Programme for climate-smart livestock systems

Project description

Title: Programme for climate-smart livestock systems (PCSL)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2018 to 2022



In sub-Saharan Africa, livestock farming constitutes a crucial basis for the livelihoods of more than 80 per cent of households that are classed as poor. As a result of the growing population, increasing income and urbanisation, demand for animal products is rising steadily.

Climate change has a negative impact on livestock farming. Rising temperatures and lower annual rainfall reduce the animals’ yields and inhibit the growth of fodder crops. Due to soil degradation and water scarcity, animals no longer have sufficient food. Land-use conflict is also increasing, threatening food security and gradually eroding livestock farmers’ livelihoods.

However, livestock farming is not only affected by the effects of climate change, but also contributes to it. For example, in many of the region’s countries the agricultural sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The largest proportion often comes from livestock farming, such as emissions released during the digestive process in ruminants, the storage and application of manure, and fodder production. Many countries have indicated their willingness to implement measures for reducing GHG emissions from livestock in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), although data on the emissions from livestock husbandry are not yet available for accurately determining the mitigation potential of climate-smart livestock systems.

These systems are better adapted to the effects of climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation. Livestock farmers and policy-makers in particular require information on possible climate scenarios and tried-and-tested solutions for their implementation.


Key actors in livestock farming increasingly include climate change adaptation and mitigation in their farming practices, sector strategies and investment projects. Within the Paris Agreement’s framework, the countries are improving the reporting of their NDCs in the livestock sector.



The project is being implemented in cooperation with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the World Bank (WB) and focuses on the combination of scientific data collection and solution-led field research into climate-smart livestock production. The results are also being mainstreamed via large-scale investment projects.

Together with livestock farmers, promising climate-smart livestock systems are being developed and are undergoing practical trials. They include improvements in the cultivation of specific fodder crops, feed processing as well as manure and pasture management. The contribution of livestock systems to climate change mitigation and adaptation has been demonstrated through on-site measurements and laboratory investigations. These findings are being disseminated through training-the-trainer measures and are included in the curricula of relevant training and extension organisations.

At policy-maker level, possible development paths in the livestock sector are being designed as part of multi-stakeholder working groups, and participatory scenario planning for targeted decision-making is being implemented. This ensures that the expected short, medium and long-term impacts of climate change on the livestock sector are taken into account in the planning of political frameworks, strategies and investment projects.

In addition, the project supports partner countries in gearing their monitoring and reporting systems to tier 2 approaches in the livestock sector. This is particularly relevant in demonstrating the effectiveness of climate change mitigation measures, thus enabling countries to improve their reporting on the Paris Agreement.

The project also concentrates on providing advice to national teams on formulating and implementing new, large investment projects in livestock farming and on how to include climate-smart approaches when designing projects.

GIZ Thomas Imo