Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)

Lead: Charles Spillane (NUI Galway)

Area of Interest

Climate smart agriculture (CSA) approaches aim to sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience (adaptation), reduce/remove GHGs (mitigation) while enhancing food security and development goals. To meet the climate change challenges facing agriculture and food systems, CSA will require a swathe of improvements and innovations in agricultural productivity, adaptation and mitigation to be rapidly developed and adopted at scale by the world’s farmers and agri-food value chains.  Different farming and livelihood systems will require different portfolios of CSA practices and approaches, that; (a) support commercially and socially viable agriculture-based production systems; (b) ensure ecosystem services for sustainability, and (c) strengthen resilience of farming systems and vulnerable households against the impact of climate-change related shocks. While some development stakeholders are promoting CSA for mitigation and/or adaptation (including resilience) goals, others emphasise social justice, gender and empowerment dimensions of CSA activities. Recognising that CSA practices in one context may not be climate smart in another context, participatory approaches involving farmers and rural communities will be necessary to generate evidence of which CSA portfolios are most transformative for different agro-ecosystems and livelihood systems. The climate change challenges facing agriculture, rural livelihoods and value-chains will necessitate the development and deployment of evidence-based incremental and transformational approaches to both adaptation and mitigation in agri-food systems, particularly those of smallholder farmers and rural communities in developing countries.  

Relevance to IFIAD

A range of IFIAD members are engaged in development, testing, deployment, capacity building, policy and planning in relation to climate smart agriculture in developing countries (and also in developed countries e.g. Ireland). Recognising that there may be both differences and complementarities between the approach of different IFIAD members to CSA, there is potential for improved CSA impact- and outcome- pathways  to be developed and achieved through multi-stakeholder partnerships involving IFIAD members and partners in developing countries.  

Purpose of the Group

The IFIAD CSA WG aims to develop and resource-mobilise for multi-stakeholder partnership implementation, research and capacity building activities on climate smart agriculture with partner organisations in developing countries, particularly in Irish Aid partner countries.  With partners in developing countries, the IFIAD CSA WG will develop workpackages/workplans that focus on:
  1. Supporting and strengthening existing national CSA planning, CSA portfolio assessment and CSA cost-benefit analyses for scale up/out.
  2. Strengthening CSA research, extension and innovation systems linkages.
  3. Generating robust in-country evidence of CSA practices that deliver both adaptation/mitigation and development outcomes.
  4. Development, identification, testing and deployment of CSA innovations to deliver incremental or transformational adaptation and/or mitigation benefits that strengthen rural livelihoods and food security.
  5. Capacity building (education and training) partnerships with individuals and institutions in partner developing countries.
  6. Identification and dissemination of policy and institutional options for generating more impactful CSA practices and innovations.
  7. Critical analysis of CSA narratives, options and evidence for improved resource-allocation by CSA implementers and funding agencies.
  8. Fostering mutual learning and understanding between IFIAD members of differing positions, interests, needs and value systems of different development stakeholders regarding CSA activities focused on smallholder farming systems and livelihoods.
  9. Resource mobilisation for evidence-based CSA multi-partner projects and programmes with partners in developing countries.
  10. Identify good practices, innovations and research findings on CSA in Ireland that may be applicable in developing countries.
  11. Provide inputs to the development and review of national and international policies and plans related to CSA.
  12. Bring case studies of CSA into focus in Ireland and present examples of successful CSA approaches from developing countries that may be applicable in Ireland.
  13. Identify how CSA practices, policies and plans in Irish agriculture and agrifood systems relate to CSA in other countries, particularly in relation to poverty reduction and livelihood resilience in developing countries.
  14. Provide evidence-based talks and materials on CSA to Irish academic institutions, development organisations, government departments, farming organisations, the private sector and schools.
  15. Provide pre-service and in-service training and briefings on CSA for the staff of government, academic, private sector, farming bodies and non-government organisations.


Open to all IFIAD members, developing country partners and international agencies engaged in CSA research, capacity building and/or development activities.

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