Social protection, a key solution to channeling climate finance to poor smallholder farmers — a global issue
Women in Chad’s Boulangara village are building a windbreak to protect a nearby river so they can cultivate a market garden to meet their families’ food needs.Credit: FAO/Thea Kambu
  • opinion Written by Marco Knowles (Rome)
  • interpress service

As a new FAO report unjust climate Research shows that flooding increases the income gap between poor and non-poor households in rural areas by about $21 billion a year, and heat stress increases it by more than $20 billion a year.

Every year, more than $1 trillion is allocated to combating climate change and its effects. Too little funding is reaching the most vulnerable. It is surprising that smallholder farmers currently play such an important role in growing the food that feeds us and managing the natural resources that determine the health of our planet. Only 1.7% of climate finance reaches smallholder farmers.

Decision makers therefore face a major challenge. What policy instruments can be relied upon to direct climate finance to poor smallholder farmers so that they can adapt to climate change?

As The Unjust Climate highlights, social protection policies and programs are a key part of the solution. These programs, which include interventions such as cash transfers, public works programs, social insurance, and vocational training, are specifically designed to reach the poor and vulnerable.

These enable smallholder farmers to invest in new technologies, diversify their incomes, introduce new agricultural assets and accumulate savings to better adapt to climate change. Furthermore, the ministries administering these programs have the necessary expertise to work with vulnerable populations, as well as information systems to identify them and payment systems to provide support. Also equipped.

Many countries are already directing climate finance to small and impoverished farmers through social protection. This will not only help them survive, but also empower individuals, households and communities to build a better future for themselves and the planet. Paraguay’s Poverty, Reforestation, Energy and Climate Change (PROEZA) project includes a social protection component that encourages poor women and indigenous peoples to practice sustainable agroforestry.

By combining these cash payments with customized technical support, smallholder farmers will be able to adapt their farming practices to become more resilient to droughts, which they are increasingly exposed to due to climate change, and increase production and output. can do. Marketing of indigenous crops such as yerba mate.

In Botswana, social protection programs are used to improve the skills of smallholder male and female farmers so that they can be employed as ecorangers and restoration workers. This simultaneously improves the ecological health of communal grazing lands and enables people to earn higher incomes. Less susceptible to climate change.

In Tunisia, vulnerable smallholder farmers covered by government social protection schemes receive intensive support through a combination of sustainable agricultural practices, climate-resilient off-farm income generation and in-kind subsidies. Through the package, they are supported to graduate from poverty.

The evidence we at FAO have collected from around the world shows that programs of this type are effective in achieving goals related to both climate change adaptation and mitigation, while simultaneously improving people’s well-being. I support it.

However, despite the proven social and environmental benefits of directing climate finance to smallholder farmers through social protection, this remains too rare. Examining programs funded through the world’s major climate change funds, we found that of the 484 programs examined, only 3% provided funding to smallholder farmers through social protection. .

The time is now to step up action to channel more climate finance into social protection to better support smallholder farmers.

First, we need to share and discuss evidence and experience through sustained and broad-based policy dialogue at all levels, from local to global. This calls for a shift in thinking from thinking of social protection as an emergency benefit to thinking of social protection as a strategic investment to achieve inclusive, climate-resilient, low-carbon development that leaves no one behind. It will help bring it on.

Second, members of the boards of institutions such as international climate funds (e.g. Green Climate Fund, Global Environment Fund, Adaptation Fund) and multilateral development banks (e.g. World Bank, African Development Bank, Multilateral Development Bank). The American Development Bank, which mobilizes, houses, and distributes climate finance, will play a key role in ensuring that these institutions’ investment frameworks explicitly recognize the importance of social protection in comprehensive climate action. playing a role.

Third, we will seek to expand social protection as a tool for comprehensive climate action, through collective action at the local level and broader civil society partnerships that mobilize small groups of people. , communities themselves need to be involved and supported to come together and work together. Scaling up farmers and other marginalized groups within society, enabling them to harness the power of social protection together to address the climate crisis.

We, as a global community, will not be able to meet the challenge of eradicating poverty, hunger and malnutrition unless we take concrete steps to help smallholder farmers overcome the challenges posed by climate change. I can’t wait for this. Urgent investment in social protection for comprehensive climate action is essential.

© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Interpress Service

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