News Detail [ID: 52]

3rd Annual Forum of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture

©GACSA

Representatives from farmer organizations, NGOs, CSOs, governments, research institutions, and other organizations committed to climate smart agriculture (CSA) from all continents met at the third annual forum of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) in Bonn, Germany from 15-16 July. Over the two day event, a new GACSA Co-Chair, Hans Hoogeveen, Ambasador, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the FAO, was elected, panellists highlighted challenges and best practices of implementing CSA in different regions, and GACSA members strategized on how to implement their Strategic Plan 2018-2022.

GACSA was formed in 2012 and is an inclusive, voluntary, and action-oriented multi-stakeholder platform on CSA. It works to “improve farmers’ agricultural productivity and incomes in a sustainable way, build farmers’ resilience to extreme weather and changing climate, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with agriculture, when possible”. Farmers gave both the keynote and closing speeches, A.G. Kawamura and Dr. Theo de Jager respectively, highlighting the need for bottom-up approaches that place farmers at the centre of policies and innovations that scale up CSA, increase investment in CSA from the private sector, and value science based approaches to support the implementation of CSA.

Co chairs, Hans Hoogeveen and Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda Majele. ©GACSA

Six thematic panel discussion sessions where held throughout the first day of the annual forum. Farmers, scientists, and other actors spoke about innovative CSA best practices within regional contexts, such as the use of agroforestry in Spain and the desire to use solar power in Zimbabwe to spur CSA practices. Fred Yoder, farmer and president of the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance, stressed the importance of scaling up CSA practices for both smallholders and larger agricultural operations. Imelda Bacudo, technical advisor to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, highlighted the importance of regional knowledge exchange events for catalysing CSA innovations and the power of regional CSA bodies to lobby at high levels, such as UNFCCC SBs, COP, and the Korovina Joint Work on Agriculture. Kudakwashe Manyanga, the founder and director of the Grow a Tree Foundation, showcased CSA youth engagement in Zimbabwe with his personal story of how his foundation partners with local primary schools to teach students how to care for a tree over a student’s formative years.

Kudakwashe Manyanga. ©GACSA

Climate extremes and other environmental shocks were discussed in the context of data modelling via the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project and how farmers could more readily contribute to and benefit from this type of modelling. Strategic partnerships for CSA and transformational change in agriculture and food systems were the subjects of another important discussion session. Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and Zitouni Ould-Dada, Deputy Director of the Climate and Environment, stressed the importance of GACSA leveraging the diversity of its members to achieve a global voice on pushing for CSA. They also spoke about the need to scale up CSA through financing and innovation, strengthen linkages between the multitude of actors who are involved in CSA, and creating working or knowledge sharing partnerships between GACSA members in order to create flexibility and resilience.

The three GACSA action groups on knowledge, investment, and enabling environments had fruitful strategic planning sessions on the second day of the GACSA annual forum. Each working group sketched out a roadmap for deliverable actions in the next 6-9 months in support of implementing their Strategic Plan. The enabling environment group proposed to create a document that builds awareness around enabling policies for scaling up CSA by farmers, which is to be presented at a yet to be determined workshop in the coming months. The knowledge action group proposed the creation of knowledge sharing platforms so that CSA actors can exchange experiences and best practices, engage multi-stakeholder communities, and gather information on CSA practices.

GACSA coordinator, Simon Leiva lead the working group of the Investment Action Group. ©GACSA

The investment action group created a road map outlining steps towards creating an investment proposal template that CSA farmers can take to investors in order to acquire financing. Action group members will further develop the template over the next months by asking their regional partners and local CSA farmers for input, allowing the template to be modified to reflect regional differences, needs, and investment requirements. The template’s aim is to help facilitate financial resource flows to CSA farmers, who are the primary investors. The template will be presented at a yet to be determined conference.

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