Central and South America Adaptation Planning – A Workshop Summary

Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Agriculture: analyzing challenges and opportunities in Central and South America

By Daniela Medina, Roberto Valdivia, and Kelly Witkowski


Summary: During the last week of May, 2017 two workshops were co-hosted in partnership between the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP). These workshops focused on strengthening the capacity of Latin American countries to plan, implement, and monitor policies and sectorial programs aimed to increase farming systems’ resilience to climate change. Participants identified the following priorities for the forward-looking collaboration: strengthening institutional capacities, making regular updates and improvements in adaptation plans, developing and implementing monitoring and evaluation systems, and improving decision-making tools. Workshop outcomes included a clear recognition and need for IICA and AgMIP to establish a strategic alliance to help countries incorporate modeling tools into adaptation plans. This alliance will help provide countries with strong modeling and integrative assessments of agricultural systems and the climate change impacts they will experience (AgMIP), and assistance in utilizing scientific research outputs to inform effective public policy (IICA).

SanJoseGroupwebParticipants from the Central America Workshop, held in San José, Costa Rica
As countries work to design their national commitments for adapting to and mitigating climate change, it has become increasingly important for decision makers to have access to robust scientific information. As they examine the many possible low-emission and adaptation paths available, it is vital that the policy makers and other actors be able to understand the potential tradeoffs and synergies between different measures, as well as their impact on adaptation, mitigation, and productivity. This information, however, is currently unavailable in many regions of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

IICA and AgMIP recently co-hosted two workshops with particular focus to improve information for planning and decision making in Central and South America. Thanks to additional support also from a number of organizations, the participants were able to advance collaboration and communication between countries in an effort that will strengthen regional progress as a whole.

The workshops, held in San José, Costa Rica on May 23-25th, and in Lima, Peru May 31st – June 1st, 2017, encouraged a significant amount of information to be shared. This enabled an in-depth, participatory analysis of the processes that have supported the development and implementation of adaptation strategies in the agricultural sector. The need for more robust information, more emphasis on incorporating and utilizing scientific findings in public policy planning, was clearly demonstrated, as was the need for indicators to monitor and evaluate investment in adaptation.

One of the key outcomes was an identified need for IICA and AgMIP to work together to help countries incorporate information produced by modelling tools into their adaptation planning processes. While AgMIP provides state of the art modelling capabilities and integrative assessments in agricultural systems, IICA contributes to link outputs of scientific research into public policy. This strategic alliance could enhance capacities for countries to design and implement science-based Nationally Determined Contributions and Sectoral Adaptation Plans. Among the concrete areas of opportunity in which AgMIP and IICA intend to capitalize are:

  • Training and capacity building opportunities in the use of modelling tools for public institutions of the agricultural sector.
  • Development of project proposals to leverage funds that allow for the design and implementation of comprehensive assessments to inform decision-making processes.
  • Implement regional assessments to improve the understanding of potential climate change impacts in agricultural systems.
  • Contribute to organizing and/or sponsoring AgMIP Global Workshops
  • IICA and AgMIP look forward to continued collaborations in the near future.

    For a more detailed report, please see below. A publication detailing the national level processes being undertaken, along with additional conclusions from the workshop, will be released soon.

    What is IICA?

    The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) is the institution of the Inter-American System that provides technical cooperation, innovation and specialized knowledge for competitive and sustainable development of agriculture and improvement of the quality of life of rural inhabitants in Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC). Within the climate change and resilience aspects, IICA’s goal is to develop capacities and facilitate processes for integrating adaptation to climate change within the planning instruments of the agricultural sector in LAC. Working hand in hand with the ministries of agriculture and other partners, IICA proposes to develop an initiative that will catalyze advances in public policy in the region, in support of a sustainable and climate-resilient Agriculture.

    What is AgMIP?

    The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) is a major international collaborative effort motivated to significantly improve capabilities for assessing impacts of climate variability and change and other driving forces on agriculture, food security, and poverty, coordinating assessments from global, regional, national and local scales. AgMIP researchers and stakeholders together identify scenarios, adaptations and policies to test against decision goals using linked climate, crop, livestock, and trade-off economic models. The co-production of this information supports improved planning and decisions for communities, national ministries and international organizations. AgMIP is also improving scientific and adaptive capacity to simulate the world’s major agricultural systems. The harmonized approach for data and models provides new understanding from current technologies while motivating the next generation of tools, models, data, and scientists to enable improved outcomes in future agricultural systems.

    More information on the workshops:

    With the Paris Agreement that sets out a global action plan to limit global warming to well below 2oC, many countries are looking at how to implement and meet their commitments defined in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Several countries are also choosing to advance their National Adaptation Plans (NAP) to increase resilience to climate change impacts by integrating adaptation strategies in all climate change relevant plans and policies. Doing this effectively requires the assessment of climate change vulnerabilities and impacts as well as likely impacts of proposed adaptations to inform decision makers to set priorities and actions.

    Although these initiatives are encouraging, the use of robust scientific information for the development of national plans or strategies, especially to understand the tradeoffs and synergies between adaptation, mitigation, and productivity and their likely impacts on household livelihoods has been limited and must be strengthened. Many of the actions already underway respond to current climatic variability and the implemented adjustments tend to be incremental. The decision-making and planning of adaptation and mitigation strategies focused on the medium and long terms, requires a science-based approach to identify and prioritize these strategies and assess their potential impacts in key development indicators, combined with adequate consultation with stakeholders to ensure socio-cultural acceptance of the prioritized measures. Currently, there is a lack of capacity to generate information systems to develop and implement modeling tools and data to support decision-making and inform climate change plans in the region. There is also a need to strengthen coordination between different units within the ministries of agriculture, as well as between the agriculture and environment sectors.


