Call for climate protection for smallholders that produce one third of global food


UK boosts commitment to curtail agricultural emissions and reduce climate-induced loss and damage

GLASGOW, Scotland, Nov. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — CGIAR urged global leaders today to ensure the 500 million smallholder farmers responsible for up to a third of global food production can adapt to climate change-induced loss and damage. Innovations are needed that can both reduce the contribution of global agriculture to climate change, and adapt to its increasingly evident consequences while also supporting livelihoods, nutrition and equality.

Many smallholders reside in agriculture-dependent regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and face a rising tide of climate threats including increased drought, flooding and water scarcity. The climate crisis is exacerbating the degradation of food, land, and water systems, impacting productivity, viability and resilience.

The call comes as the United Kingdom pledged $55 million over two years to boost commitments to CGIAR research from a steadily growing global coalition to surpass $1 billion. The new pledges will contribute to an accelerating of research and innovation to confront rapidly intensifying climate challenges that could upend the global fight against hunger and poverty.

UK Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “To keep 1.5 degrees alive, we need action from every part of society, including an urgent transformation in the way we manage ecosystems and grow, produce and consume food on a global scale.”

“This is not an either/ or scenario where it’s adaptation or mitigation,” said Claudia Sadoff, Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact at CGIAR. “For agriculture to become a more sustainable and nature-positive sector, we have to provide tools that allow farmers to rebalance the relationship between agriculture and nature while building resilience to climate change.”

One example of work that CGIAR will undertake as part of new commitments is an initiative to develop climate-smart crop seed varieties, such as drought-tolerant wheat or rice that is adapted to grow in water affected by saline intrusion from rising sea levels. CGIAR will lead the ‘innovation sprint’ on Fast Tracking Climate Solutions from Global Germplasm Banks as part of the new United States and United Arab Emirates Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate or AIM4C launched by President Biden at COP26.

The first week at COP26 delivered significant support for climate innovation for farmers across the developing world. Pledges to CGIAR came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and countries including the United States, Canada, Sweden and Belgium, and now the UK.

The World Bank also reaffirmed a commitment made at the last Climate Action Summit to provide $60 million for CGIAR adaptation work in Africa. Together with on-going contributions, the Bank could potentially provide support in the order of $150 million over the next three years.

“The investments secured at COP26 will accelerate this work, but much more is needed in the long run to fight global hunger and poverty. We must cultivate a global and truly multilateral effort to bridge the remaining investment gap, prioritize adaptation strategies and programs, and support the innovations to confront this unprecedented threat to food systems that feed billions,” said Sadoff.

Some examples of where CGIAR will direct its efforts via partnerships in new initiatives include:  

  • Securing the Asian Mega-Deltas from Sea-Level Rise, Flooding, Salinization and Water Insecurity: This initiative will develop climate adaptation measures against sea-level rise, floods, water shortage, soil, and freshwater salinization. Smallholders and policymakers will have access to timely, relevant information and financial solutions supporting adoption of improved coping strategies.
  • Building Systemic Resilience Against Climate Variability and Extremes: Building on years of CGIAR climate research, this initiative will help 30 million smallholders adapt to climate change by 2030 by developing the enabling environment to support climate adaptation interventions, at the magnitude and speed necessary to achieve rapid and broad transformation.
  • Diversification for Resilient Agribusiness Ecosystems in East and Southern Africa: This initiative will improve resilience to climate and shocks, and adaptation across food, land, and water systems, for millions of small-scale producers and vulnerable groups on cropland spanning 12 countries.
  • Mitigation and Transformation Initiative for GHG Reductions of Agrifood Systems Related Emissions: This initiative will reduce food system emissions across seven countries, representing a 7% reduction in global food system emissions, in ways that support climate-resilient development.
  • From Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa: Transforming Responses to Drought and Climate Variability: Millions of value chain actors will benefit from climate-adapted innovations, making their livelihoods more resilient to drought and climate variability. Mitigation co-benefits will contribute to a reduction of CO2 equivalent emissions by 20% across value chains.
  • Accelerated Breeding: Meeting Farmers’ Needs with Nutritious, Climate-Resilient Crops: Crop variety development and trait discovery will target adaptation to forecasted climate change impacts, such as drought, heat, flooding, diseases, and pests, for specific crop-region combinations. This will inform locally-desirable coping strategies in response to climate change.
  • Harnessing Digital Technologies for Timely Decision-Making Across Food, Land, and Water Systems: Food, land, and water systems stakeholders will have access to short-term climate forecasts to better manage the risks, adopt climate-smart technologies and management practices, and improve their climate adaptive capacity.


CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to transforming food, land and water systems in a climate crisis. Its research is carried out by 13 CGIAR Centers/Alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector. 

Disclaimer: The above press release comes to you under an arrangement with PR Newswire. Business Upturn takes no editorial responsibility for the same.

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