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Irina Arakelyan, Anita Wreford and Dominic Moran

Agriculture is highly exposed to climate change, and much of the international climate discourse has focused on the sector’s vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity for given projected climate scenarios. The sector also has a recognized role in terms of climate change mitigation. The agricultural sector accounts for approximately a third of total global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from land use change and deforestation. These climate challenges overlap a growing concern about global food security, which highlights additional stressors including demographic changes, natural resource scarcity, and economic convergence in consumption preferences, particularly livestock products. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that, to meet the demands of a larger population (expected to cross 9 billion by 2050), food supply will need to grow by 60 per cent. The term ‘climate smart agriculture’ (CSA) has been coined to describe practices, systems and institutional arrangements that balance the trade-offs inherent in meeting these objectives. Climate smart agriculture has become a focus of research in developed and developing countries. In this chapter, the authors provide a critical appraisal of the concept of CSA and then review the experiences in implementing CSA in a cross-section of countries in Africa. The chapter discusses the policies and institutional support needed to achieve climate smart agriculture, as well as highlights some of the concerns regarding CSA, especially its sustainability and distributional consequences.