Policy Brief: Improving sub-national capacity to adapt to climate change in agriculture

Policy Brief / Strategy Brief

Policy Brief: Improving sub-national capacity to adapt to climate change in agriculture

AUTHORS: Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) under Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN)


June 2013
Climate change planning capacities and processes vary among the various Southeast Asian countries. But common is the difficulty faced in mobilising local action.
In Cambodia, the need for policy that supports climate change adaptation (CCA) mainstreaming into national policies, planning and budgetary processes has affected mainstreaming efforts at sub-national levels (AKP 2010a).
In Vietnam, provinces without CC projects are not aware of the issue and have not yet taken any action (AKP 2010b).
On the other hand, the Philippines has been responsive in terms of policy. Its Republic Act 9729, approved in 2009, mainstreamed CC into government policy formulations, established the Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change, and created its Climate Change Commission. The year before, a memorandum circular was issued encouraging all executive councils at the provincial and municipal levels to implement CCA and disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures. Despite this policy support, local government units (LGUs) have a hard time accessing funds and operationalising CCA in development planning (AKP 2012).
Mobilising local CC response is crucial, especially for agriculture since the factors that influence vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate risks are highly site and context-specific. Climate proofing agricultural productivity is essential for Southeast Asia, whose economy is largely agriculture-based. A sizeable portion of the region’s agricultural activity is carried out on small and marginal farms by smallholder and subsistence farmers, who are among those who will suffer the most from CC impacts (Easterling et al. 2007). Clearly, CC presents an additional layer of threat to regional food security if productivity improvements and adaptations are not applied (ADB 2009).
This Policy Brief describes the European Union’s Focused Food Production Assistance to Vulnerable Sectors (EUFPAVAS) adaptation mainstreaming process which includes 3 phrases as following.
  • Phase I: Vulnerability and adaptation assessment through wide stakeholder engagement
  • Phase II: Mentoring LGU representatives on how to operationalise CCA in their development planning processes
  • Phase III: Pilot testing of priority activities

Furthermore, it provides practical advice in mainstreaming at the sub-national level based on the lessons learned by the SEARCA-based FPAVAS Central Project Management Unit (CPMU) and the provincial DRR/CCA TWG representatives. Below are their advices to governments who wish to improve sub-national capacity in dealing with CC uncertainty.

  • National governments should provide timely detailed directives that enable immediate local response.
  • Government initiatives should use participatory social preparation in educating farmers about climate change.
  • Government mainstreaming efforts should also prioritise local pilot testing of adaptation options.
  • National governments should provide timely technical assistance that enables the creation of science-based sub-national plans.
  • Governments can ensure the sustainability of local efforts through planning and continuous monitoring.
  • National governments should continuously encourage sub-national political commitment to CCA mainstreaming.