Climate change threatens rice productivity in the Asia and the Pacific region

Strengthen capacity in identifying viable options for mitigation and adaptation in rice landscapes is essential

To investigate these issues in more detail, the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAORAP) in collaboration with Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (JGSEE/KMUTT), the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), Action on Emission of GHGs for Integrated Sustainability (AEGIS) and Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)  and the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is organizing a regional workshop on “Rice Landscapes and Climate Change: Options for GHG emissions reduction from rice agroecosystems and climate-smart rice cultivation technologies in Asia” in Bangkok, Thailand in October 2018.

 

The purpose of this workshop is to strengthen capacity of countries in Asia (in particular countries in Southeast Asia) to identify viable options for mitigation and adaptation in rice landscapes (primarily paddy, but also upland systems) and develop strategies to scale-up climate-smart rice cultivation technologies in support of national NDC goals and targets under the Paris Agreement.

 

Through knowledge and information exchanges, experience sharing and establishing communication between participating countries and supporting technical and development organizations, this workshop is expected to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Enhanced understanding of the current available technologies to reduce emissions and enhance resilience in rice landscapes and the important role that they could play in achieving the climate change mitigation and adaptation priorities highlighted in the NDCs of Asian countries

  • Identification of current needs and gaps in knowledge to strengthen research initiatives on climate smart rice cultivation technologies for future policy and implementation at national and regional levels to improve the resilience and productivity of rice production systems and landscapes while reducing emissions

The agriculture sector is facing the dual challenge of increasing food production to meet increasing demands, while trying to adapt to the changing climate. Rapidly fluctuating global temperatures, uncertainties in precipitation patterns, and increasing intensities and frequencies of natural disasters are acting as major threats that are likely to hamper productivity and yield of major crops in varying degrees. Agriculture is also a key source and sink of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

In Asia, rice is a defining element of the region’s agroecosystem systems and a crucial staple food and cash crop. Climate change presents a number of specific challenges for rice. Under projected climate change, it is likely that rice yields will suffer considerably and necessitating the early identification and scaling-up of adaptation options. Rice fields are also a major source of methane emissions. A range of approaches and technologies have been developed to help to reduce emissions from rice fields, while also maintaining agricultural productivity and reducing negative impacts on rice agroecosystems and food security. Gaps in capacities, particularly access to scientific knowledge and data for accurate estimation of GHG emissions and sequestration, in rice paddy fields are a key barrier to the scale up of climate-smart rice cultivation approaches and technologies.

 

In acknowledgement of the challenges and opportunities that tackling climate change presents for the agriculture sectors, agriculture and land-use sectors, comprising crops, livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry, feature prominently in country commitments from Asia under the Paris Agreement. Many countries in the region have specifically highlighted adaptation and mitigation measures in rice landscapes as priority actions for investment and scaling-up.

  • Elaboration of a strategy to advance a program of work on to scale-up climate-smart rice cultivation technologies in support of national goals and targets under the Paris Agreement and related multi-lateral environmental agreements

The workshop will have the following output(s):

  • A report and brief summary of the key messages and findings of the event.

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