The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and AIM for Climate—a collaborative initiative between the United States and the United Arab Emirates—have unveiled a groundbreaking partnership aimed at assisting governments in making more climate-resilient agricultural investments. The announcement, made at the pre-forum of the 2023 edition of the Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF) in Dar es Salaam, comes as the world grapples with the increasing impact of climate change on food and agriculture, especially in Africa.
Why This Partnership Matters
Africa is the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on food and agriculture. Marco V. Sánchez, Deputy Director of Agrifood Economics at FAO, emphasized the need for "resources and evidence-based support" to tackle these challenges. The partnership aims to provide governments with the necessary analytical tools and policy support, focusing on how public expenditure can be optimized and scaled to mitigate climate change's impact on agriculture.
What the Initiative Offers
In the face of mounting pressures on public finances and the evident impacts of climate change on food systems, the collaboration will offer governments:
1. Policy Evidence: Data-driven insights into which types of agricultural expenditures need to increase or decrease as climate impacts intensify.
2. Analytical Tools: Utilizing FAO’s Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) program, the partnership will leverage a newly developed policy optimization modeling tool. This tool calculates the best ways to allocate public budgets to meet inclusive agricultural transformation objectives.
3. Database Expansion: The MAFAP’s existing database on public expenditure in agriculture, currently covering over 15 African countries, will be expanded to include markers for climate adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Addressing Multi-Faceted Challenges
The analytics provided will serve multiple functions: informing current policy, shaping national adaptation plans, helping meet international climate commitments, and designing climate-specific projects and activities. This will be crucial for countries looking to increase agrifood sector output, create off-farm jobs, elevate rural populations out of poverty, and enable access to healthy diets amid climate uncertainties.
One of the most exciting prospects of this collaboration is the planned further development of the policy optimization modeling tool. By incorporating data on the mostly negative impacts of climate change on budget effectiveness, the tool will provide governments with a roadmap for adjusting their agricultural budget allocations in line with evolving climate scenarios.
This FAO-AIM for Climate partnership represents a milestone in the global efforts to make agriculture more climate-resilient, particularly in Africa where the need is most acute. By providing governments with robust analytical tools and policy advice, the initiative aims to accelerate inclusive agricultural transformations in a way that is sensitive to climate change's growing threat.
For stakeholders such as investors, NGOs, and innovation-focused corporations in sectors like foodtech, agtech, and climate tech, this partnership serves as a paradigm for actionable, data-driven approaches to climate resilience in agriculture. This venture offers a comprehensive model that could well become the blueprint for future initiatives aiming to align agricultural spending with the urgent imperatives of climate action.