Africa: Tackling Climate Change Head-On


How four FAO-Green Climate Fund projects are providing solutions

If we want to tackle climate change, our agri-food systems are one of the key places to start. We need to look at the way we farm, the way we eat and the way we use our natural resources. Agriculture emits around one quarter of greenhouse gases, but it also holds many of the solutions to global climate goals. Meeting the climate challenge starts with transforming food and agriculture.

From restoring degraded lands to eliminating food waste, every action we take must help our global communities adapt to new pressures, such as a growing population and urbanization, all the while protecting the planet’s resources and biodiversity.

Since 2016, FAO has been partnering with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help countries build resilience in response to climate change impacts.

Here are four FAO and GCF projects tackling climate change head-on:

Halting deforestation in Argentina

Forests play a key part in keeping our planet healthy. Yet, they are often cleared to make way for grazing lands or fields for crops. Deforestation accounts for about 11 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing deforestation and restoring degraded forests, we can cut emissions by the equivalent of over five gigatonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Responsible governance of forests and successful restoration strategies are vital, and one GCF-funded FAO project in Argentina is doing just that. Between 2014 and 2016, the government of Argentina avoided 18.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by successfully reducing deforestation. The USD 82 million FAO-GCF project aims to build upon this success and reduce deforestation in Argentina even further.

Nearly 3 000 families from local and indigenous communities are being included in planning efforts to restore native forests, use forest resources sustainably, increase integrated livestock practices and prevent or respond quickly to forest fires. By involving the community in managing their own resources, it is less likely that forests will be cleared illegally. Ownership and involvement are key to protecting forests and livelihoods, benefitting the local economy and reducing the causes of deforestation by ensuring that wood and other products, such as honey and nuts, are produced and traded in a sustainable way.

Increasing fuel efficiency to boost resilience in Armenia

In Armenia, rural communities are heavily dependent on fuelwood for energy, but rising demand for this natural resource is putting pressure on the health and resilience of ecosystems.

As part of a USD 18.7 million GCF-funded project, FAO will work closely with the Government of Armenia to develop low-emission fuel alternatives in the country’s rural areas. Working with 207 rural communities in two provinces, the project will promote the use of energy-efficient fuelwood stoves to reduce wood consumption by 30 percent. In addition, the project’s tree-planting programme is expected to increase forest cover in Armenia by at least seven percent, which will in turn increase the amount of carbon that forests can remove from the atmosphere and store in the ground. These environmentally sustainable investments will transform the way forest resources are used, benefiting both people and ecosystems.

Reversing land degradation for better food and water security in Nepal

Ensuring the sustainable, long-term restoration of land, soil and forests means working with local communities to prevent and reverse land degradation, combining local knowledge with science and technology to find a new way forward.

Nepal’s Churia region in the Himalayan foothills is critical to the country’s food security. Major river systems pass through the Churia hills and serve as an important water source for communities downstream. However, decades of unsustainable use of natural resources have led to forest degradation, increased flooding and soil erosion. Since May 2020, FAO has been working alongside its national partners to implement a USD 40 million GCF-funded project that will help maintain the region’s landscapes. It will benefit more than 200 000 households and help them mitigate the effects of a changing climate and extreme weather events in the years to come.

Zero-deforestation cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire

Cocoa is consumed worldwide in all kinds of food products, from luxury chocolates to sweet beverages. However, cocoa production is a main cause of deforestation in tropical countries like Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, 62 percent of the country’s deforestation is attributed to agriculture, and about one-third to cocoa production alone. Around two million smallholder producers depend on cocoa farming for their livelihoods.