Climate adaptation can take many forms, ranging from disaster risk reduction to natural resources management, according to the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As the effects of climate change become more pronounced, so will the need to adjust to a new reality marked by more extreme and variable weather, higher sea levels, and increased food insecurity. Adaptation—the process of adjusting to both current and future changes—is an essential component of climate resilience.
Adaptation also includes institutional change, such as long-term strategy planning, and social change, including education and public awareness campaigns. Paired with climate mitigation, adaptation is one of the major tools that countries have for addressing increased climate variability.
USAID helps countries and communities become better prepared for and adapt to the effects of climate variability and change. Since 2016, USAID has invested more than $650 million in programs that help communities adapt to the effects of climate variability and change. And since 2010, USAID has helped more than 12,000 institutions, including local governments, civil society, and businesses, better assess and proactively address their climate risks. Since 2010, USAID has helped about 3 billion people use weather and climate data to cope, manage, and adapt to climate’s impacts. This includes helping farmers determine how to best maintain their productivity, as well as helping countries and communities predict and prepare for extreme weather events. Through resilience and adaptation programming, USAID helps countries already impacted by the climate crisis minimize disruption, reduce vulnerability to impacts, and strengthen their ability to manage the impacts of climate change.
Below, find a selection of projects, blogs, and resources related to USAID’s work on climate adaptation.
SERVIR is a joint initiative of NASA and USAID that works with leading regional organizations around the world to help developing countries use Earth observation and geospatial technologies to manage climate risks and land use. Through its Service Planning Toolkit and approach, SERVIR is able to ensure that its services are effectively designed and applied on a country-by-country basis.
The Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (ATLAS) project, which concluded in early 2020, was a USAID-funded activity that assisted the Agency and its partners in testing approaches and developing good practices for climate-resilient program investments. The ATLAS Resources by Sector page contains an agriculture and food security section, alongside climate information services, the economic costs of climate change, and other adaptation topics.
The Learning Agenda for Climate Services in Sub-Saharan Africa encompassed two related efforts, the Climate Information Services Research Initiative (CISRI) and Assessing Sustainability and Effectiveness of Climate Information Services in Africa (Sustainable CIS). CISRI focused on capacity development for the end users of climate information services, while Sustainable CIS focused on identifying and evaluating sustainable and effective models of climate services. The Spotlight Series covers policy and program topics for climate services from user-centered design to private sector solutions.
Strengthening Water Security from the Headwaters to the Mouth of the Limpopo highlights USAID’s Resilient Waters Program and its work in Mozambique and South Africa. Resilient Waters, in partnership with the South African Development Community’s multi-country river basin commissions, is assisting municipalities along the length of the Limpopo River to build resilience and regional water security.
On the Frontlines of Climate and Environmental Collapse: Disaster Risk Management Must Evolve features a recent technical brief that links climate change and ecosystem-inclusive disaster risk reduction. Traditional disaster risk reduction methods are compared to more recent holistic methods, which include environmental protection, early warning information, and adaptation to both sudden-onset events, like cyclones, and slow-onset events such as drought.
Payments for Ecosystem Services to Limit Deforestation focuses on USAID’s Productive Landscapes (ProLand) project and its recently released synthesis of case studies and evidence of payments for ecosystem services (PES) in Uganda and Colombia. The blog outlines contexts where PES has the strongest effects, as well as essential design elements for PES.
The Scaling Up Financing for Clean Energy, Sustainable Landscapes, and Climate Adaptation webinar presents the USAID-funded Climate Economic Analysis, Development, Investment, and Resilience (CEADIR) Activity’s Climate Finance Assessment
The ATLAS Final Report: Five Years’ Progress on Climate Resilient Development is a summation of the work undertaken by the ATLAS project. The report outlines the project’s scope and approach, and highlights how the project helped USAID integrate climate adaptation across its portfolio and build the climate resilience of national partners.
Applying Social and Behavior Change to Climate Change Adaptation: A Literature Review focuses on the concept of social and behavior change, which incorporates multi-disciplinary knowledge in order to change behaviors in response to challenges like climate change. This review is an accompaniment to Integrating Social and Behavior Change in Climate Change Adaptation: An Introductory Guide, which can assist in incorporating scientific findings on social and behavior change into climate change adaptation activities.
Stephan Hardeman is the Site and Community Manager for Climatelinks. He draws on more than three years of experience in communications for international environmental trust funds to support Climatelinks through USAID’s Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) initiative by engaging the Climatelinks community and featuring its work. Stephan has MAs in International Affairs (American University) and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (United Nations University for Peace) and BAs in English and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.