Increased access to climate and weather data is one way that USAID assists countries in adapting to climate change. Numerous USAID programs have focused on adaptation, and many of the lessons learned from those programs are available on Climatelinks. | Credit: IWMI Nepal

Editor’s Pick: Climate Adaptation Lessons Learned Tools and Resources on Climatelinks

By Stephan Hardeman

Since 1991, USAID has been investing in actions that help the Agency in understanding climate change risks and opportunities to reduce vulnerabilities. USAID supports approximately 30 countries around the world with development of the tools and knowledge needed for adapting to climate change. USAID’s adaptation efforts focus on increasing access to and use of climate and weather data and tools as a means of building resilience to climate variability and risks.

In November, Climatelinks featured lessons learned from climate adaptation. USAID’s contribution to climate adaptation efforts includes completed activities like the Climate Change Adaptation Project Preparation Facility for Asia and the Pacific (ADAPT Asia-Pacific) and Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD). Projects such as these have enhanced climate resilience, built capacity, and mainstreamed climate considerations into development policy, providing many lessons along the way. For the projects mentioned above, lessons are captured in the ADAPT Asia-Pacific final report and publications such as CCRD’s High Mountains Adaptation Partnership: Lessons Learned in Nepal and Peru report.


As part of the USAID-supported TOPS/SCALE program, South Sudanese refugees are applying learning principles from African Women Rising’s resilience design and permagarden program. Techniques like mulching, deep soil preparation, and biomass planting help diminish impacts from flooding and seasonal drought.

A selection of ongoing activities, as well as current blogs, resources, and tools, can be found below.


Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments (ATLAS) uses tested approaches in adaptation assessment and thought leadership to develop the decision-making tools and guidance needed for effective adaptation responses across USAID development programs. ATLAS-led monthly Adaptation Community Meetings have provided a regular forum for development practitioners to share their experience across a range of topics, such as urban and infrastructure resilience and climate services.

The Learning Agenda for Climate Services in Sub-Saharan Africa brings together a wide range of partners to examine the production and use of climate information systems, with a focus on rain-fed agriculture in Africa. The Learning Agenda also seeks to generate and analyze new information and learning on the use of climate information in decision-making processes.

SERVIR Global is a joint initiative of NASA and USAID that prioritizes earth observation and geospatial technologies as tools for empowering decision-makers in developing countries around the world. SERVIR uses a Service Planning Toolkit to identify a problem, analyze opportunities, and deliver services focused on collaborative and results-oriented processes. Some of the lessons learned from SERVIR’s work are captured in Story Maps that are available on the SERVIR website.


Broadening the Climate Adaptation Toolkit: Lessons from Social and Behavior Change highlights the ATLAS project’s October 2018 Adaptation Community Meeting, which focused on the concept of social and behavior change and how it can be utilized to enhance climate resilience.

Similarly, Sharing Lessons from SERVIR’s Service Planning Approach provides an overview of the July 2018 Adaptation Community Meeting, where SERVIR presented its approach to delivering “space to village,” equipping decision-makers with geospatial tools, and the capacity to use them, in response to locally expressed needs.

Ecosystem-based Adaptation Evidence Summary and Case Study Series introduces a set of documents that highlight the potential role of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) in addressing climate vulnerabilities and contributing to development results. The five case studies provide lessons learned from EbA efforts in Bangladesh, Peru, Mongolia, the Philippines, and the Seychelles.

A Systems Perspective to Climate Services shares lessons taken from the final workshop of the Learning Agenda on Climate Services. At the workshop, attendees shared their perspectives on a range of topics, from effective uptake and use of climate services to future priorities for research and programming.


Improving the Application and Use of Climate Information: Three Lessons from Behavioral Psychology is a policy brief that summarizes work undertaken collaboratively between the ATLAS project and the Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The report provides lessons and recommendations for increasing the use of behavioral psychology to influence decision-makers who are relying on uncertain climate information.

Successes from USAID’s Climate Change Portfolio in Jamaica is a set of three infographics from the ATLAS project exploring high-level project successes from USAID/Jamaica’s work on climate resilience, clean energy, and disaster risk reduction from 2012-2018. The infographics are accompanied by a lessons learned report that details project successes and recommendations for how work done in Jamaica can be continually supported and scaled up.

Lessons Learned from PEACE III: A Mid-Cycle Portfolio Review, another ATLAS product, explores the integration of conflict work, climate change, and natural resource management. The report captures lessons learned from project implementation in two “clusters” of the East Africa Region and makes key recommendations on how to better integrate conflict prevention, management, and resolution with climate considerations.


The Participatory Climate Information Services Systems Development Methodology, released earlier this year, is a step-by-step guide for improving the effectiveness of climate information services systems. A five-stage methodology assesses factors that affect climate services programs and helps practitioners in facilitating dialogue and encouraging stakeholders to take action together to improve the system.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) Capacity Assessment Tools and Findings and Financial Planning Tools both support the improvement of NMHS systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The Capacity Assessment Tools and Findings consists of a toolkit for establishing a capacity building framework, metrics, and data collection and analysis. The Financial Planning Tools helps users in identifying and understanding resource gaps, as well as opportunities for public private partnerships and cost savings.

Strategic Objective
Adaptation, Mitigation
Adaptation, Climate Change, Climate Risk Management, Conflict and Governance, Disaster Risk Management, Energy, Food Security, Infrastructure, Mitigation, Natural Resource Management, Resilience, Urban, Weather
Africa, Asia, Latin America & Caribbean

Stephan Hardeman

Stephan Hardeman is the Site and Community Manager for Climatelinks. He draws on more than five 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.

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