (GWP), represented by its Executive Secretary for Southern Africa Alex Simalabwi, highlighted the need for partnerships in addressing multidimensional issues like water in these multi-sector approaches.

Approximately 50 participants attended the Bonn side event, including the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries of Uganda, his Excellency Ssempijja V. Bamulangaki.

At the event, the NAP-Ag Programme officially launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on National Adaptation Plans: Building Climate Resilience in Agriculture. The ongoing course, developed in partnership with UNITAR, provides step-by-step guidance on ways to integrate agriculture in climate change adaptation planning processes, and is an important learning tool in achieving the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, Sendai Framework and 2030 Agenda.

In her closing remarks, Lea Herberg, from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) highlighted the need to bring the private sector into the financing mix.

“The NAP-Ag programme is helping unpack the National Adaptation Plans process,” said Herberg. “Sectoral integration is key for the success of adaptation planning.”


For Further Details:

The NAP-Ag programme is implemented by UNDP and FAO jointly in 11 countries including Colombia, The Gambia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay, Viet Nam and Zambia. Further information on the NAP-Ag programme is available at: and