Using game and participatory modelling approaches to guide and test policiesSouth Africa, Mozambique, the Niger basin, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tunisia


A key challenge in the linking of science and policy on climate-smart agriculture is allowing policy makers to interact directly with analytical and conceptual representations of human and natural systems in the context of climate change. Participatory modelling approaches offer accessible avenues for such direct interactions.

However, game design ’from scratch’ is a long process, and therefore, methodological toolkits exist to help develop customized games quickly. Examples include the Wat-A-Game (WAG) toolkit which focuses on water management; a policy game as part of the Scenario Exploration System (SES), designed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC); and policy games designed by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Relationship to CSA

Policy games have been used in various CSA-relevant processes. For instance, the WAG toolkit allows for the easy construction of water management situations, including climate-induced variability in water availability. It can be used for the exploration or testing of policy, and can be applied across different governance levels. WAG was used in South Africa, Mozambique, the Niger basin, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tunisia. Of particular interest is the possibility of constructing a game with local participants (e.g. vulnerable farmer communities) and then having policy makers play this game with them, taking on the roles/identities of the farmers. The JRC SES game has been used to explore policy options around food and nutrition futures. The Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Change Centre has also trialed a series of climate change games, some of which, such as ’Invest in the Future’, focus on policy and long-term planning as well.

Impacts and lessons learned
  • Wat-A-Game has been used with policy makers in a number of case studies to experiment with the consequences of policies for farmers’ water management and so understand policy alternatives.
  • JRC has used their SESS game with the European Commission’s DG Santé, who reported that valuable and implementable policy insights were achieved through the game.
  • Lessons reported from the use of climate change games by the Red Cross/Red Crescent include that games have been used for speeding up, consolidating and innovate policy formulation.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

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