The Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) community came together for 4 successful days at the GACSA Annual Forum, held under the theme CSA in Action. Governments, farmers, businesses, research organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and academia from various corners of the globe, came to Rome from 14-17 June with a common purpose; how to accelerate action on the three pillars of CSA (productivity, adaptation and mitigation).
In an increasingly complex and changing world, the challenge of climate change calls for an innovative and diverse set of sustainable agricultural solutions. To this end, the diverse group of more than 300 participants shared knowledge, experiences on CSA practices and approaches, recognizing that CSA is context-specific and brainstormed on concrete solutions.
“Agriculture will play a crucial role in addressing the planet’s future challenges and is key to providing important adaptation-mitigation synergies to climate change, as well as socio-economic and environmental co-benefits,” said FAO Deputy Director-General/Coordinator for Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo at the opening of the core-event on 15 June.
David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, reminded those assembled through a video message that “agriculture and food systems are not only victims, but also a driver of climate change,” adding “a systematic transformation of agricultural and food policies is required, so they are people-centred and climate-compatible and deliver both on the SDGs and the INDCs.’’
GACSA Annual Forum appropriately kicked off on 14 June at a Climate-Smart Farm ‘’Ortosole’’, member of the World Farmers’ Organisation, where 80 participants gathered to witness an example of how Italian farmers have adopted CSA practices and have improved yields, increased incomes, and at the same time are conserving scarce resources. Farmers are first in GACSA and starting out on a CSA farm was an amazing beginning.
Moving from farm to FAO’s headquarters, the next 3 days saw a series of panel discussions that demonstrated effective multi-stakeholder partnerships for CSA from different perspectives. Participants reviewed progress on the ground, best practices, learned from each other, and reflected on how GACSA can best contribute towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and implementing the Paris Agreement. In dynamic and diverse sessions, participants focused on partnership building, innovation, knowledge sharing, CSA finance and investment, and country case studies from Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Malawi, Tanzania and Vietnam. The concept of sustainability was key, especially with regard to the environmental and financial sustainability. Different sessions showed the evidence of the role of CSA in improving farmers’ incomes through “business unusual,” and concluded that even greater gains can be achieved with more robust policy frameworks and scaled-up investment.
For the first time, the GACSA Annual Forum brought together CSA alliances and platforms from across the world and fostered understanding and dialogue amongst them. Creating the space for sustained dialogue demonstrates the value of GACSA and its focus on fostering inclusiveness and collective action for scaling up CSA at all levels.
In closing the core-event of the Annual Forum on 16 June, president of the World Farmers’ Organisation, Evelyn Nguleka expressed how she was “extremely delighted to see representatives of all stakeholders working in the agricultural sector, sitting together and working together to look for innovative solutions for a Climate-Smart agriculture,” concluding that “We need a holistic approach, where all stakeholders are equally important and can share their knowledge and expertise to direct this planet on the path to sustainable development, making sure that no one is left behind.”
In addition to plenary sessions held on 15 and 16 June, roundtables of GACSA Action Groups and CSA Alliances and platforms as well as the side event ‘’CSA Speakers Corner’’ provided to the participants the opportunity to demonstrate CSA tools ranging from web-based knowledge platforms, online tool kits, CSA technology to adaptation and mitigation tools.
A GACSA Strategic Committee meeting in the afternoon of 17 June marked the end of the 4-day programme. At this meeting, GACSA confirmed by acclamation, the coming into office, of the new co-chair Ms. Mi Nguyen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome. Ms. Nguyen replaces Mr. Inge Herman Rydland of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry who stepped down as GACSA co-chair.
Pictures are available here.
GACSA is an inclusive, voluntary and action-oriented multi-stakeholder platform on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). Its vision is to improve food security, nutrition and resilience in the face of climate change. GACSA aims to catalyse and help create transformational partnerships to encourage actions that reflect an integrated approach to the three pillars of CSA.