Climate-smart agriculture benefits marine ecosystems and coastal communities

By agency reporter
November 10, 2017

Coastal communities and marine ecosystems can benefit from climate-smart agriculture practices, according to the findings of a new report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The Marine Advantage – Empowering coastal communities, safeguarding marine ecosystems, a study of IFAD’s experience in improving the lives of coastal communities, shows that climate-smart agriculture can also have knock-on benefits for marine ecosystems. Sustainable development in the agriculture sector, including aquaculture, can reduce human pressures on marine ecosystems, which are vulnerable to overfishing, ocean acidification and coral bleaching.

“Agriculture in all its forms is central to inclusive and sustainable development and can contribute to national climate commitments,” said IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo. “However, without appropriate measures, it can also damage marine ecosystems and fall short of its potential in terms of the climate." 

"IFAD is uniquely placed to empower coastal communities, including Small Island Developing States, in a way that contributes to eradicating hunger and poverty while protecting life below water.”

The research shows that as well as measures that directly tackle problems facing marine ecosystems, such as clearing up litter and mangrove restoration, more environmentally friendly agriculture on land can also reduce chemical run-off and pollution that otherwise seeps into coastal waters and therefore damages coral reefs and ultimately the fisheries and tourism potential of coastal communities.

“IFAD is determined to maximize the marine co-benefits of promoting diversified, climate-smart on-land agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries development," said Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD's Environment and Climate Division.

The report includes examples of where IFAD is protecting coastal communities from dwindling fish catches (Djibouti), improving policy and planning frameworks in a Small Island Developing State (Comoros), and helping small island coastal communities to seize precious opportunities for better livelihoods as well as contribute to carbon sequestration through seaweed harvesting (West Papua).

As well as benefits to coastal communities, the report also presents how investments are making a difference in improving the marine ecosystem surrounding them.

“IFAD’s work contributes to five of the specific targets for Sustainable Development Goal 14 relating to life under water,” added Astralaga. “IFAD stands ready to play its part in delivering on the call for action at the Ocean Conference in New York earlier this year.

* Read Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action here

* Read The Marine Advantage – Empowering coastal communities, safeguarding marine ecosystems here

* IFAD https://www.ifad.org/home

[Ekk/4]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.