Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action

This article is a contribution to a blog series on how Partners Agriculture and Food Security programs contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This week’s blog highlights what Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers have been doing to achieve SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The Dominican Republic currently has one of the highest amounts of available fresh water in Latin America, but global climate change has led to more frequent and severe droughts, floods and storms on the island. These non-typical climatic events have reduced both the quality and quantity of the country’s supply of fresh water for human consumption and agriculture.

By adapting agricultural practices to global climate change, Partners aims to create sustainable economic development that benefits producers and consumers as they become more resilient to a changing environment. As we approach the halfway point in our 2013-2018 F2F cycle, volunteers have already made huge progress in achieving SDG 13 in the DR, and we’re working on making it even bigger in the years to come. Check out how our volunteer assignments and hosts line up with some of the Goal 13 targets:

1. Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

For banana producers in the DR’s Yaque del Norte watershed, unpredictable weather patterns have become a significant challenge to maintaining production levels. Through coordination with local non-governmental organization Plan Yaque, F2F volunteers have assisted in training farmers and other key stakeholders on the use of climate-smart agricultural technologies, including mini-sprinkler irrigation systems, flood irrigation, soil sampling, and filler crops for erosion control. This helps protect crops in the event of drought or flood by managing water efficiently. To learn in detail about climate adaptation strategies in the Yaque del Norte watershed, read our feature on banana producers in the DR.

2. Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

One of the most useful tools for our F2F volunteers working in the field is capacity building through workshops. Rather than training one smallholder farmer at a time, workshops are able to reach a large audience in a short amount of time.  By first raising awareness among experts in the field, climate change education has a spreading effect as managers transfer knowledge to their workers, who transfer knowledge to their families, who can seek out resources for climate adaptation. Find out how F2F volunteer Gary Linn trained 456 participants in his climate change workshops last year in the DR.

3. Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

Students at Jarabacoa Environmental School
work in the greenhouse.
At the Jarabacoa National School of the Environmental and Natural Resources, student curriculum is designed around raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting conservation and sustainability. By assisting in curriculum development that inclues hands-on projects like planning a schoolyard habitat and rain garden, F2F volunteers transfer knowledge that will increase public interest in the environment. For volunteers Maria Moreno and Rick Hall, it only makes sense to educate the youngest generation on the impacts of climate change that will be most evident over the course of their lives.

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for more features on how Partners Agriculture and Food Security team is working to reach SDG targets in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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