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Publication | 2019

Good practices for integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate-smart agriculture programmes

The purpose of this document is to provide agriculture development practitioners and policy makers globally, with guidance, tools and examples of successful integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) into climate smart agriculture (CSA) work, by demonstrating the necessity and benefits of incorporating a GEWE approach in CSA work; and presenting tested strategies for enhancing the engagement of women and particularly vulnerable groups in CSA work. This guidance focuses on a set of agricultural practices to be implemented by small-scale food producers in developing countries and to help policy makers and practitioners meet the ambitious goals of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.

Key messages:

  • Women, children, elderly, indigenous and disabled people face the highest levels of vulnerability to severe food insecurity and malnutrition. Rural women and men increasingly face the challenge of having to adapt their production systems and livelihoods in the context of climate change and natural resource depletion.

  • Rural men and women have different access to productive resources, services, information and employment opportunities, which may hinder women’s productivity and reduce their contributions to agriculture, food security, nutrition and broader economic and social development goals.

  • Multiple dimensions of inequality inhibit women from managing risks and shocks, and limit their adaptive capacity to climate change. Women farmers are more exposed to climate change risks compared with men, as they depend more on natural resources for their livelihood, have fewer endowments and entitlements to help them absorb shocks and may not equally benefit from agriculture technologies and practices.

  • Climate change can exacerbate existing gender inequalities in agriculture, but also create new opportunities to maximize women’s potential as agents of change and resilience building. This requires recognising the crucial role and capacity of women in agriculture, and in ensuring food security and nutrition.

  • Assuring equal access to productive resources, climate-smart and labour-saving technologies and practices, services and local institutions is at the core of FAO’s approach to enhancing the sustainability of agriculture.

  • Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development (environmental, economic and social dimensions) by jointly addressing food security and climate challenges.

  • A gender-responsive approach to climate-smart agriculture identifies and addresses the different constraints faced by men and women, and recognises their specific capabilities. This approach aims at reducing gender inequalities and ensuring equal benefit from CSA interventions and practices, thus achieving more sustainable and equitable results.

  • A gender-responsive or gender-transformative approach can be beneficial to food and nutrition security and broader development outcomes by simultaneously addressing the interconnected challenges of gender inequality, resilience to climate change and disasters, and improving agricultural productivity and livelihoods through climate-smart agricultural development.