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CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) - Summary report 2017-2021

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In 2021, 12 CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) and four CGIAR Platforms came to a close. This summary report presents an overview of the work of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) between 2017 and 2021 and highlights its key achievements over this five-year period.


CCAFS brought together the science and expertise of CGIAR and its partners to catalyze positive change for climate-smart agriculture (CSA). It addressed the increasing challenge of global warming and declining food security through strategic, broad-based global partnerships and supported adopting climate-smart agricultural policies, practices, and services that alleviate poverty, increase gender equity, and support sustainable landscapes.

CSA has three pillars: (1) Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity to support equitable increases in incomes, food security, and development; (2) Adapting and building resilience to climate change from farm to national levels; and (3) Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon, where possible. Embedded in CSA are efforts to close the gender gap and engage youth.

While the CSA approach is closely aligned with on-farm practices related to sustainable intensification and agroecological approaches, CCAFS extended CSA to landscape-level interventions (such as the management of farm-forest boundaries), services (particularly information and finance), institutions (including those related to market governance and incentives for adoption), and the food system (particularly consumption patterns and wider climate-informed safety nets).

CCAFS comprised six flagships:

1.Priorities and policies for CSA, which acknowledged that the challenges posed by climate change will not only require technological changes on the part of many actors but also major behavioral shifts at various levels to help communities increase their adaptive capacity.

2.Climate-smart technologies and practices, which addressed the challenge of how to transition to CSA at a large scale to enable agricultural systems to be transformed and reoriented to support food security under the new realities of climate change.

3.Low emissions development, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in the agriculture sector.

4.Climate services and safety nets, which worked with a range of organizations to support the development of effective climate information and advisory services for farmers and climate-informed safety net interventions.

5.Gender and social inclusion, which cut across all thematic areas of CCAFS’ research — from climate-smart agriculture to climate risk management, low emissions development, and policies and institutions.

6.Scaling CSA, which involved a set of processes required — in the context of climate variability, climate change, and uncertainty about future climate conditions — to go beyond pilot projects through sustainable change to bring higher quality solutions to millions of farmers and food system actors in a fast, equitable, inclusive, and lasting manner, toward achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CCAFS’ target countries included the following:

  • Latin America: Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua

  • West Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Senegal

  • East Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda

  • South Asia: Bangladesh, India, and Nepal

  • Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam