Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)

Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)


The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme is the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) main programme for channelling climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers. The programme is incorporated into IFAD’s regular investment processes and is subject to rigorous quality control and supervision systems. Since starting its operations in 2012, ASAP funding in two distinct phases (ASAP1 and ASAP2) has received USD 300 million in contributions and has helped eight million vulnerable smallholders in 43 countries cope with the impact of climate change and build more resilient livelihoods. A next phase (Enhanced Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme, ASAP+) is under development.

Basic Description

Name of the Fund Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)
Official Fund Website
Date Created
Date fund proposed: 2001
Date fund made operational: 2012
Proposed Life of Fund The operation of ASAP is divided into several phases:

ASAP 1: 2012-2017
ASAP 2: 2018-2020
Proposed ASAP+ (Enhanced Adaptation For Smallholder Agricultural Programme): 2021 —

Objectives ASAP’s objectives are to channel climate and environmental finance to smallholder farmers, scale up climate change adaptation in rural development programmes and mainstream climate adaptation into IFAD’s work.

At a global level, ASAP has established targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions: the 2020 target impact is to avoid and/or sequester 80 million tonnes of GHG emissions.

As the programme has been designed and operationalised as an adaptation programme, only a very small number of projects is committing to greenhouse gas emission targets. Instead, the focus of most investment designs is on resilient agricultural production. Consequently, the mitigation benefits of ASAP need to be assessed as a side-benefit of adaptation investments and determined through an ex-post assessment.

Financial inputs and fund size ASAP has received USD 300 million in grant support from 2012 to 2017. The 10 contributor countries are:

  • Government of Canada
  • Korean International Cooperation Agency
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
  • The Belgian Development Cooperation
  • Flemish Department for Foreign Affairs
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
  • Government of Sweden
  • Swiss Agency for Development
  • UK Aid

The second phase of ASAP has been financed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (USD 9.5 million) and the Swedish International Development Agency (USD 5.9 million). The overall target for the ASAP2 Trust Fund is USD 100 million.

The degree to which those financial inputs are official development assistance (ODA) is unknown.

An Enhanced Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP+) to apply lessons learned from the first two ASAP phases has been proposed in 2020 with a finance mobilisation target of USD 500 million. The governments of Qatar, Austria, Ireland and Germany are initial contributors to ASAP+.

Activities Supported The activities supported in ASAP1 and ASAP 2 include:

  • Policy engagement: “supporting agricultural institutions in IFAD Member States seeking to achieve international climate change commitments and national adaptation priorities
  • Climate risk assessment: facilitating the systematic use of climate risk information when planning investments to increase resilience
  • Women’s empowerment: increasing the participation of women in, and their benefits from, climate-change adaptation activities
  • Private-sector engagement: strengthening the participation of the private sector and farmer groups in climate change adaptation and mitigation activities
  • Climate services: enhancing the use of climate information for when planning investments to increase resilience
  • Natural resource management and governance: strengthening the participation and ownership of smallholder farmers in decision-making processes and improving technologies for the governance and management of climate-sensitive natural resources
  • Knowledge management: enhancing the documentation and dissemination of knowledge on approaches to climate-resilient agriculture”.

Administrating Organization

Secretariat or Administrative Unit ASAP is incorporated into IFAD’s regular investment processes. The Programme Management Department is the administrative unit responsible for coordinating and overseeing ASAP programmes.

IFAD’s organigramme can be found at:

Trustee IFAD is the permanent trustee.

Fund Finance and Access Modalities

Conditions and Eligibility Requirements Country eligibility is established by the IFAD Programme Management Department and follows regular IFAD procedure and policy for grant financing. The eligibility for ASAP financing goes beyond ODA eligible countries, but recipient countries are restricted to IFAD developing Member States (
Accessing the Fund
Access Modalities – ASAP operates slightly differently to other funds as ASAP grants are joined with IFAD baseline investments which are implemented by government entities. The programming of ASAP funds follows the IFAD project design cycle and is fully aligned with regular IFAD procedures and safeguards. Therefore, ASAP does not employ specific application procedures like other funds (such as issuing calls for proposals) that can be accessed by NGOs or CSOs directly. Results-Based Country Strategic Opportunities Programmes (RB-COSOPs), which are jointly developed with governments, are a typical point of departure for an ASAP investment, highlighting climate change adaptation as a strategic decision for IFAD operations in a specific country.

