Pathways to dairy net zero: Promoting low carbon and climate resilient livestock in East Africa

Regional initiative that aims to leverage USD 400 million to help communities boost livestock productivity while reducing methane emissions

  • Article type Press release
  • Publication date 17 Nov 2022

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Global Dairy Platform (GDP) approved USD 3.5 million of project preparation funding to support the development of a regional public-private livestock sector programme for Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. GCF’s grant contribution of USD 1.1 million complements the co-financing from the partners, with the objective of developing a blended finance initiative to leverage USD 400 million in financing to support the transition of the region’s dairy systems to lower emissions and climate resilient pathways.

The announcement was made at the COP27 Global Methane Pledge Ministerial co-hosted by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. The programme was developed in response to the Global Methane Pledge, launched at COP26 by the US and the EU, and building on the participating countries’ adaptation needs as expressed in their Nationally Determined Contributions.

GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec (far left) at the COP27 Global Methane Pledge Ministerial

Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director said “GCF is pleased to partner with IFAD, FAO, and GDP, for this innovative initiative that will pave the way for a transition to a more sustainable and climate resilient dairy system. Managing this transition is critical to protecting the climate whilst ensuring sustainable livelihoods. We support this initiative with our project preparation funds and hope to use our expertise in deploying public funds to catalyse private investment to drive real change for this sector.”

Livestock supply chains are a key contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with methane emissions from enteric fermentation and manure management being principal contributors. At the same time, climate change is increasingly impacting the livestock sector, which hundreds of millions of people are directly dependent on for their food security and livelihoods. The four participating countries in East Africa are particularly vulnerable, especially due to increasing drought conditions that affect both livestock and grazing and feed availability.

Rick Duke, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for Climate said, "Unlocking financial support for a sustainable agriculture transition in developing countries is critical to meet development and climate goals. This programme will increase farmer resilience and reduce methane emissions, a true win-win for farmers and the environment. We are thrilled by this announcement and hope to work with more countries to unlock similar work through the Global Methane Pledge."

The programme aims to focus on the adoption of emission-reducing, productivity-enhancing practices and technologies by smallholder producers; greening value chain operations; market creation for scaling-up innovative waste reuse businesses (including biogas from captured methane and organic fertiliser) and agricultural input provision; and delivering high-quality nutrition to consumers across the region. The initiative will also develop mechanisms for certifying, aggregating, and monetising emissions reductions, particularly for smallholder producers, while creating linkages with global carbon markets.

Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice-President, Strategy and Knowledge Department at IFAD said “IFAD is thrilled to bring its 40 years of experience working in rural areas and USD 1.3 million to kickstart investments to this programme. With the right investments, we can reduce livestock emissions; build green values chains; and improve small-scale farmers’ incomes and their resilience to climate shocks, not only for their food and nutrition security but also ours. These multiple benefits for the lives and livelihoods of poor rural communities and for our planet further strengthen the case for urgently increasing climate finance for agricultural development.”

Donald Moore, Executive Director of the Global Dairy Platform (GDP) said “This Programme builds on the proven results of GDP’s Dairy Nourishes Africa initiative and reflects the dairy sector’s global commitment to Pathways to Dairy Net Zero. GDP is delighted to be working with GCF, IFAD, FAO, Global Methane Hub, Global Methane Pledge, USAID and other organisations to reduce methane intensity across the dairy sector in East Africa. This initiative provides a model that can now rapidly be scaled up and replicated across other countries and regions.”

Low emission and climate resilient livestock is an investment priority for GCF. This first initiative is expected to spearhead GCF’s involvement in other dairy and livestock programmes across the globe.