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Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia

The Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) aims to build the resilience of vulnerable populations and their livelihoods in three climate change hot spots.

Some parts of the world are especially vulnerable to extreme effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, changes in precipitation patterns, and glacial melt. These endanger the livelihoods of vast, poor populations. Semi-arid regions, deltas, and glacier and snow-pack dependent river basins are three such climate change “hot spots.”

The Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) aims to build the resilience of vulnerable populations and their livelihoods in these three hot spots by supporting collaborative research to inform adaptation policy and practice. Our focus is in Africa and Asia. IDRC and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) are partnering to support this program, which runs until 2019. The experience and lessons learned through their earlier joint climate change effort, the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa program (2006-2012), have provided insight and guidance for CARIAA’s mission.

Climate change hot spots: What’s at stake?

  • CARIAA focuses on three climate change hot spots that straddle countries and regions in Africa and Asia. Each hot spot is home to large numbers of poor people whose livelihoods depend on climate sensitive sectors. Every country and region is unique, but the changes underway have comparable biophysical and social implications within each hot spot.

  • Some 2 billion people live in semi-arid regions, around half in poverty. In semi-arid parts of Africa and Asia, more frequent and prolonged droughts threaten livestock and agriculture, a major source of food and income.

  • Sea level rise, changes in runoff and extreme weather events threaten deltas in Africa and South Asia, where some of the world’s largest cities are found. While hundreds of millions of people are affected, those living in informal settlements are particularly vulnerable.

  • In glacier- and snow-fed river basins in the Himalayas, changes in water flow and in the Asian monsoon cycle will affect some 1.5 billion people. Those living in the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra floodplains are particularly vulnerable.

Collaborating: Research consortia model

While other programs conduct or support research addressing particular sectors, countries, and/or regions, we aim to fill a niche by supporting research within and across these hot spots. CARIAA will support collaborative research by a Southern-led consortium of three to five institutions for each hot spot. This approach encourages institutions with varying geographic scope and expertise to come together to address the different facets of adaptation and resilience. The consortium model provides opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience across disciplines, sectors, countries, and continents.

Achieving: Informed adaptation policy and practice to improve resilience

Engaging with policymakers and other stakeholders is critical to the research we support and to our goal of informing effective adaptation policy and practices. Our outreach activities focus on identifying opportunities and strategies for working with stakeholders from the outset of the program.

Research projects

In semi-arid regions:

In deltas:

Related resources

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