The event, timed to coincide with the UN’s climate change conference (COP21), also featured IFAD’s Vice President, Michel Mordasini, who told government officials in attendance that “with a growing worldwide population and a warming climate, future food security is under threat.”
To underscore the point, Cracco told the audience about his travels to Morocco with IFAD earlier in the year where he saw first-hand the impact that drier conditions and reduced grass lands were having on sheep grazing. Travelling about 100 kilometres outside of the city of Oujda, Cracco visited an IFAD-supported project helping poor farmers adapt to climate change by replanting large areas with indigenous plants and drought resistant shrubs as well as building micro dams.
“Climate change is a fact,” said Cracco. “Perhaps we can slow it down, but we cannot stop it. We must help those people who work to recuperate the land so that there is a change in the way we fight the battle of climate change.”
Through IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) the specialized UN agency is helping farmers in developing countries on the frontline of climate change not only protect rural economies from climate impacts but also increase farmers’ productivity and incomes.
“The stakes have never been higher for smallholder farmers,” added Cracco. “Now is the time for action on climate change.”
In the run-up to COP21, IFAD launched a “Recipes for Change” on-line campaign urging negotiators to support country-level action to reduce smallholders climate vulnerability.
“We can make a difference here in Paris if we commit more climate finance to smallholder farmers to help them adapt through investments such as all-weather roads, flash flood early warning systems, and planting drought- and saline-tolerant seeds,” added Mordasini. “We must recognize the positive impact on food security that smallholder farmers have, and protect those on the front line of climate change.”
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$17 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 453 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.