ASEAN strengthens climate resiliency of the agriculture sector

By: Kristine Joy S. Villagracia & Shinta Purnama Sarie

ASEAN leaders of agriculture and forestry agreed to further promote climate-smart agriculture (CSA) to address the impacts of climate change in the regional and international agenda. Realiz-ing the ongoing issues on climate change, ASEAN Member States (AMS) together with in-ternational and national research agencies, development partners and the private sector further continue to work hand-in-hand in promoting CSA practices and increase the resilience of the agriculture sector to the changing climate. From this background, the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN) Workshop on Promoting CSA Practices was held from 27-28 October 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The two-day workshop served as way forward to promote the prioritized best CSA practices among AMS.

The workshop focused on the knowledge exchange and discussion of fundamental issues of the three (3) prioritized CSA practices common across the region, namely (1) climate-information systems on CSA, (2) development and dissemination of rice and maize stress-tolerant varieties, and (3) crop insurance as a tool for climate change resiliency. It also improved the awareness and understanding of the participants on the role of CSA in United Nations Framework Conven-tion on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the related National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) processes.

Encompassing all issues on these three (3) CSA practices, the following key priorities have been identified by the workshop participants for scaling-up through the UNFCC processes:

  1. Programme Development: Invest in pilot Implementation of CSA practices and genera-tion of an evidence base regarding benefits (e.g. through engaging ASWGC focal points, local organizations, private sector and research)
  2. Knowledge Management: Develop and share experiences on successful models to scale-up CSA practices in particular to reach smallholder farmers (e.g. through cooperation with the private sector and local organisations and/or farmer to farmer extension)
  3. Funding and Capacity Building: Provide opportunity and funding for capacity building and technical exchange and assistance among participating countries in the ASEAN-CRN and working with existing alliances
  4. Early Warning and Climate Information: Develop effective and efficient approaches to provide integrated, climate information based services to marginalized farmers which include interpretation and application of the information (e.g. through ICT, SMS, Radio and extension)
  5. Market Development: Integrate marketability and other value chain aspects into re-search on stress tolerant varieties – consult with downstream players/ private sector to ensure competitiveness of new varieties

These prioritized key issues serve as the initial step to identify the policies needed to be devel-oped by the AMS to solidify the promotion of CSA practices in the region and in international negotiations.

The workshop is led by the Thailand Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) through its Department of Agriculture (DOA) in its capacity as the current chair of the ASEAN-CRN, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam as host. The German-ASEAN Programme on Response to Climate Change (GAP-CC) – implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat, provided support for this event, along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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