From Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa


In recent decades, Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) has become a climate hotspot as increased drying and warming exacerbate challenges in the world’s most water-stressed and socially fragile region. Agriculture and water are the region’s key vulnerabilities.

Climate impacts are putting pressure on rainfed agroecosystems as the main source of food and protein, affecting food security and livelihoods. Water scarcity, biodiversity depletion and land degradation are accelerating, reducing farm productivity, and sharpening social and political divides. Rural unemployment is driving over-urbanization, deepening inequality for women and youth.

Action is urgently needed to build more resilient agrifood systems in the CWANA region, primed to withstand the effects of climate change and generate better livelihoods for rural communities.


This Initiative aims to respond to the climate, nutrition and agrifood challenges most affecting the CWANA region by applying, scaling and supporting effective, resilience-focused solutions, reducing fragility and conflict, and empowering all stakeholders for change.


This objective will be achieved through:

  • Innovations in partnerships, policies and platforms for the efficient, inclusive and climate-resilient transformation of agrifood systems, including through the establishment of national alliances of stakeholders and new national innovation platforms, or strengthening existing ones.
  • Genetic innovations, seed systems and agrobiodiversity conservation for climate-resilient food and nutrition security, through the development of an integrated feedback network of information, tools and innovations between CGIAR Initiatives to maximize synergies, and between regional stakeholders using national alliances of stakeholders and national innovation platforms.
  • Sustainable intensification of farming systems for climate-resilient reduction of yield gaps, addressing insufficient knowledge and service delivery infrastructure, capacity and enabling policies as key bottlenecks for producers, small and medium enterprises, and value chain actors to access resources to manage and mitigate risks.
  • Integrated food, land, water and energy systems for climate-resilient landscapes, clarifying limits to growth and improving the long-term potential for sustainable livelihoods, including through strengthening inclusive policies and governance for integrated management across the food-land-water-energy nexus.
  • Scaling innovation and digital tools for climate-resilient food value chains, by seeking to leverage, assess, accelerate and scale the use of digitally innovative solutions to address climate change induced challenges across food value chains.


This Initiative will work in the following countries: Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan and Uzbekistan.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. Government, civil society, private sector and international non-governmental organizations work together to create efficient, inclusive and resilient national agrifood systems.
  2. Farmers use best-bet genetic innovations developed for the region.
  3. Farmers adopt best practices for the on-farm conservation of agrobiodiversity.
  4. Government, civil society and private sector work together to scale up bundled solutions to bridge yield gaps.
  5. Government, civil society and private sector practice the integrated management of food, land, water and energy systems.
  6. Government, civil society and private sector scale up innovations and digital tools for food value chain climate risk management.


Projected impacts and benefits include:


The adoption of climate-adapted innovations, such as drought-tolerant seeds, climate-smart farm management practices, conservation agriculture and mechanization services, directly benefits 2.4 million people, and contributes to national climate adaptation and mitigation priorities and targets across the region.


In Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan and Uzbekistan, 3.5 million people, many of whom were malnourished and impoverished, benefit from the uptake of technical innovations, tools and policies.


The 3.5 million people projected to benefit from the Initiative and its innovations further experience reduced poverty and improved livelihoods.


High participation rates by youth and rural women lead to improved equality, inclusion and livelihood impacts for 1.6 million women and 1.2 million youth.


The adoption of climate-smart innovations results in improved management of 5.3 million hectares of land by 2030, equivalent to 4.1% of agricultural land. Significant gains are made in terms of reducing water usage and improving the efficiency of water, resulting in savings of 5.75 km3 in consumptive water use. The introduction of resource conservation technologies, and appropriate mechanization and sustainable cropping systems for dryland and irrigated systems, lead to the accession and duplication of 1,500 plant genetic resources.



For more details, view the Initiative proposal


Header photo: Arab Food Security project. Photo by ICARDA.