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What's in a NAMA?

Greenhouse gas mitigation in developing country agriculture


75% of the world's poor live rurally, and agriculture remains the largest contributor to their livelihoods. Furthermore, approximately 70% of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture  globally derive from developing country production. This coincidence suggests that agricultural mitigation offers the potential basis for climate compatible development. But certain institutional barriers need to be overcome to unlock this mitigation potential. Specifically, the design of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) is a necessary condition for including the land based sector in negotiations under the United Nations Framework for Climate Change (UNFCCC). This project aims to explore the institutional dimensions of NAMA development with case studies in Malawi.

Key Challenges

Developing countries are not committed to making any binding emissions reductions under UNFCCC. But they are encouraged to explore ‘appropriate’ options and there is potential for their reductions to play a role in international efforts and for these countries to be compensated for these efforts. Existing research suggests effective and economically efficient mitigation measures are available in these countries and in agriculture in particular. In identifying these potential reductions, policy makers face two challenges: (i) to identify cost effective climate compatible agricultural options that also support achievement of other key policy goals (e.g. food security); and (ii) to identify modalities for accessing support through emerging international opportunities, such as provisions for support to NAMAs.

"SRUC researchers develop greenhouse gas mitigation measures in developing country agricultural systems."

Key Benefits

This project will demonstrate methods for investigating the scope of NAMAs in the sector (i.e. identifying climate compatible practices and their synergies and trade-offs with other policy goals) and identify pathways to link high potential options to national and global support. In this context the research will work with policy makers to design key NAMA examples, including developing appropriate monitoring reporting and verification protocols, and institutional arrangements to link international support to equitable participation of smallholders. The research will be based on examples from Malawi, but will aim to produce results that can be generalised to other developing countries.

Our Partners

Dr. Tim Tennigkeit and Dr. Andreas Wilkes (Germany, Unique Forestry GmbH)
Dr Patson Nalivata and Dr. Timothy Gondwe (Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture)
Charles B.L. Jumbe (Malawi, University of Malawi, Centre for Agricultural Research and Development, Bunda College of Agriculture)

Further Information

See CDKN (Climate & Development Knowledge Network)

Prof Dominic Moran

Professor of Environmental Economics and Science Leader, Sustainable Rural Systems

Address: Land Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4128

Fax: 01315354345


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