May 30, 2012

What is Climate-Smart Agriculture? A Video

Climate-smart agriculture addresses the impacts of a changing climate on agriculture and presents solutions to both mitigate the contribution of agriculture to greenhouse gas emissions and to feed an ever-increasing global population. Particular practices, such as incorporating trees into farms, water capture technologies, inter-cropping, and integrated livestock-crop systems, increase resilience to climatic stress, building soil organic matter, and storing carbon. The World Bank has produced a video on climate-smart agriculture, presenting the “triple win” scenario. Examples from the field help explain different practices considered to fall under the climate-smart category.

These various components of a climate-smart agricultural landscape are addressed in the video. However, the definition of climate-smart agriculture goes further to recognize that an integrated approach to planning for agriculture, forests, fisheries, and water is necessary to ensure the synergies between these systems are realized. Moreover, it implicates the need to continue producing food within the landscape to feed communities, and protect the livelihoods of the local people, all in a sustainable manner. A post on the Landscapes Blog back in April tackles this notion of “climate-smart landscapes” and the steps to take en-route implementation.

Watch the video online. Read a recent blog post on the Western Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project highlighted in the video.  

More In in Staying Current


  • Ayele Kebede Gebreyes/Ethiopia
    May 30, 2012 at 4:37am

    Honestly speaking it is constantly an easy job to introduce new terminologies. From the time when I started working on topics related to sustainable/ecologically sensitive agriculture, I came across dozens of terminologies which I am still struggling to define and understand them properly.

    For me the underlying principle of sustainable/ecological/climate smart agriculture or the like is the use of farming techniques which are based on an intimate understanding of nature’s way of working and survival.

    Thus as a professional I would like to better understand the new terminology in a way that what is new in it?

    As I can see almost all the tools described to define CSA are the ones which we have been using for long.

    Then, how does it differ from the old ones? Is the term agreed and welcomed by all? Or are there still differences in defining and understanding the same? Is it just a jargon introduced by the giant organization? Do not we need to question its uniqueness from the ones which we already know so far?

    I would be happy to receive meticulous rationalization to convince myself and promote the concept with confidence.

    Ayele Kebede Gebreyes
    Program Coordinator Ecology and Climate Change
    Heinrich Boell Foundation, Country Office Ethiopia
    P.O. Box: 101764
    Tel.: +251 116 631 100 Cell; +251 911 456 361
    Fax: +251 116 185 488
    Skype: ayele.kebede.gebreyes
    Twitter: @AyeleAbi

    • rfriedman
      May 30, 2012 at 10:57am

      Ayele, you bring up some really good points. To me CSA is more of a reframing of these ecological agriculture principles in the context of climate change. Yes, the practices and tools are not new, but framing them in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation, moves the discussion to a broader audience and to the climate change community. Perhaps we have too much jargon floating around, but to me this could be construed as a way to bridge some of the language barriers between different communities of practice, that should be working together in our interdisciplinary world. That said, the term itself is one that seems primarily used by the World Bank, FAO, and to some extent the CGIAR.

      For us, the important point is recognizing how different elements of sustainable/ecological/climate-smart agriculture work as a whole in order to confer resilience to climate change and reach some meaningful level of carbon storage/emissions reduction. Perhaps someone else can better answer about whether there are more

      We also had an interesting post in March on the lexicon around integrated agricultural landscape approaches. I think it speaks to your point about the introduction of new terms: