GACSA Strategic Plan Underscores Importance of Climate Smart Agriculture

September 19, 2018

The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco brought much attention to the efforts underway by the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (NACSAA) to promote changes in agricultural practices that can increase the amount of carbon in the soil, improving its fertility and resilience to drought and flood, while raising food production and farm income.

Appropriately enough for a weeklong forum that brought together stakeholders and leaders from around the world, the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA) strongly delivered its own message, calling for accelerated, coordinated efforts – both within and across regions – to scale up climate smart agriculture (CSA) initiatives.

With its origins dating back to 2013, GACSA is an independent, voluntary body comprised of representatives from around the world determined to improve food security, nutrition and resilience in the face of climate change. The global alliance aims to catalyze and help create transformational partnerships to encourage actions that reflect an integrated approach to the three pillars of CSA:

  1. Sustainably increasing agricultural production
  2. Adapting and building resilience to a changing climate
  3. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions

Highlighting the GACSA efforts in San Francisco last week was the announcement of the group’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022, a multi-pronged approach aimed at accelerating progress in scaling up CSA practices in both developing and developed nations.

GACSA sees itself as integral to fulfilling the emission-reduction goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint adopted by the UN’s 183 member-states three years ago to target a multitude of global challenges that include a changing climate, as well as poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

The ambition of the strategy is reflected in the wide number of means GACSA intends to use to carry it out, including serving as a clearinghouse for sharing information and experience, technologies, knowledge and practices that can inspire the development and dissemination of innovative, evidence-based options for CSA in different settings.

GACSA will also serve as a “matchmaker” by proposing and supporting specific ambitious and innovative initiatives – impending government policy decisions and proposed development bank financing programs, for example – through partnerships and activities. The alliance will identify windows of opportunity to improve and develop key aspects of each initiative and will work to find ways that encourage people to adopt CSA, calling on appropriate national or international expertise, imparting the lessons learned from pilot studies, and mustering the resources needed to establish the necessary operating principles, extension services and farmer support schemes.

The alliance says it also will engage academic and research institutions, businesses, foundations, civil society, development agencies and intergovernmental organizations in support of its agenda, in ways that bring benefits to the people whose livelihoods are most threatened by the impact of climate change on the agricultural sectors, including crop production, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture.

GACSA’s mission is pretty straight-forward. Alliance members are working together to ensure that the world’s agriculture can sustainably feed and nourish humanity and secure livelihoods in the face of a changing climate.

GACSA members recognize that for the strategy to succeed, it is paramount to empower farmers. The alliance’s work is guided by the needs of its beneficiaries and is linked to realities on the ground. As a result, those who work and steward the land must have a place at the table, a principle at the heart of NACSAA’s work, as well. To that end, both GACSA and NACSAA facilitate dialogue, they promote the exchange of knowledge and support partnerships, all through an open, diverse and inclusive multi-stakeholder platform.

Solutions from the Land, which supports NACSAA’s work, calls on stakeholders to share with others the work of both the global and North American alliances. They serve as valuable platforms for knowledge and networking opportunities that will result in productive, resilient and low-carbon agriculture.

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