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Obama Administration Launches Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture

From record droughts in Kansas to deadly wildfires in California, the United States is feeling the effects of climate change. These same conditions have a dire impact across the developing world, especially for poor, rural smallholder farmers whose very lives are threatened every time the rains arrive late, the floods rush in, or the temperature soars.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach nine billion people. Feeding them will require at least a 60 percent increase in agricultural production. There is no greater challenge to meeting this need than climate change. It poses a range of unprecedented threats to the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable people and to the very planet that sustains us. In order to ensure that hundreds of millions of people are not born into a debilitating cycle of under-nutrition and hunger, we must address the urgent threat that climate change poses.

That’s why today we’re announcing the launch of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. The idea was born eight months ago, when an international delegation of leaders—including many from the USDA, the State Department, and USAID—met in South Africa for the Global Conference on Climate Change, Food Security, and Agriculture. There, we charted a more sustainable path to food security—one that preserves the environment while driving broad-based economic growth.

The Alliance’s solutions will encompass every type of climate and agricultural system, including better crop, livestock, and aquaculture varieties that can tolerate extreme heat, drought, and floods. We are also testing and deploying innovative tools for farmers, like weather-indexed crop and livestock insurance to help communities build resilience to severe weather.

The Alliance will advance a more inclusive, innovative, and evidence-based approach to food security. It will provide platforms for partners to collaborate on agricultural practices, make key investments, develop policies that empower producers to mitigate the impact of climate change and, through sustainable agriculture practices, contribute to a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. It will also provide farmers—particularly women—with greater economic opportunities.

Joining the Alliance represents an ambitious step in the United States’ efforts to integrate climate change policies into every area of our work. The Alliance will work in concert with the U.S. Global Climate Change Initiative, drawing on its expertise and experience grappling with climate change challenges in more than 50 developing countries around the world. This climate-specific knowledge and practice being pioneered today will be critical to protect lives and livelihoods, and promote low-carbon growth and development around the world.

As one of his Administration’s first foreign policy acts, President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton launched Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Led by USAID—in partnership with USDA, the State Department, and eight other federal agencies—Feed the Future empowers vulnerable communities to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.

In the last year alone, Feed the Future has improved the nutrition for 12.5 million children across 19 countries. At the same time, it has helped 7 million farmers grow their yields, raise their income, and begin the journey out of the devastating cycle of extreme poverty.

In 2012, President Obama rallied a group of global leaders at the G8 Summit at Camp David to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, aimed to increase public-private partnerships and increase investment in agriculture. Today, we’ve leveraged $10 billion in investment from more than 200 companies—the majority from local African firms, including farmer-owned businesses.

Here in the United States, we’ve taken steps to address climate change and its impact on agriculture, setting up seven climate hubs and three sub-hubs; launching the Soil Health Initiative (healthier soil captures more carbon and helps farmers succeed), engaging more farmers than any time in American history in land and water conservation efforts, and we’re contributing to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gasses. Our experiences at home can provide lessons that are valuable for farmers around the world.

We don’t have time to wait. From India to the United States, climate change poses drastic risks to every facet of our lives. Ground water supplies are vanishing faster than they can be replenished. Typhoons, wildfires, and floods are showing signs of becoming more frequent and more deadly. And with each day, families are pushed to the brink of survival—threatening our own prosperity and security in an increasingly connected world.

Addressing climate change will not be an easy fix, and it won’t be simple. Long term global food security depends on us acting together now.  That’s why the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture is so critical. By joining together, we can design new technologies and create new alliances to effectively protect and manage the environment that supports us—and the thriving ecosystems that will sustain our world for generations to come.

6 Responses to “Obama Administration Launches Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture”

  1. Lledera Hollen says:

    Thank you GovDelivery. I would like to spread the word to all about food security, climate control, protecting livelihoods, livestock, etc. I would like to
    join the Alliance.

  2. Kip Kolesinskas says:

    Look forward to hearing more about the initiative and how partners can be involved. There is no time to waste. This should require major policy changes in and between agencies. For example, protecting prime and important farmland soils needs to be a higher priority- these soil landscapes are the most resilient to the effects of climate change. We need to make sure Federal policies and funding here and abroad are not accelerating prime farmland loss.

  3. P Jacob says:

    Obviously no-one invited the peasant small farmers to the table, just big corporate industrial ag interests.
    Article from La Via Campesina: UN-masking Climate Smart Agriculture. “We denounce climate smart agriculture which is presented to us as a solution to climate change and as a mechanism for sustainable development. For us, it is clear that underneath its pretense of addressing the persistent poverty in the countryside and climate change, there is nothing new. Rather, this is a continuation of a project first begun with the Green Revolution in the early 1940’s and continued through the 70’s and 80’s by the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction projects and the corporate interests involved. These projects, such as the so-called Green Revolution, decimated numerous peasant economies, particularly in the South, to the extent that many countries, like México for example, that were self-sufficient in food production, became dependent on the North to feed their population within a short couple of decades.
    The result of these projects, dictated by industrial capital’s need for expansion, was the coopting of traditional agricultural producers and production and their insertion into the present industrial agriculture and food regime. A regime that is based on increased use of toxic chemicals, dependent on fossil fuel inputs and technology, increasing exploitation of agricultural and rural workers, with its resulting loss of biodiversity; a food system that is now under the control of corporations and large industrial farmers, the main beneficiaries of these projects.”

  4. francis keya says:

    Kindly how can we empower our small farmers in kenya?
    We are ELI organization for community based training farmers and youth a bout agriculture.we need money to empower small farmers to be saved from middle men and brokers. What is your take please? reply me soon please.Francis keya from merging leadership initiatives trainer.

  5. Jeffrey James Donnelly says:

    I am an Environmental Scientist; Environmental Chemist who is now CIO of Green Carbon Nexus Inc.(GCN). I am being mentored by a group of California Agricultural Biomass conversion experts with collectively near 300 years exp in this industry. Our company can achieve this goal in CA. If we can get funding for it, we can do it on a farm by farm basis and aid in the creation of realistic Biomass Conversion practices that will aid in soil health by sequestering carbon back into the soil, increasing crop yields….potentially significantly, increasing soil water retention, microbial activity and so much more. We just need seed funding and we can do it however the mentors / pioneers / farmer are growing old and tired and their knowledge will not be here forever as is why they are passing it to me as best they can. If we do not get seed funding soon we are going to fail. Please help with funding us, we are the pioneers you speak of. We have the connections in CA just no funding to run a corporation and have simple incomes to sustain even our own basic needs. Please email me if you can help.

  6. Andrew Phillips says:

    If we want to achieve higher crop yields (60% increase by 2050, as quoted above), higher temperatures and increased atmospheric carbon are two very important components. I know the conventional thinking is to lower temps and reduce carbon, but that will have a negative impact on vegetation of all kinds, including crops. Please keep this in mind as you plan future steps.

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