Call for Climate Protection for Smallholders that Produce One Third of Global Food

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UK boosts commitment to curtail agricultural emissions and reduce climate-induced loss and damage.

Glasgow, UK (November 8, 2021) – CGIAR urged global leaders today to ensure the 500 million smallholder farmers responsible for up to a third of global food production can adapt to climate change-induced loss and damage while curbing their greenhouse gas emissions. Innovations are needed that can both reduce the contribution of global agriculture to climate change, and adapt to its increasingly evident consequences while also supporting livelihoods, nutrition and equality.

Many smallholders reside in agriculture-dependent regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and face a rising tide of climate threats including increased drought, flooding and water scarcity. The climate crisis is exacerbating the degradation of food, land, and water systems, impacting productivity, viability and resilience.

The call comes as the United Kingdom pledged $55 million over two years to boost commitments to CGIAR research from a steadily growing global coalition to surpass $1 billion. The new pledges will contribute to an accelerating of research and innovation to confront rapidly intensifying climate challenges that could upend the global fight against hunger and poverty.

UK Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “To keep 1.5 degrees alive, we need action from every part of society, including an urgent transformation in the way we manage ecosystems and grow, produce and consume food on a global scale.”

“This is not an either/or scenario where it’s adaptation or mitigation,” said Claudia Sadoff, Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact at CGIAR. “For agriculture to become a more sustainable and nature-positive sector, we have to provide tools that allow farmers to rebalance the relationship between agriculture and nature while building resilience to climate change.”

One example of work that CGIAR will undertake as part of new commitments is an initiative to develop climate-smart crop seed varieties, such as drought-tolerant wheat or rice that is adapted to grow in water affected by saline intrusion from rising sea levels. CGIAR will lead the ‘innovation sprint’ on Fast Tracking Climate Solutions from Global Germplasm Banks as part of the new United States and United Arab Emirates Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate or AIM4C launched by President Biden at COP26.

The first week at COP26 delivered significant support for climate innovation for farmers across the developing world. Pledges to CGIAR came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and countries including the United States, Canada, Sweden and Belgium, and now the UK.

The World Bank also reaffirmed a commitment made at the last Climate Action Summit to provide $60 million for CGIAR adaptation work in Africa. Together with on-going contributions, the Bank could potentially provide support in the order of $150 million over the next three years.

“The investments secured at COP26 will accelerate this work, but much more is neededin the long run to fight global hunger and poverty. We must cultivate a global and truly multilateral effort to bridge the remaining investment gap, prioritize adaptation strategies and programs, and support the innovations to confront this unprecedented threat to food systems that feed billions,” said Sadoff.

Some examples of where CGIAR will direct its efforts via partnerships in new initiatives include:


Media contacts:

Valerie Poire – – +33 (0) 772 068 336

Leah Butson – – +44 (0) 7871 269 337

Header picture by UNFCCC.

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