ASAP applies the same procedures as regular IFAD investments, following the typical IFAD design cycle:

  • Project concept: Projects concepts are created as part of the COSOP or through consultation between IFAD, governments and national stakeholders. They are reviewed by an Operational Strategy and Policy Guidance Committee (OSC).
  • Detailed project design and quality enhancement: A Project Design Report (PDR) is created and improved through a Quality enhancement (QE) process, which involves field missions and interactions with local partners and stakeholders. The QE process involves a final review by a QE panel.
  • Executive Board review: Every ASAP investment design is subject to review and clearance by the IFAD Executive Board, which meets three times per year.
  • Negotiation and approval: After the IFAD Executive Board has approved the financing, negotiations conclude between IFAD and the other parties involved in the project financing and a financing agreement is signed.
  • Implementation: Once the specific conditions above set by IFAD are met, the grant is declared effective and implementation begins.

The projects and investment designs are selected based on the following dimensions:

Qualitative ex-ante criteria:

  • The ‘additionality’ of the ASAP funding to the project that it is co-financing (for example, whether the grant will provide genuine added value to a project and is not simply displacing other forms of public or private finance/activities)
  • Whether the ASAP-supported project is given strong support from the beneficiary government, the relevant IFAD Regional Division country team and communities of smallholders including women and marginalised groups
  • Whether the ASAP financing can reach a critical number of rural smallholders in countries with high climate-related vulnerabilities and the basic implementation and portfolio capacities to deliver climate finance.

Quantitative ex-ante assessments against the ASAP Results Framework:

  • The number of poor smallholder whose climate resilience can be increased
  • The size of the overall resulting investment
  • The project leverage ratio of ASAP versus non-ASAP financing
  • The tonnes of GHG emissions that can potentially be avoided and/or sequestered
  • The extent of land and ecosystem degradation that can be avoided or reduced through the intervention
  • The increase in hectares of land managed under climate-resilient practices
  • The number of households, production and processing facilities with increased water availability
  • The number of individuals, community groups and institutions engaged in climate risk management, environmental and natural resource management and/or disaster risk reduction
  • The value of new or existing rural infrastructure that can be made climate-resilient
  • The number of international and country dialogues on climate issues to which the project can make an active contribution.
Financial Instruments – ASAP provides only grant financing via two types of grants:

  • Global and regional grants (driven by thematic and regional corporate-level strategic priorities)
  • Grants for activities implemented in specific countries (focus on strengthening institutional, implementation and policy capacities and on innovating in thematic areas).
Accreditation process – There is no formal accrediting process for ASAP implementing partners.
Overview of implementing entities – The main implementing entities are government ministries and agencies. Implementing partners include research organisations, centres of excellence involved in rural poverty reduction, NGOs, and private sector and civil society organisations. As there is no formal accreditation process, a comprehensive overview list of ASAP implementing partners is not available.
Nature of recipient country involvement – IFAD works in partnership with Recipient Country Governments, national extension services, a range of national and international research institutes, civil society organisations, as well as communities and Farmers‘ Organisations (FOs), including women‘s groups.

National governments play a decisive role in both the design and the implementation of ASAP programmes. They influence and approve project proposals via the “Country Strategic Opportunities Programme” ensuring that IFAD operations aligned with government priorities and they constitute the main responsible entity to implement the programmes.

Allocation criteria – Up to 2002, IFAD resources were allocated to developing Member States based on country needs as measured by the depth of rural poverty, number of rural poor, availability of national resources and commitments of other development partners.

Since 2003, the Governing Council has implemented a coherent performance-based allocation system (PBAS). A core feature of the PBAS is that country allocations are based on a specific multiplicative formula which includes: (a) country needs component (Rural population, per capita gross national income), and (b) country performance component (International development association resource allocation index, rural sector performance score, projects-at-risk).

Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples
Safeguards – IFAD is committed to “enhancing environmental sustainability and resilience in small-scale agriculture in the full range of its projects and programmes”. The “Social, Environmental and Climate Assessment Procedures” (SECAP) details how It addresses the social, environmental and climate impacts of its projects and programmes. IFAD Country Programme Managers and technical staff responsible for developing and providing implementation support to funded projects and programmes are in charge of implementing the SECAP.

