Complementing and building on the previous modules of the Climate Smart Agriculture Sourcebook published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this chapter (Module 17) addresses the overarching question on how the transition towards climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices can be achieved.
• Making agricultural production and management systems climate-smart is a knowledge-intensive process requiring a comprehensive capacity development approach of all stakeholders that builds on sound assessments of country needs across the individual, organizational level and enabling environment capacity levels.
• Due to the uncertain and dynamic nature of climate change impacts, a transition towards climate smart agriculture requires socio-institutional learning processes with a strategic approach to skills development for climate-smart agriculture at country level
• Agricultural innovation systems with public and private research, extension and advisory services play a key role in supporting the transition towards climate-smart agriculture by generating, documenting, blending and sharing indigenous and scientific knowledge, facilitating learning processes and network-based development and innovation.
• In order to improve policy coherence and effectiveness, strengthen local institutions and mainstream CSA into national policies and programmes, it is important to create inclusive, gender sensitive spaces that promote multi-stakeholder dialogue about CSA, such as cross-ministerial roundtables, multi-stakeholder platforms for strategy development and efforts to coordinate regional bodies.
• Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), participatory Communication for Development (ComDev) approaches and knowledge sharing methods are important vehicles to improve access to information and knowledge, facilitate dialogue between stakeholders, and trigger learning across levels with knowledge networks and platforms to provide a venue where the diverse actors can connect.
As part of the 50 year celebration of Swiss Development Cooperation, the North-South Centre of the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Zurich dedicated its Annual conference in 2011 to the theme “ICT4d- The Development Impact of Information and Communication Technologies” that included challenges for education, research and policy in ICT4D.
My role was to present lessons learned from the work with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the realm of strategically integrating ICTs into development programms with specific focus on social and political change witnessed by the so-called Arab Awakening / Arab Spring.
The presentation with policy and research recommendations was titled “Voices 2.0- The Arab awakening and practical lessons learned for development practitioners”.
Taking a critical look back over 10 years of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) program support within ICTs for Development, findings include:
- Start thinking about information and communication needs, channels and media throughout the Project Cycle but most importantly in the planning stages for policy and project intervention
- ICT-enhanced “Communication for Development Methodologies” are worth revisiting
- Link ICTs and media to the organizational DNA of donor agencies in their standard operating procedures or instruments (i.e. Project Cycle Management, Sustainable Livelihood approaches)
- Develop the capacity of implementing agencies and partner organizations on “strategically using” ICTs to leverage their programs
“Planting the Knowledge Seed- Adapting to Climate Change through ICTs” invites you to think outside the box. It takes you on a journey to address climate justice through exploring the practical linkages between climate change, access to and sharing of information and knowledge, communication for development and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in general.
More specifically, it considers how everyday information and communication tools such as radios, mobile phones, personal computers, the internet and interactive media can help reduce the risks of climate change faced by the most vulnerable segments of the global village through providing access to and the sharing of timely information and critical knowledge. The target audience of this publication are not experts on ICTs or climate change, but rather development practitioners and policy makers overall: those who will be faced with the need to interpret the demands of climate change, and apply these to their work in the context of the possibilities afforded by ICTs.
More specifically, the publication aims to:
- Provide an overview of linking the strategic use of ICTs to climate change
- Summarise the discussions and conclusions of the BCO Learning Day on ICTs and Climate Change held in December 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa
- Demonstrate innovative applications through concrete project examples
- Start a dialogue and stimulate a debate about the added value and applicability of ICTs in climate change programmes.
Why is this relevant? Consider the following key points ICTs and climate change:
- Climate change is not a new development phenomenon but amplifies and magnifies existing development challenges, hindering efforts to reduce suffering and alleviate poverty.
- Climate change is a social justice issue. The most vulnerable are the least responsible for its causes, but will be most affected while being least informed about the impacts on their livelihoods and generally excluded from policy discourses.
- Strategically integrated ICTs, such as community radios, mobile phones, knowledge centres and interactive media, are enabling tools that help to reduce climate change vulnerability and risk, while including the voices of those most affected for political advocacy.
- ICTs contribute tangibly to climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies through (a) providing access to relevant information, raising awareness at the grassroots level, and (b) facilitating learning and practical knowledge sharing at the community level, while (c) empowering the poor and marginalised to raise their voice for political accountability and concrete action.
- Current mainstreaming approaches that integrate ICTs as a strategic tool into development programmes (e.g. education, health, governance) can be directly applied to climate change strategies.
- A multi-stakeholder approach is central to ICT climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions.
- There is a need for systematic awareness raising and holistic capacity development among all development stakeholders on how to integrate and utilise ICTs in climate change