How to better channel climate finance to sustainable land use to achieve food and nutrition security in developing countries

By Alice Brie

IFAD and its partners (FAO, WFP, UNCCD) co-hosted an event at UNFCCC COP23 to discuss options for better scale up and use of finance to support climate smart land use.

© Giorgia Pergoloni/WFP

The discussion brought leaders from financial institutions, international organizations, governments and civil society together to focus on how climate finance can support continued and more effective action on land use but also how climate finance flows can be used to unlock much larger sums of public and private resources, to advance better climate change mitigation and adaptation for rural people.

"It is undeniable that climate finance for climate-smart land use has thus far been insufficient, “said WFP's Gernot Laganda. "Annual flows of finance for land-use mitigation and adaptation constitute only a small portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in land-use in developing countries."

Costa Rica's Minister of Agriculture, Luis Felipe Arauz, said that ministers of agriculture and environment need to be better coordinated, and that too often, in each of the international climate funds, focal points are from the ministry of environment, which make it difficult for agriculture to access climate finance.

The Minister of Environment from Mali, Ms. Aida Mbo Keita, explained that climate impacts are already altering productive land, leading to food shortages in her country.

"The international climate finance mechanism is only one part of the adaptation solution to be implemented,'' said Minister Keita. "It is also important that States create their own financial mechanisms, such as Mali has recently done, to assure durability in investments."

IFAD's Margarita Astralanga said that the UN system is working closely with developing counties to help them access the different climate fund resources in accordance to their national plans.

She also said that UN agencies couldn’t be alone in the process and that the private sector must play a crucial role by supplying the new markets that will be created with innovative products and services, such as suitable weather forecasting services and micro-finance for sustainable agriculture.

© Giorgia Pergoloni/WFP
The event also invited technical expert and farmers’ representative to the discussion.

Boris Spassky, a representative of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, said that we needed to deliver a positive impact with high environmental and social standards.

"Farmer are interested in things that works, they have too little capital to to invest in innovations that have no result on the ground".

 "Investments are there but are not being directed in the right direction to a lack of political commitment,” said World Farmers Organization representative, Mr Noel Oettle
According to him more investment in climate resilience agriculture research is fundamental to support farmer knowledge on adaptation.

For the African Risk Capacity representative Ms. Ekhosuehi Iyahen, explained that investments are urgently needed in early warning systems and an adaptive response to crises. She said that longer lasting extreme weather events and natural disasters will pose numerous risks to smallholder farmers since they have the fewest resources to adapt or recover quickly from shocks.