Climate-Smart Agriculture and USAID’s 2022-2030 Climate Strategy Webinar Recap: Part 2
This blog is part two of the recap of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Climate Strategy Webinar. Part one offers insights into what climate-smart agriculture (CSA) means, as well as an introduction to USAID’s work in the area of food loss and waste. Part two highlights USAID’s work that is already underway to strengthen the resilience of women farmers through insurance and finance, as well as key learnings from CARE and FAO’s work in the space of gender and climate-smart agriculture. More than 375 individuals participated in the webinar from 64 countries.
Ann Vaughan, Senior Advisor for Climate Change in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, introduced climate-smart agriculture and explained why it matters for Climate Strategy implementation. She emphasized that food systems are particularly climate sensitive and, while climate change presents many challenging impacts to food security, the response taken by USAID presents an opportunity to improve livelihoods while addressing a changing climate. By combining supply-side actions with demand-side interventions, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced and food system resilience can be enhanced.
Strengthening Female Farmers’ Resilience Through Insurance and Finance
Dr. Georgia Hartman, a Gender and Environment Technical Advisor in the USAID/DDI Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub, presented on strengthening farmers’ resilience to climate change through insurance and finance instruments. Dr. Hartman explained that prearranged financial instruments increase the speed, predictability and effectiveness of disaster response and recovery. However, traditional insurance products do not adequately meet the needs of female farmers.
She noted that disaster risk financing for disaster risk management is crucial for building resilience to climate shocks. Disaster risk financing improves climate and disaster risk management through the use of financial instruments, like insurance, to finance pre-agreed response activities, which allows vulnerable people to be supported in a more timely manner than through traditional response channels. Disaster risk financing allows funding to be released more quickly while building resilience and enabling rapid responses to climate disasters. “These programs save lives,” Dr. Hartman said.
In particular, Dr. Hartman spotlighted the Gender-sensitive Agricultural Index-based Insurance (GAIINS) project, an activity through SERVIR in Nairobi, Kenya. GAIINS aims to transform the index-based insurance sector to build gender-sensitive products by supporting female farmers in East Africa through capacity building and private sector engagement. Earth observation data informs the design and implementation of gender-responsive, index-based insurance products, which have been shown to improve resilience to climate shocks, reduce extreme poverty and reward resilient behavior such as planting more varied types of crops.
Climate-Smart and Gender Transformative Responses
The final panelist, Karl Deering, the Strategic Partnerships Lead on the Food and Water Systems team for CARE USA and the organization’s acting Senior Director of the Climate Justice team, shared climate-smart and gender transformative responses to climate and food crises with a focus on implementation. Informed by FAO and CARE, Deering shared research on integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate-smart agriculture programs.
A gender transformative program builds equitable social norms and structures, in addition to individual gender-equitable behavior, prioritizing the specific needs of men, women and youth, and their limited access to resources, including capital, land, time or even the right to make decisions. In order to do this, three analytical parameters are taken into consideration: power and agency, access to and control of resources and information and labor.
These analytical parameters are integrated into a set of practice areas to help increase adaptive capacities and to manage risk. Deering shared a table summarizing good practices to help respond to different risks, highlighting, in particular, the category of “risk, vulnerability and capacity,” which is addressed through the practice of analyzing climate risks, differential and intersectional vulnerabilities and ecosystems and institutions.
Learnings from CARE and FAO are being integrated into current programming. CARE’s response is holistic, uses the three pillars of humanitarian assistance, builds resilience and informs advocacy work. The pillar of building resilience is of particular importance and drives CARE’s theory of change. It also outlines why CARE responds to challenges the way it does, along with what practitioners should do to build resilience and how they should do it.
Following Deering’s presentation, the webinar moved into a question-and-answer session, with the expert panelists responding to a range of questions from the audience. These questions covered topics such as how climate-smart agriculture is different from nature-based solutions, how we can reach food loss and waste goals, specific examples of when early warning systems led to early action, and how to work with USAID on institutional and capacity building efforts.
The panelists curated a collection of Climate-Smart Agriculture resources and content, available here.
Individual speaker segments can be viewed at:
- Welcome and Overview | Ann Vaughan;
- Strengthening Farmers’ Resilience to Climate Change through Insurance and Finance Instruments | Georgia Hartman;
- Climate-Smart and Gender Transformative: Responses to the Climate and Food Crises | Karl Deering; and
- Moderated Q&A.
This blog was originally published by Climatelinks.