What’s Missing from the World Bank’s Zambia Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan?

The World Bank’s Zambia Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plan (CSAIP) can be an important tool to help the country lower greenhouse gas emissions while boosting productivity and enhancing climate resilience. BIC’s review of the CSAIP finds it identified effective pathways to implement climate smart agriculture, but the plan needs to clarify the Bank’s coordination with other donors, integrate forests in landscape management, and strengthen inclusive elements, such as women’s access to assets and services.

The World Bank is developing at least 10 country specific “Climate Smart Agriculture Investment Plans” (CSAIPs) to support strategies that uphold the three pillars of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA): increased productivity, climate resilience, and reduced emissions. Agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for many of the Bank’s clients and addressing these emissions is key to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC. As the Bank aims to support a green recovery, CSAIPs have the potential to help strengthen economies while addressing the climate crisis.

 BIC evaluated the Zambia CSAIP, the first one to be released (March 2019), to examine the extent to which the plan addresses the three pillars of increased productivity, resilience, and GHG mitigation in an inclusive and sustainable manner. Our evaluation found the three pillars are well integrated, offers a comprehensive analysis of the constraints inhibiting adoption of CSA, and how to best overcome them.

 However, we believe the plan needs further elaboration on sources for investment, coordination between the Bank and other donors, better integration of forest-smart policies, and dedicated financing to support women’s access to assets and services.  To guide implementation of the Zambia CSA IP and improve future CSAIPs the Bank produces, we offer seven key recommendations:  

  1. Integrate forest-smart policies more robustly into CSA investment plans.
  2. Clarify the integration of World Bank efforts with other donors.
  3. Develop and apply community-based land use monitoring technologies.
  4. Identify linkages between community-level capacity building and the implementing agency/ministry.
  5. Provide a separate section on financing for programs supporting gender-sensitive supply chains.
  6. Expand the scope of community buy-in to include marginalized rural and forest populations.
  7. Define and implement programs addressing smallholder farmers’ and local communities’ needs.

 Overall, the biggest concern we have about this CSAIP, and the CSAIP series, is the need for greater integration: among donors, sectors, and (most of all) communities. Donor and government efforts must be integrated to be effective   Similarly, for agriculture to be truly climate smart, it needs to be integrated with all aspects of land use and rural development.

Among these, the integration of forests into landscape management stands out as critical, and strikes us as the biggest missed opportunity in this CSAIP, since Zambia has a strong foundation for forest planning and action-- the BioCarbon Fund’s $37 million Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Program (2017). Future CSA investments should also take into account the December 2019 WB Country Forest Note for Zambia and BIC’s Zambia CFN review.

Finally, for this plan to succeed, the integration of communities, including marginalized groups such as rural women, is the ultimate foundation for CSA to be sustainable.     

For a more in-depth review of the Zambia CSAIP, read the full evaluation here.  

A final note: The seven CSAIPs released to date are all for countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Given climate impacts of and on agriculture elsewhere, BIC hopes the Bank will expand coverage to other regions where agriculture has a large footprint, including South America and Southeast Asia.