Appropriateness of applying a climate-smart agriculture approach in Northwest Syria

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. Not only is it an environmental and ecological concern affecting all natural systems, but it also has important implications for the global development agenda. Addressing climate change and transforming agri-food systems are key to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With nearly 690 million people around the world facing hunger today (FAO et al., 2020), agri-food systems emitting one third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions (Crippa et al., 2021) and a growing public demand for climate action, it is pressing to achieve food security while adapting to, and mitigating, climate change. This research will focus on Syria due to several reasons; first, recent studies of the Syrian uprising have shown that growing water scarcity and frequent droughts, coupled with poor water management, led to multiyear crop failures, economic deterioration, and consequently mass migration of rural families to urban areas (Gleick, 2014; Kelley et al., 2015 as cited in Daoudy, 2020). Rapid growing population, overcrowding, unemployment and increased inequality put pressure on urban centres and finally contributed to the breakout of political unrest. Secondly, most northern Syrian citizens depend on agriculture for their livelihood and currently 12.4 million (60 percent of the population) are facing acute food insecurity in 2021 (FAO, 2021). Furthermore, the recent significant decline in food production, especially the strategic wheat crop, because of climate change (IMMAP Report – April 2022). Thirdly, some of the most important impacts of global climate change will be felt among the populations, predominantly in developing countries, referred to as ‘‘subsistence’’ or ‘‘smallholder’’ farmers. Their vulnerability to climate change comes due to belonging from various socioeconomic, demographic, and policy trends limiting their capacity to adapt to change as well as smallholder agriculture in Syria usually includes women as a major source of employment.  Enhancing resilience of rural communities in NWS to climate change requires a clear understanding of micro-level perceptions and adaptation issues and their integration with the rural developmental framework. The purpose of this study is to identify smallholder’s farmers’ perception of climate change and assess climate change environmental, economic, and social impact, assess the status of policies, programs, and strategies to adapt small farm holders to climate change in NWS, and collect smallholders’ farmers adaptation/mitigation strategies against the negative impact of climate variability in NWS. The proposed project will obtain and publish the first assessment of climate change environmental, economic, and social impact in NWS. As well as develop farmer’s adaptation strategies against the negative impact of climate variability in North-west Syria, and in doing so will provide an important knowledgebase for researchers and practitioners working on the mitigation the impact of climate change through the possibility of applying the climate-smart agriculture approach.

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