Looking Beyond the Horizon: How Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Responses Will Reshape Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
December 5, 2013
- Food security remains a key development challenge across the globe, with some projections estimating the need for an increase in agricultural production of 70-100 percent by 2050.
- Shifts in temperature and precipitation are forcing farmers in Europe and Central Asian countries to adapt to impacts of climate change in their agriculture sectors.
- A new book provides analysis and recommendations for agricultural adaptation measures in response to the risks of climate change impacts in the region, particularly for Albania, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan.
Ensuring food security in a changing climate is a critical and pressing development challenge in today’s world. Projections estimate that food production around the globe needs to increase by 70-100 percent by 2050 in order to meet the demands of a world with nine billion people. As part of the effort to address the challenges of food security and climate change, a new approach to agriculture is being developed. This approach, known as “climate smart agriculture”, emphasizes the need for agricultural practices which can simultaneously increase productivity in today’s climate, build resilience to climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – contributing to a “triple win” in the agriculture sector and providing sustainable solutions to the challenges posed by a shifting global climate.
The adverse impacts of a changing climate are going to have serious effects in agriculture and water sectors. This would have an impact on food security, nutrition, and rural livelihoods.
Climate change is already underway in the Europe and Central Asia region and it is accelerating, reinforcing the need for immediate, medium-, and long-term solutions which can help everyone involved in agriculture to reduce its adverse impacts. Changes in precipitation patterns, rising temperatures, and increases in the frequency and severity of natural disasters are forcing people to address these impacts in new and innovative ways and begin adapting to a changing climate. While these changes in climate and their resulting effects on agriculture will have an impact on the global population at large, it is the rural populations who are most vulnerable.
A new book on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in the Europe and Central Asia region incorporates the climate smart approach in agricultural development in the region. Looking Beyond the Horizon: How Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Responses Will Reshape Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia examines the challenges and opportunities being created in the agriculture sector in Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan. Through economy-wide modeling of water supply and demand, the analysis found that, in many cases, water availability for irrigation will be severely curtailed by climate change. This will greatly exacerbate the effects of climate change on crops — especially irrigated crops — with potential yield reductions of 20–50 percent by 2050.
The book also offers countries practical advice on how to help their agricultural sectors adapt to shifts in climate, in a combined effort to both decrease the vulnerability of farmers to climate variability and bolster their ability to capitalize on potential gains presented by a changing climate.
"The adverse impacts of a changing climate are going to have serious effects in agriculture and water sectors," says William Sutton, lead author of the report. "This would have an impact on food security, nutrition, and rural livelihoods."
The findings in this book are already shaping policy in Albania, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, and Uzbekistan. Based on its recommendations, the Government of Albania is implementing a new irrigation and drainage project. FYR Macedonia has incorporated elements from this work into their new Country Partnership Strategy. Moldova is integrating elements of this report into their disaster risk mitigation and adaptation project, and Uzbekistan is piloting a series of recommendations from this work.
Furthermore, efforts are currently underway in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to replicate the successes from this project and build a similar series of analyses and recommendations for those countries.
By supporting climate smart agriculture and implementing measures that improve agricultural production, reduce emissions, and increase resilience to climate change, the farming sector in the region is making strides towards ensuring agricultural sustainability in the decades to come.