Climate change adaptation policies to foster resilience in agriculture
National climate change adaptation programmes can strengthen agriculture’s resilience to adverse climatic events by investing in absorptive capacity to mitigate the impact of a shock in the short run, adaptive capacity to effect incremental changes in the medium run, and transformative capacity to create fundamentally new agricultural production systems in the long run. Using UNFCCC reporting documents, this analysis takes stock of agricultural climate change adaptation programmes in OECD countries and evaluates their contribution to developing resilience. Significant investments have been undertaken in the creation of decision support tools, the management of soil and water resources, and cultivar selection and breeding to address key agricultural vulnerabilities, namely drought, flooding and declining crop yields. Adaptation programmes developed to date most heavily emphasise adaptive capacity to address sustained and growing climate risks. Actions that contribute to transformative capacity are beginning to emerge, but lag behind medium-run measures.