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Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture (SCALA)

Scala Overview


The Scaling up Climate Ambition on Land Use and Agriculture through NDCs and NAPs (SCALA) programme supports countries to enhance climate action in land-use and agriculture, together with partners. Using countries’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and/or National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) as entry points, SCALA identifies pathways for implementing climate actions with the potential to trigger transformative systems change. It emphasises private sector engagement as well as gender-responsive and inclusive approaches to planning and implementation that benefit the most vulnerable natural resource-dependent communities.

The 12 core SCALA countries are Argentina, Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Nepal, Senegal, Thailand, and Uganda. Additional countries are supported through a technical assistance facility.

Funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), the 20 million euro programme is implemented through a joint effort between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2021-2025. It builds on lessons learned from the Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans (NAP-Ag) Programmewhere UNDP and FAO played a catalytic role in the paradigm shift for NAPs, establishing partnerships between sectors for adaptation planning and budgeting within governments from 2015-2020. 

The SCALA Programme contributes to the UNDP Climate Promise as it enters its second phase (2022-2026) of providing comprehensive support on NDC implementation in 120 countries and FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative, while working closely with a range of other partners. In parallel to supporting countries to develop the capacity to own and lead the process to meet targets set out in their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, SCALA activities also contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. 



SCALA supports countries to translate agriculture and land use priorities laid out in their NDCs and/or NAPs into action through three inter-related outcomes. 

  1. Identify and appraise transformative climate actions required on land-use and agriculture  

NDCs and NAPs are used as entry points to foster multi-stakeholder dialogues to assess climate actions with transformative potential and build consensus for systems-level assessments that strengthen the evidence base for implementation.

  1. Integrate land-use and agriculture priorities into planning, budgeting and monitoring

A whole-of-government approach is promoted in which all relevant stakeholders collaborate to improve the enabling environment and governance arrangements for the planning, budgeting and monitoring of transformative climate actions.

  1. Engage private sector in climate action

Barriers are addressed to catalyze private investment through public policy instruments and other climate investment funds and innovative technological and financial tools are promoted.

Targeted activities under each of these outcomes aim to address barriers to climate action related to insufficient coordination and capacity, gender inequality and social exclusion, inadequate investment and private sector engagement as well as inadequate information systems, among others.


There is an urgent need for ambition and action to harness the land use and agriculture sectors’ potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels emphasizes that containing global warning within 1.5 degrees is not possible without the substantial contribution of the agriculture sectors. This is confirmed by the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Landwhich gives clear guidance on how science, technology and innovative approaches are recommended to be pursued by countries to address climate change for the land sector. 

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) are the processes by which countries plan for and communicate their mitigation and adaptation goals and strategies to the global community under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The great push for 2020 NDC enhancement under the Paris Agreement is to accelerate implementation and to ramp up ambition at the same time. 

Agriculture is a major priority in 96 percent of all countries’ first cycle of NDCs, under the Paris Agreement. Yet, to date, there is insufficient ambition and implementation of climate actions related to land-use and agriculture, as set out in NDCs and NAPs, to keep global warming below the 1.5 °C threshold and enhance adaptive capacity. The evidence makes clear that achieving climate-related goals in land use and agriculture will require nothing less than the transformation of agri-food systems. This is also closely linked with the effort to achieve inclusive and resilient development under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Thematic areas

The SCALA programme builds on the joint expertise of FAO and UNDP and delivers activities in four thematic areas in its partner countries to support the translation of their NDC and/or NAPs into actionable and transformative climate solutions in land-use and agriculture:

Gender and social inclusion

Transformative systems change

COVID-19 and green recovery

Private sector engagement

Tracking countries' progress within the Enhanced Transparency Framework