Green Climate Fund approves major FAO climate change resilience project in Pakistan
The project is worth over $47 million and stands to directly benefit 1.3 million people
7 July 2019, Songdo, Republic of Korea - The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) today approved an FAO project designed to transform Pakistan’s Indus River
Basin by improving agriculture and water management to make this vital food-producing region more resilient to climate
The Green Climate Fund (GCF)
has provided FAO with a grant of nearly $35 million for this work, while the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh
have committed an additional $12.7 million in co-financing to be managed by FAO.
Welcoming the GCF’s decision, Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources said: “We
are at a critical moment that calls for bold climate action that can stimulate concrete solutions to help build
resilience. The approval of this project – the first FAO-led GCF project in Asia - is an important step forward in FAO’s
broader support to countries to respond to climate change, in partnership with the GCF.”
Climate change threatens a vital source of food security and livelihoods
In the Indus River Basin, agriculture employs nearly 26 percent of Pakistan’s labour force and produces more than 90
percent of the country’s agriculture outputs. However, extended droughts and floods have affected millions of people in
recent years. Such extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and severe in Pakistan as a result of
climate change. As temperatures continue to rise and precipitation patterns continue to change, water will become
increasingly scarce and difficult for farmers to utilize, jeopardizing the food security and livelihoods of Indus Basin
farmers, as well as overall food security in Pakistan.
“This new FAO project, thanks to support from the Green Climate Fund and the Government, will help shift Pakistan and
its Indus Basin agriculture from a current situation of high vulnerability toward an alternative paradigm wherein better
information, water management and farming practices will significantly increase resilience to climate change,” said Mina
Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan. “This is a major commitment and we look forward to working with government
and other partners for the direct benefit of some 1.3 million rural people and indirectly for millions more.”
A major undertaking that required a major commitment
The Indus Basin – home to more than 90 million rural inhabitants and the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system –
covers some 18 million hectares. Agriculture consumes roughly 90 percent of all available fresh water supplies in
Pakistan and in the context of changing climatic conditions, the nexus between water and agriculture is hugely important
for Pakistan as a country.
“The core of this project involves coordinated actions to pool data, information and knowledge, through the use of
technology and institutionalizing routine processes to disseminate this knowledge to agriculture and water management
authorities, extension workers and ultimately to farmers,” said Taka Hagiwara, Service Chief for Asia and the Pacific of
the FAO Investment Centre and the Project’s Technical Team Leader. “The knowledge, together with improved access to
credit, will enable farmers’ adoption of proven good practices such as Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) and On Farm
Water Management (OFWM),” he added.
In addition to working closely with provincial government agencies, the project will also work with partners and local
agricultural service providers (e.g. input providers, young agro-technicians) to understand, and respond to, the
changing market dynamics involved in the climate-resilient transformation of Indus Basin agriculture.
Major international financial institutions, including the World Bank and other partners, have already indicated a strong
interest to invest in project-supported systems and capacities in other districts and provinces once successfully
applied under this project.
The approval of this project – the first FAO-led GCF project in Asia – is an important step forward in FAO’s broader
support to countries to respond to climate change in partnership with the GCF. Two other FAO-led projects have already
been approved in Paraguay and El Salvador. FAO is also actively supporting countries to enhance their planning and
capacities for climate change-related investments as a Delivery Partner under the GCF Readiness and Preparatory Support
Programme. In the years to come, FAO expects to continue scaling up its support, and establish itself as a key GCF
partner strategically supporting the transformation of the agriculture sector.