Research Topic

The Governance and Politics of Climate-Smart Agriculture

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How can agriculture and food systems (AFS) be made climate compatible in the world’s poorest countries? The Sustainable Development Goals draw attention to the interdependence between food and agriculture and the climate system, reflected in increasingly powerful global discourses about the need for more ...

How can agriculture and food systems (AFS) be made climate compatible in the world’s poorest countries? The Sustainable Development Goals draw attention to the interdependence between food and agriculture and the climate system, reflected in increasingly powerful global discourses about the need for more ‘climate smart’ and ‘climate resilient’ agriculture. Beyond technical ‘fixes’, there are few clues as to how best to address the complex governance challenges inherent in the inter-sectoral focus which climate-resilient AFS require. Thus, solutions to AFS problems that are deemed to be ‘smarter’ and more resilient to climate change are increasingly being integrated into national policy frameworks, strategies and programmes in many countries. Whereas there is often little dispute over the importance of the core aims behind these efforts – typically centered on enhancing food security, adaptation, and mitigation – they are often framed in different ways by public and private actors, leading to patchy implementation and differential outcomes. Beyond assessments of their technical and production-oriented performance, however, little is known about the governance and political economy challenges these initiatives present for implementing agencies or for poor and marginal people and their agriculture-based and climate-sensitive livelihoods. This Research Topic seeks to address these critical research gaps by focusing on key governance and political economy issues associated with these agendas and the implications they raise for who ‘wins’ and who ‘loses’ from these processes. Authors are encouraged to examine the incentives for state and market actors to support more climate resilient policies and investments that promote more sustainable and pro-poor outcomes. Papers addressing the politics of national and subnational processes are particularly welcome, as are those focusing on cross-scale dynamics on how climate smart food and agriculture goals are negotiated.


Keywords: Climate-smart agriculture, climate change, political economy, policy processes, resilience


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