ASEAN green recovery through equity and empowerment (AGREE)
With roughly 55 million smallholder farms in the Southeast Asian region, the agriculture sector has immense potential to reduce poverty, tackle gender inequalities and meet the climate challenge. The region hosts 15% of the world’s tropical forests and yet is a deforestation hotspot, mostly due to plantations. In addition, up to 23% of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry and land use. Nevertheless, there is immense potential for land and forests to be preserved and to serve as carbon sinks if appropriate action is taken.
In response to the urgent climate crisis and the challenges that the pandemic has created, including in agricultural supply chains, and for the many women and enterprises working within them, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has adopted the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and Implementation Plan, which sets out the intention to promote decent rural livelihoods and green jobs. While promoting inclusion, the plan does not adequately reflect the needs and experiences of women farmers, their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change or their capacity to lead the transition to climate-smart, low-carbon agricultural production.
This project will impact a wide range of value-chain actors and demonstrate how the recovery implementation plan can be gender- and climate-responsive. To gain buy-in and action from the private sector, researchers will generate evidence and test solutions in partnership with enterprises to create the business case for advancing women’s economic empowerment and climate-smart agriculture in select agricultural value chains. It will also inform policymakers on the ‘how’ of transitioning to inclusive and low-carbon economies, including through incentives and public procurement, diverse financing schemes and policies that will align with nationally determined contributions for the reduction of greenhouse gases under the Paris Agreement.
Finally, women farmers and cooperatives will gain knowledge and skills in enterprise growth, market access, conservation and climate-smart practices. Public, private and civil society actors will be trained in integrating gender and climate considerations into recovery plans and recognizing women as agents in responding to the climate crisis.