Agricultural biodiversity in climate change adaptation planning: An analysis of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action


To guide climate adaptation policies and investments, the majority of least developed countries (LDCs) have developed National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). Agricultural biodiversity is an important, but often overlooked, element in climate adaptation; new crop varieties, cropping and farming systems will be important under future climates. This paper analyzes the extent to which agricultural biological diversity is included as part of national adaptation planning in the 50 NAPAs developed by LDCs as of December 2014. The paper presents an analytical framework that was used for the analysis of the NAPAs. It identifies 48 activities included in the NAPAs that do (or at least could) increase biodiversity in agricultural production systems or in research and development chains as part of strategies to adapt to climate change. These activities are clustered, first, by sectors (crops/forages, livestock, fisheries, forestry, agroforestry and natural resources) and then by biodiversity levels (genetic/intra-species, species and ecosystems). The highest concentration of activities was found in the combined crops/forages sector and at the ecosystem level. The analysis highlights that agricultural biodiversity is not incorporated within and across the NAPAs in a comprehensive manner, demonstrating that there is not a commonly adopted approach to integrating agricultural biodiversity into strategic planning. In light of these findings, one of the paper’s conclusions is that country teams developing national adaptation plans (NAPs) in the future would benefit from the guidelines for integrating genetic diversity considerations into climate change adaptation planning being considered by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture during its fifteenth session in January 2015. Lessons learned from the NAPA development process are potentially valuable to countries that will be developing NAPs in the years to come.


Published 1 January 2015