Since 2017, IFAD makes it mandatory to “disclose draft Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and relevant documents in a timely accessible manner prior to project appraisal the final quality and compliance review stage”.

Gender – IFAD promotes gender equality and considers this issue as a key element to reduce rural poverty and improve food security. IFAD has formal policies and programmes to help rural women’s empowerment. In 2012, the Executive Board approved the IFAD Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. The gender policy has three strategic objectives:

  1. “Promote economic empowerment to enable rural women and men to participate in and benefit from profitable economic activities.
  2. Enable women and men to have equal voice and influence in rural institutions and organisations.
  3. Achieve a more equitable balance in workloads and in the sharing of economic and social benefits between women and men”.
Indigenous Peoples – As for Gender, IFAD has formal and separate policies for Indigenous Peoples. In 2009, IFAD’s Executive Board approved the Policy on Engagement with Indigenous Peoples to enhance IFAD’s development effectiveness with indigenous peoples’ communities in rural areas, and to empower them to overcome poverty by building upon their identity and culture.

Fund Governance

Decision Making Structure
ASAP falls under the governance structure of the IFAD. IFAD governance structure is composed of the Governing Council, the Executive Board and the Evaluation Committee.
The Governing Council, made up of all of IFAD’s member states, is IFAD’s highest. It has full decision-making powers and voting rights are distributed according to paid contributions. The full list of member states can be found at:

Note that Membership in IFAD is open to any State that is a member of the United Nations, any of its specialised agencies or the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Executive Board is responsible for the general operation of IFAD and the ASAP. It has full authority to decide on the Programme of Work, approve projects, and to adopt/recommend action, pending the final approval of the Governing Council on matters related to the annual Administrative Budget. As with the Governing Council, the distribution of the total number of votes is calculated both on membership and contribution.

The Executive Board is made up of 18 elected and 18 alternate members. Its composition includes 16 countries from List A (primarily contributing developed countries), 8 from List B (primarily contributing developing countries), and 12 from List C (potential recipient countries divided into three regional sub-lists: C1 for Africa, C2 for Europe, Asia and the Pacific and C3 for Latin America and the Caribbean). The current composition of the lists is available at:

The Evaluation Committee is a sub-committee of the Executive Board which performs in-depth reviews of selected evaluation issues, including ASAP projects.
Accountability Mechanisms
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) evaluates the work of IFAD. Through independent evaluation, IOE provides objective assessment of IFAD’s results.

The evaluation includes:

  • Corporate-level evaluations
  • Project evaluations
  • Impact evaluations
  • Country Strategy and Programme evaluations
  • Project completion report validations.
Complaints Procedures
Individuals and communities have the possibility to contact IFAD and file a complaint if they feel they are or might be negatively affected by an IFAD-funded programme. These complaints need to be related to environmental, social or climate issues. Complaints concerning accusations of fraudulent or corrupt activities in relation to project implementation need to be addressed to IFAD’s Office of Audit and Oversight.
Participation of Observers and Stakeholders IFAD has specific requirements with regards to stakeholder participation, such as mandating projects to review issues of gender and indigenous people. ASAP-supported projects are generally focused on supporting community-based groups, such as farmer associations, local cooperatives, village councils, women’s groups or water user groups, in building their adaptive capacity. These groups are engaged routinely during and after the project design processes.

In September 2019, IFAD adopted a framework for operational feedback from stakeholders. This framework aims to ensure that “key stakeholders’ needs, priorities and feedback are better heard and taken into account by IFAD and governments in the formulation, implementation, assessment and evaluation of national programmes for sustainable rural transformation”. At the country level, the Frameworks aims to strengthen the participation and feedback by stakeholders during the key stages of the COSOP cycle and through the IFAD stakeholder survey. At the project level, the Framework reinforces the role of target populations’ participation and feedback in choosing, designing and regularly monitoring IFAD’s programmes.

Transparency and Information Disclosure In accordance with IFAD Policy on the Disclosure of Documents, all documents presented and discussed at Executive Board meetings are accessible to the public over the Internet.

The combined pledges and contributions made to the Fund as well as information about individual projects are available through IFAD annual reports.

Other Issues Raised