Integrating Rural Development, Climate Change and Sustainable Natural Resource Management

Session leads: Sheila Mwanundu and Dhrupad Chowdhury
Facilitator: Edgar Tan
Social Reporter: Meng Sakphouseth

"Agriculture provides livelihoods for many poor rural people and is fundamental to food security, nutrition and employment generation. The poor are highly vulnerable to adverse climate events and degradation of ecosystems and deal with these interlinked challenges in a day to day basis. In order to better support countries to achieve Millennium Development Goal targets and global food security, business as usual is not an option. A shift in paradigm to an integrated response to climate change, natural resource degradation and rural underdevelopment at all levels is critical"
- Opening remarked by Ms. Sheila Mwanundu, Senior Technical Advisor, Environment and Climate Change Division, Programme Management Department of IFAD.

Given that the issue of Climate Change is relatively new for IFAD supported programmes and projects, the session on integrating Rural Development, Climate Change and Sustainable Natural Resource Management gave the opportunity for many project management staff from different countries in Asia and the Pacific region to learn about IFAD’s new strategy on climate change and provide inputs on how to operationalise it.

The session was structured around two short presentations followed by speed sharing. In three discussion groups, experiences were shared and specific actions identified around the following key thematic areas:
  • IFAD's strategy for supporting Climate Change interventions to reduce small holder and poorest farmer vulnerability
  • Integration of the Climate Change intervention into project and COSOP
  • Coping strategy for rural poor people

Active participation and responses from the participants reflected a diversity of experiences and issues faced by Project Directors across the sectors. The immediate needs can be summarized as following:
  • Clarify IFAD's role with other development partners and private business entities based on IFAD's comparative advantage to support rural poor people
  • Build the capacity at all levels and engage with research partners to come up with the tools and technologies which can benefit the rural poor, in terms of mitigation and adaption to climate change
  • Provide institutional support to database management on climate change
  • Harmonize the application of tools developed by IFAD and other development partners to minimize transaction costs at the project level
  • Institutionalize and localize farmer groups affected by climate change
  • Promote bottom up planning process response to climate change
  • Improve information flow through knowledge management and sharing
  • Conduct comprehensive research on cropping pattern response to the climate change
  • Promote diversification of farming practices
The comments and concerns generated during the session will be addressed through the IFAD Environment and Natural Resource Management Policy to be submitted to the board for approval in May 2011.

Session presentations can be downloaded from the following links.