A Blueprint for Digital Climate-Informed Advisory Services: Building the Resilience of 300 Million Small-Scale Producers by 2030
This paper discusses the role of digital climate-informed advisory services in building the resilience of small-holder producers by 2030. It puts forth key principles for good practice, an estimation of the needed investment for scaling services and preliminary ideas for targeting these investments for reaching the most vulnerable and marginalized.
In 2019, nearly 750 million people faced food insecurity, with that number expected to increase in the coming years. Climate change could significantly depress global crop yields, but adaptation efforts could help decrease this risk. The Blueprint for Digital Climate-Informed Advisory Services lays the conceptual foundation for building the climate resilience of at least 300 million small-scale agricultural producers by 2030.
Digital climate-informed advisory services (DCAS) are tools and platforms that integrate climate information into agricultural decision-making. These services include digital mobile apps, radio and online platforms, as well as to digitally enabled printed bulletins based on climate models and extension services that use climate information platforms. DCAS can help agricultural producers and other value chain actors build resilience to climate impacts that threaten present and future agri-food systems. Scaling up efforts, while leaving no one behind, is critical to safeguarding the millions of small-scale producers vital to our global food security. This working paper outlines key principles for good practice, explores how to build the resilience of at least 300 million small-holder producers by 2030 and provides a preliminary typology of how to target investments so they reach the most vulnerable and under-resourced. Additionally, it puts forward potential next steps to accelerate growth in this community of practice and increase meaningful investment in these services.
The blueprint was created by more than 150 stakeholders organized into three working groups on data quality and governance, equity and co-creation, and financially sustainable business models. These working groups were led by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, the World Food Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, respectively. In addition to working group reports, the blueprint was developed based on an extensive literature review and expert consultations undertaken by the World Resources Institute and the Global Center on Adaptation.
- About $7 billion — funded through combination of donor, private and government investment — is needed between 2021 and 2030 to effectively build the resilience of 300 million agricultural producers through DCAS.
- Evidence shows that DCAS investments average a 1-to-24 return and can drive GDP growth. Producers may see average productivity gains of 30% and income gains of 25%, depending on the product and geography.
- To improve DCAS, the six core principles of data quality, equity, co-creation, accountability, financial sustainability and scalability should guide investment and service provision. Effectively integrating these principles into DCAS will require a more robust knowledge base, as well as improved guidelines and standards.
- Investments in DCAS will need to be strategically targeted, embrace diverse business models and adjust to local contexts. Countries vary greatly in their digital readiness and climate vulnerability. The existing digital and agricultural research ecosystem will determine what will be the best sustainable business model for implementing DCAS, and vulnerability will dictate the level of urgency and influence prioritization.
About This Working Paper
The Global Commission on Adaptation was established in 2018 to advance resilience in the face of intensifying climate change by making adaptation central to the global agenda and inspiring and leading ambitious action. Consisting of 35 commissioners and convened by 23 countries, the Commission put forward a goal to build the resilience of 300 million small-scale agricultural producers to climate change by 2030. DCAS offer a great opportunity to realize that objective. This paper lays the conceptual foundation for building the climate resilience of at least 300 million small-scale agricultural producers by 2030.
The contents of this blueprint were co-created by more than 150 stakeholders organized into three working groups on data quality and governance, equity and financially sustainable business models. These working groups were led by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, the World Food Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, respectively. In addition to working group reports, this blueprint was developed based on an extensive literature review and expert consultations undertaken by World Resources Institute and the Global Center on Adaptation.
Global Commission on AdaptationLaunch PlatformLaunch Platform Visit Project
The Global Commission on Adaptation, which was co-managed by WRI, elevated the political visibility of climate adaptation and catalyzed major actions and commitments.Part of Climate Resilience
Climate Resilient and Transformative Adaptation for AgricultureVisit Project
WRI aims to help small-scale agricultural producers in low- and middle-income countries build resilience to climate change through research, analysis, advocacy and stakeholder engagement.Part of Climate Resilience