Fragility to Resilience in Central and West Asia and North Africa


The region of Central Asia, West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) is vast and contains diverse human cultures and agroecological systems. It is unified by its aridity and a predicted increase in the severity and frequency of high temperatures, drought, floods, climate variability and climate change-related compound events. 

Despite the region’s lack of productive agricultural land and severe water scarcity, the predominantly rain-fed agrifood systems are frequently the largest employers and significantly contribute to national GDP and local food security in a region heavily dependent upon food imports. CWANA’s agrifood systems are, however, incredibly vulnerable to overuse of the limited natural resources, the biophysical effects of climate change and their interplay with societal pressures such as gender inequalities, youth unemployment, rural-to-urban migration, a predominance of non-specialised smallholdings and institutional and economic pressures. 

Many countries in the region are considered fragile and conflict-affected. The consequences of experiencing multiple compounding events without resilient systems in place to cope with them can be devastating for society and the environment. 


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, while minimizing and/or mitigating any trade-offs.


This objective will be achieved through:

    • Creating innovations in partnerships, policies and platforms for the efficient, inclusive and climate-resilient transformation of agrifood systems, including the establishment or strengthening of national alliance of stakeholders and national innovation platforms. 
    • Facilitating genetic innovations, seed systems and agrobiodiversity conservation for climate-resilient food and nutrition security by developing an integrated feedback network of information, tools and innovations between CGIAR Genetic Innovation Initiatives and between regional stakeholders, using national alliances of stakeholders and national innovation platforms. 
    • Focusing on sustainable intensification of farming systems for climate-resilient reduction of yield gaps by addressing insufficient knowledge and service delivery infrastructure capacity, and enabling policies as key bottlenecks for producers, small- and medium-sized enterprises and value chain actors to access resources to manage and mitigate risks. 
    • Supporting integrated food, land, water and energy systems for climate-resilient landscapes by strengthening inclusive policies and governance for integrated management across the food-land-water-energy nexus. 
    • Applying innovations and digital tools for climate-resilient food value chains by seeking to leverage, assess, accelerate and scale the use of digitally innovative solutions to climate change-induced challenges.


      This Initiative will work in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan and Uzbekistan, from which lessons with regional and global relevance will be shared.


      Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

        1. Government, civil society, private sector and international NGOs jointly develop strategies and policies to create more efficient, inclusive and resilient national agrifood systems. 
        2. Government supports and facilitates the use of “best-bet” genetic innovations developed for the region. 
        3. Government supports and facilitates the on-farm and ex-situ conservation of agrobiodiversity. 
        4. Government, civil society and private sector scale up bundled solutions to decompose yield gaps. 
        5. Government, civil society and private sector put into 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 total, 3.5 million people, many of whom are 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 introduction of climate-smart, resource conservation technologies, and appropriate mechanization and sustainable cropping systems for dryland and irrigated systems, 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 on-farm and ex-situ conservation of unique agrobiodiversity leads to 1,500 plant genetic accessions available and safely duplicated. 


                  Projected benefits are a way to illustrate reasonable orders of magnitude for impacts which could arise as a result of the impact pathways set out in the Initiative’s theories of change. In line with the 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy, Initiatives contribute to these impact pathways, along with other partners and stakeholders. CGIAR does not deliver impact alone. These projections therefore estimate plausible levels of impact to which CGIAR, with partners, contribute. They do not estimate CGIAR’s attributable share of the different impact pathways.


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


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