Jonny Casey, CASA’s climate change advisor, asks where agriculture was at COP26?

Despite agriculture being the most vulnerable sector to climate change impacts, particularly in low-income countries, and one of the largest global contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, it remains sidelined from the main negotiations.

Nonetheless, COP26 provided opportunities for organisations concerned about the impacts of climate change on smallholder farmers to highlight the centrality of agriculture to climate action. This included demonstrating exciting opportunities to address both adaptation and mitigation in agriculture.

The CASA Programme was at the forefront of these discussions. On Finance Day, Wednesday 3 November, the programme’s work on engaging investors to mobilise climate finance towards the $100bn per year climate finance goal was showcased with a video shown throughout the day at the UK Government Pavilion, at the heart of the event.

CASA’s COP26 video attracted the attention of politicians, including US climate envoy, John Kerry.

As CASA’s climate-smart agriculture advisor, I talked with attendees about the programme’s work throughout the day, including a number of government ministers from the UK and Uganda.

Later that day, I was a panellist at an IFAD-organised event on innovative approaches to climate risk management in agriculture. I presented the findings of some of the CASA Programme’s pioneering research work. This research provides key insights for investors on issues including physical climate risk assessments in agriculture, the role of private finance in climate adaptation, and investment opportunities in climate-smart agriculture technologies in Asia and Africa

I was able to share further insights from this research at a side event, co-organised by CABI and FANRPAN , an agriculture policy research organisation for sub-Saharan Africa. Panellists came from the World Bank, COMESA, CGIAR, and the Government of Uganda. This event explored pathways to sustainable, climate-resilient food systems in the region, building on the experiences and research of the organisations involved. Elsewhere, Simon Calvert of the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, which funds the CASA Programme, included insights from the programme’s work in his remarks at an event hosted by the European Union on ‘Mobilising private sector engagement for climate-smart agricultural innovation’.

Currently, less than 0.1% of private climate finance is targeted at climate-smart agriculture across Asia and Africa, while overall private climate finance has remained stagnant over recent years.

Mobilizing investment is critical to address the dual challenges of adaptation and mitigation in the sector, and support smallholders and agribusinesses to thrive and be resilient to the challenges of climate change. The CASA programme prioritizes work on climate change – through investor-relevant research, technical assistance, and insights for policy-makers delivered as investor engagement events and climate-smart 4x4s.

Jonny Casey is CABI’s Climate Change Manager, and advises the CASA Programme on climate change.

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