Ban Ki Moon Teams up With Global Citizen to Advocate for Climate Resilience in Agriculture

Jun 22, 2021 9:35 AM ET

Global Citizens around the world are taking action, so why should they care about this partnership? This initiative seeks to bring attention to the role smallholder farmers play in the fight against climate change and food insecurity, and the financial need to support their adaptation. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.


Climate change is already transforming humanity’s relationship with nature, and nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the field of agriculture. Farmers worldwide are contending with rising temperatures, proliferating pests, and increasing droughts and floods that require new approaches to crops that have been grown for generations. It’s a dynamic that leaves farmers exposed to financial ruin and diminishing yields, a prospect that threatens global food security at a time when the global population and its demand for calories continues to grow.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted farmers, often cutting them off from laborers, markets, and government assistance. “Building back better” from the pandemic requires bold climate action that prioritizes smallholder farmers who are struggling to overcome structural and environmental forces outside of their control.

The Elevating Agricultural Adaptation (EAA), through a partnership between the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens and Global Citizens, is a program designed to advocate for climate resilience of smallholder farmers by championing them and calling on world leaders to strengthen food security. "2021 is the year we recover back better and call for increased political commitments,” said Ban Ki-moon, co-founder of the organization and 8th secretary-general of the United Nations. “Partnering with Global Citizen on adaptation, the Ban Ki-moon Centre will join the collective effort to address climate change, focusing on building the climate resilience of smallholder farmers around the world."

This partnership will seek to increase development aid for climate adaptation in agriculture in low-income countries, particularly Africa. As well as seeking understanding of the challenges facing smallholder farmers, the complex dynamics of climate change, and how demand-driven research, such as those championed by CGIAR, accelerates climate adaptation on the ground.

While countries have shifted toward a form of industrial agriculture in recent decades that features massive plots of land and heavy use of chemicals, there are still roughly 570 million smallholder farms worldwide who manage land less than two acres in size. These farms support communities through food production, jobs, and the maintenance of traditional practices.

But climate change primarily threatens smallholder farmers who do not always have the resources to adapt to emerging disruptions. Farmers often have to sell or leave their land when faced with rising temperatures, droughts, and other environmental changes. The absorption of small farms into industrial farms, meanwhile, often further contributes to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

Through the partnership, Global Citizen and the Ban Ki-moon Centre will highlight the lived experiences of female farmers on the front lines of food production; break down how adequately funded research and innovation can transform agriculture; explore how young people are reshaping agriculture and unlocking new opportunities; explain how agricultural adaptation can actually mitigate climate change; and look at how farming communities can improve rural development more broadly. Through written content, video, and social media, the EAA Program will shed light on the people who are crucial to the future survival of humanity: farmers.

Whether or not countries can navigate the disruptions of the worsening climate crisis depends in part on how well smallholder farmers can adapt. Farmers require stable weather conditions and steady supplies of water, both of which are becoming increasingly precarious as temperatures rise.

If the people who tilled the land were prioritized in global decision-making processes, then fossil fuels would be phased out more rapidly and inequality eradicated sooner. After all, less greenhouse emissions means less climate change and more favorable conditions for growing food.