From vision to action: Leading the way in climate action

Photo credit: CIAT

In a world teetering on the brink of irreversible climate crisis, “addressing this crisis is undoubtedly a top global priority if not THE global priority of the 21st century.”

Agriculture has become risky in the face of climate change – from the destruction of vast rainforest areas to land degradation due to unsustainable practices and water depletion. While some of these challenges are unnerving, there are also enormous opportunities.

The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) brings a dynamic, new, and integrative approach to agricultural research for development, addressing the food system, and taking a comprehensive, systematic and evidence-based integrated approach that recognises the interconnectedness of food, agriculture, health, and the environment.

In pursuing this ambitious endeavour, the Alliance acknowledges the pivotal role played by multi-stakeholder partnerships in the fight against climate change. Armed with this understanding, the Alliance builds strategic partnerships with governments, stakeholders, and beneficiaries, forging collaborations that span landscapes, countries, and regions. Through this intricate model of co-design and co-delivery, the Alliance develops integrated solutions that harmonise societal needs with environmental imperatives. This concerted effort paves the way for a sustainable future and emboldens a shared commitment to safeguarding our planet for future generations.

The Alliance Strategy 2020-2025 defines how to drive and accelerate impact on climate action, unlocking robust and inclusive solutions. This strategy is organised around six ‘levers of change’ strategic touchpoints primed to transform food systems and landscapes to meet the challenges of the burgeoning demand for more nutritious food, while maintaining and improving our environment and addressing climate change.

Central to this change is the Climate Action Lever, which convenes, develops, and applies sound science around climate change adaptation and mitigation under a food system approach to unlock public and private finance, a major constraint for transformative adaptation in the agricultural sector. It enhances policies that drive institutional changes that produce innovation, investment, and action to address climate risks.

To achieve this, the Climate Action Lever is creating a nurturing environment for innovation with purpose, based on transformation and the acceleration of science and the use thereof, strategically positioning the Alliance at the forefront, addressing a pivotal gap by providing precise, well-researched, and actionable solutions for governments, development agencies, financial partners, and stakeholders within the intricate realm of climate change. This comprehensive approach resonates across scales, underscored by a systemic lens that embraces the intricacies of food systems.

The empowerment extends to ensuring that climate action research findings guide the alignment of national strategies, investments, and operations to reduce the impacts of climate change and variability, promote low-emissions pathways, and formulate and implement effective climate policies.

The Alliance has facilitated different projects that aim to identify gaps, improve coordination, and trigger timely responses to drive and accelerate impact on climate action.

AICCRA Project

Our strategic focus in Africa revolves around catalysing investment actions, amplifying the reach of climate services, nurturing partnerships, and developing methodologies for priority setting and policy design.

In Kenya, the AICCRA (Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa) Project is a testament to our dedication to seamlessly integrating data-driven agriculture with climate services. This project scales climate-smart practices, technologies, and climate information services, while concurrently pioneering integrated methods and approaches.

Additionally, our collaborative effort extends to curriculum co-development, underscoring our commitment to disseminate knowledge and co-create impactful solutions on the ground.

In partnership with the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Multi-Stakeholder Platform (KCSA-MSP), AICCRA is improving county agriculture stakeholders’ capacity to undertake inclusive and participatory investment planning to facilitate access to finance for climate risks management and build resilience of the sector in alignment with national and county policies.

InACRI Project

Many low-income and middle-income countries are climate hotspots, highly exposed to extreme climate events. Designing policy pathways to mainstream initiatives or practices that disrupt unsustainable structures and have the potential to transform food systems, is a way of impeding climate change. Building resilience and the capacity to adapt to climate shocks require work and dialogue across scales, levels, and sectors. The Alliance, through the Innovation for Africa Climate Risk Insurance (InACRI) Project, addresses Kenya’s current deficient performance and uptake of index-based insurance products.

There are many forms and uses of insurance index-based in Kenya, but crops and livestock are mostly covered. Although index insurance is highly regarded as an important risk mitigation measure in low-income agriculture, implementation and adoption of insurance schemes face technical and operational challenges.

InACRI develops and implements innovative solutions for improving the crop insurance index, product design, insurance communication strategies, and supporting effective training and uptake of crop insurance. Some of the strategies they use are:

  • Developing improved and reliable index-based crop insurance for maize in Kenya using state-of-the-art crop, climate, and socio-economic models to minimise basis risk.
  • Developing and implementing an innovative product that covers a variety of farmer needs reduces administrative and loss verification costs, and bases key operations such as claims processing on transparent and automated platforms.
  • Developing an effective communication strategy for index-based crop insurance products to enhance awareness and understanding of the insurance products among farmers and key stakeholders.
  • Developing and implementing an innovative, improved product design and infrastructure integrating digital technologies to enhance trust, increase uptake, and reduce transaction costs for crop insurance.

These processes empower farmers, communities, and policy planners to develop and implement bottom-up, integrated climate risk management interventions, matching global-level data with community level-needs.

ICAT Project

The Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) is an unincorporated multi-stakeholder partnership steered by a Donor Steering Committee. It focuses on increasing the overall transparency capacities of countries, including the capacity to assess the contribution of climate policies and actions on countries’ development objectives, and providing appropriate methodological information and tools to support evidence-based policymaking.

In Kenya, ICAT aims to strengthen the capacity to implement adaptation actions effectively and efficiently while monitoring and reporting climate action in the agriculture sector at national and sub-national levels.

The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT are implementing the ICAT Project in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and the KCSA-MSP, and working closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Copenhagen Climate Centre.

Through on-ground experience and research, the Alliance, through ICAT, builds capacity for policies that bring together local and available tools to enable governance for resilience, and gender and social equity.

Equipped with a growing number of science-driven tools and services, Alliance seeks to provide technologies, innovation, and opportunities that give the ecosystem a chance for a better life and scaling-up solutions that generate lasting impacts for livelihoods and the environment, thus championing the climate action movement, as Gro Harlem Brundtland states: “Sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”