Low- and middle-income countries urgently need resilient and low-emissions livestock solutions to respond to climate change. Facing a climate emergency, research must provide proven adaptive measures that safeguard and capitalize on livestock benefits. Livestock are essential to the income and livelihoods of almost 930 million poor Africans and South Asians. Consuming animal source foods has positive impacts on our cognitive development and growth. However, livestock production is highly vulnerable to rising temperatures, erratic precipitation, and increasing extreme events.
Research must also provide innovations that mitigate livestock climate impacts. Livestock cause ~15% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions largely due to low feed efficiencies, land use change, land degradation, and deforestation. Nearly 50% of low- and middle-income countries prioritize livestock actions in their Nationally Determined Contributions—the national blueprints for climate action—and some are developing livestock-based Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, but implementation lags and governments need substantial technical support.
Despite this urgency, research on climate-smart options for livestock in low- and middle-income countries is scarce, so policy makers, investors, and producers face gaps that limit their abilities to select policy and commercial leverage points, attract climate finance, measure progress, and actually adapt or mitigate their activities to the climate emergency.
This initiative aims to:
- Enable 300,000 producers (at least 40% women) in five countries to better prepare for and manage uncertain futures by adopting management practices that enhance their climate-related adaptive capacities (livestock assets) while ensuring household equity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensities.
- Work with producers on adaptation initiatives and practices that restore degraded landscapes (100,000 hectares) while offsetting enteric methane emissions by 25%.
- Stimulate inclusive and market-driven adaptation and mitigation pathways along ten value chains.
- Promote ten interventions, new business models, and products that help to adapt livestock value chains in five countries, and encourage private livestock enterprises to increase their commitments to sustainable production.
- Stimulate sustainable finance by providing evidence to five climate investors about how livestock production can be climate resilient, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be profitable.
- Enable five governments to use CGIAR tools to plan livestock climate interventions through policy and investment support from farm to landscape levels.
- Provide support to governments in their national adaptation and mitigation reporting capacities to meet UNFCCC targets.
Proposed 3-year outcomes include:
- One hundred fifty thousand livestock producing households implement climate-smart technologies, improving their adaptation to climatic stresses while reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensities by 10%. Within households, distribution of labor and benefits associated with climate-smart technologies is gender equitable.
- Three hundred thousand livestock-producing households (45% women and youth) in five countries access climate information, insurance, and credit products and services delivered through public-private partnerships. Social and gender barriers to digital technologies are identified and reduced to ensure women and youth can access information services.
- Climate finance investors commit US $100 million for climate-smart livestock interventions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensities and enhance climate risk management. Five private companies and meat processors commit to changing their business practices in line with these objectives.
- Land managers implement measures that increase the landscape health of 100,000 ha through avoided deforestation and land restoration in both rangelands and forests.
- Policies, livestock master plans, and climate change reporting systems in five countries include resilient and low-emissions livestock evidence and outputs from the Initiative’s tools to prioritize and guide socially-inclusive livestock and land management investments.
|CLIMATE ADAPTATION & MITIGATION
Resilient and low-emissions livestock animal source foods equip producers with adapted solutions, practices, and capacities so they can deal with climate shocks and risks. Increased on-farm production efficiencies and sustainable land management reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Investments and national policy interventions help countries meet emissions reduction commitments and adaptation goals.
|NUTRITION, HEALTH & FOOD SECURITY
Resilient and low-emissions livestock animal source foods safeguard affordable access to animal source foods by the poorest and most vulnerable people. Animal source foods provide essential protein and micronutrients, critical during pregnancy and early childhood. Appropriate management of animal source foods also helps curb the spread of zoonotic diseases and foodborne illnesses.
|POVERTY REDUCTION, LIVELIHOODS & JOBS
Resilient and low-emissions livestock animal source foods buffer the livelihoods of livestock-producing households against climate variability, enabling them to better manage risks and generate more reliable income from their livestock. More productive value chains extend youth employment, address gender inequalities, and expand economic opportunities for businesses and households.
|GENDER EQUALITY, YOUTH & SOCIAL INCLUSION
Resilient and low-emissions livestock animal source foods promote and ensure more equitable participation of women in decision-making, widen ownership and control of productive assets, and expand economic and employment opportunities for women and youth.
|ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & BIODIVERSITY
Resilient and low-emissions livestock animal source foods reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. They also help restore soil and rangelands and reduce deforestation, promoting sustainable landscapes, maintaining and/or increasing biodiversity and providing ecosystem services. They reduce deforestation by decreasing land pressure and, by extension, reduce a major driver of biodiversity loss.
Header photo: Improved boran cattle at ILRI’s Kapiti farm. Photo by J. Meyers/ILRI.