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Members of the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA) presented and discussed different aspects of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) contributing to healthy landscapes and improved livelihoods during the Global Landscapes Forum organised on the sidelines of the UNFCCC COP21 on 5 December 2015 at the Palais des Congrès de Paris.
The event — jointly hosted by AIRCA and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) — opened with the presentation of a white paper by Dr Trevor Nicholls of the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI).
“There is a need for integrated landscape planning to support both development and conservation”, Nicholls said.
The Director General of AIRCA, Dr Dyno Keatinge, introduced AIRCA explaining how the combination of centres involved in the AIRCA initiative ensures a combined expertise that addresses at least nine of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), allowing for a holistic approach to rural development and food security under changing conditions.
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and the landscape approach are two complementary strategies in support of the implementation of national strategies for the agriculture sector. They offer strategies to achieve national plans for the forestry sector and mitigation in land use whilehelping reduce land degradation, poverty and increase food and nutrition security.
Dr Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operation, represented the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in the panel discussion, which was moderated by Dr Ismahane Elouafi of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).
Sharma shared ICIMOD’s Climate Smart Village (CSVs) as a success story, an approach jointly implemented by the Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development (CEAPRED) in Nepal, which includes social, economic and ecological dimensions of development. Sharma shared the six smart interventions of CSVs that included nutrient: water, crop, energy, future, nutrient, and information and communication technology (ICT). The success of these interventions are directly attributed to the involvement of women and the farmer user groups. Intervention uses local resources, links with local government schemes and includes local knowledge in the formulation and the implementation of the programme.
‘The key to rapid out-scaling of any initiative is in identifying and recognizing where the smartness and collective intelligence is’, Sharma said. ‘In our case, in Nepal, these were the women’.
Agricultural diversification is an essential element of sustainable, healthy landscapes. To achieve this, working with consumers, academics, including other sectors of the economy is imperative. Dr Hans Friederich from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) emphasised the role of bamboo as one of the major complements to climate change strategies.
Dr Jose Joaquin Campos from CATIE said innovations within the approach of climate smart territories are very much based on ecological principals, thus relating to agro-ecology.
Panelists agreed the successful implementation of CSA and landscapes approach requires local adjustments that make them affordable and effective under local conditions in addition to having a good understanding of the mechanisms for decisions and the analysis of the consequences of these decisions for future livelihoods.
About AIRCA: The formation of the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA) in 2012, was stimulated by the need for integrated action to deliver sustainable agricultural intensification at the landscape scale. The nine-member alliance is focused on increasing food security by supporting smallholder agriculture and rural enterprise within healthy, sustainable and climate-smart landscapes.
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