    LimaGroupParticipants from the South America Workshop, held in Lima, Peru
    The workshops were designed to achieve the following specific objectives:
  • Develop a participatory regional analysis on good practices and learned lessons about the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of climate change sectorial adaptation plans in LAC and their linkages to global agreements and other planning tools.
  • Exchange methodologies to design, implement, monitor and evaluate sectorial adaptation plans.
  • Identify key challenges and priorities for capacity building to manage the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of climate change and agricultural planning instruments and public policies.
  • Key Findings/ Results:
    The workshops allowed for an in depth analysis of the processes supporting the development and implementation of adaptation strategies in the agricultural sector. Some of the key findings are:

  • A large number of sectoral adaptation plans include strategic objectives focused on strengthening the capacities of institutions to understand the implications of climate change on agriculture and the implementation of response strategies. Institutions must be able to ensure that the long-term strategic vision persists beyond short-term political cycles and gradually generates the knowledge and information bases necessary to design transformational adaptation measures.
  • Most of the adaptation plans were developed without sufficient scientific basis to define transformational adaptation actions and without clear indicators on the potential contribution of suggested adaptation measures to the achievement of development goals such as poverty reduction, increased food security or sustainable intensification of production.
  • The linkage of sectoral plans with international commitments such as the NDCs are more relevant in countries where the sector forms part of multi-sectoral commissions on the issue and where the NDC formulation process was sufficiently inclusive to take into account the priorities and capacities of the sector to contribute to adaptation and mitigation targets.
  • For most countries, it remains a challenge to channel adequate public, private and international financial resources to support the design and implementation of the adaptation plans. This can be addressed by increasing the capacity of the sector to understand and access international climate funds. Planning, from a strategic point of view, should lay the foundations for efficient resource management and allow for the priorization of investments targeted at increasing the capacity of the sector to cope with climate change. Adaptation plans should be supported by solid science-based analysis, including economic assessments that enable comparison of investments in adaptation with the costs associated with not taking action. Filling this gap will facilitate the implementation stage of the plans.
  • One of the most emphasized points in the analysis processes was the need for indicators and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems that allow countries to measure the impact of investments in adaptation. In this regard, virtually all countries have incipient experiences. Current M&E systems are limited to to measure advances in the execution of planned activities and budget execution, but not the actual impact of prioritized adaptation measures.
  • Acknowledgements:The workshops were generously supported by the USDA, GIZ, the EUROCLIMA-IICA Project, and IICA’s Flagship Project on Resilience and Integrated Risk Management in Agriculture. Technical support for the Central American workshop was provided by IISD.


    Central America Workshop
    May 23-25, 2017
    San José, Costa Rica
    Name Country Organization
    Angélica Ospina Canada International Institute for Sustainable Development
    Iván Delgado Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy
    Roberto Flores Costa Rica Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
    Guillermo Gonzáles Costa Rica Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
    Daniela Medina Costa Rica IICA Headquarters
    Ronny Cascante Costa Rica IICA-EUROCLIMA
    Erin Raser Costa Rica IICA Headquarters
    Roberto Valdivia United States Oregon State University/ AgMIP
    Kelly Witkowski United States IICA office in Washington
    Edwin Rojas Guatemala Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food
    Carlos Vinicio Godínez Guatemala Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
    Raúl Castañeda Guatemala Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
    Paola Martínez Honduras Agriculture and Livestock Secretariat
    Claudia Barahona Honduras Secretariat of General Coordination of Government
    José Eduardo Escobar García Nicaragua Nigaraguan Institute of Agrocultural Technology
    Omar Augusto Aguilar Maradiaga Nicaragua Ministry of Agriculture
    Liliana Díaz Nicaragua Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources
    Yaneth Sierra Corre Panama Ministry of Agricultural Development
    Judith Vargas Panama Ministry of Agricultural Development
    Carmen Sousa Panama Ministry of Agricultural Development

    South America Workshop
    May 31- June 1, 2017
    Lima, Peru
    Name Country Organization
    Sofía del Castillo Argentina Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
    Sandra Occhiuzzi Argentina Ministry of Agro-industry
    Julieta Battistuzzi Argentina Ministry of Agro-industry
    Jacqueline Espinoza Chile Ministry of Agriculture
    Juan Arias Chile Agriculture and Livestock Service
    Florence Pelissou Chile Foundation for the Agricultural Innovation
    Andrea Borda Colombia IICA Office in Colombia
    Isabel Cárdenas Colombia Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
    Ximena Castro Colombia Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
    Cesar Cortez Colombia Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
    Edgar Mayereger Paraguay Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
    Liliana Miranda Paraguay Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
    Ylsa Avalos Paraguay Environment Secretariat
    Darío Fuletti Uruguay Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
    Mariela Buonomo Uruguay Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
    Mónica Gómez Uruguay Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment
    Cecilia Jones Uruguay FAO
    Kelly Witkowski United States IICA Office in Washington
    Daniela Medina Costa Rica IICA Headquarters
    Ronny Cascante Costa Rica IICA Headquarters
    Roberto Valdivia United States Oregon State University/AgMIP
    Marie Philine Oft Perú GIZ
    Giovanna Egas Perú Ministry of Environment
    Lorena Monsalve Perú Ministry of Environment
    Gaby Rivera Perú IICA Office in Peru
    Edith Rojas Perú Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation