Most of these additional 2 billion people will live in developing countries. At the same time, more people will be living in cities. If current income and consumption growth trends continue, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates, that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed. Agriculture must therefore transform itself if it is to feed a growing global population and provide the basis for economic growth and poverty reduction.
Climate change will make this task more difficult under a business-as-usual scenario, due to adverse impacts on agriculture requiring spiralling adaptation and related costs.
Climate smart agriculture (CSA), as defined and presented by FAO at the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in 2010, contributes to the achievement of sustainable development goals. It integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) by jointly addressing food security and climate challenges. It is composed of three main pillars:
01. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and income
02. Adapting and building resilience to climate change
03. Reducing and/or removing GHG emissions, where possible
CSA is an approach to developing the technical, policy and investment conditions to achieve sustainable agricultural development for food security under climate change.
Implementing this approach is challenging, partly due to a lack of tools and experience. Climate smart interventions are highly location specific, and knowledge intensive. Considerable efforts are required to develop the knowledge and capacities to make CSA a reality. To a large extent these are the same efforts required for achieving sustainable agricultural development which have been advocated over past decades, yet still insufficiently realised on the ground. CSA offers an opportunity to revitalise these efforts, overcome adoption barriers, whilst also adjusting them to the new realities of climate change.