UNDP Issue Brief on Resilient Livelihoods Value Chains

Climate change has a large negative impact on a wide range of livelihoods, particularly rural livelihoods that are heavily reliant on agricultural activities and more vulnerable to climate-induced risks and shocks. Investing in adaptation interventions to widen livelihood options and develop more resilient livelihoods is crucial to ensure vulnerable communities are able to cope with the impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. A failure to adopt climate resilient measures to support sustainable livelihoods is likely to jeopardize food and income security, and lead to the loss of assets and increasing impoverishment. Given the centrality of agricultural value chains to most rural livelihoods, interventions to facilitate the development of climate resilient value chains are vital in securing resilient rural livelihoods. This work supports global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, especially goals for ending hunger and poverty, promoting decent work and economic growth, and supporting responsible consumption and production practices. 

For climate resilient value-chain development to be effective it must embrace holistic and integrated approaches encompassing various interventions are more successful as they tend to reinforce one another. Multi-stakeholder platforms that foster commercial, technical, and institutional innovation have more significant and lasting impacts than those focused on governance and coordination issues, while improvements in transportation infrastructure help reduce costs and increase market linkages, and applying information technology reduces asymmetries in market information that have traditionally put rural farmers at a disadvantage compared to downstream market actors. 
Gender issues need to be considered specifically in the design, implementation and evaluation of interventions as women are especially disadvantaged in terms of access to land, labor, credit and infrastructure. Effective participation in developing value chains requires a minimum set of assets (not only land and financial capital, but also knowledge, skills, social capital, and access to sources of technical support), which the poorest of the poor lack. Project-based interventions are not enough –the most successful interventions have come where economic and policy environments have supported rural enterprise development and where appropriate policy changes accompanied the interventions.