A new global coalition working to catalyse investment and capacity for action-oriented research in adaptation to climate change has launched today at the COP26 summit.
The Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) is a group of over 90 organisations from 30 economies driving research and innovation for adaptation that strengthens resilience in the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Representing the international breadth of the adaptation community, the ARA includes research and action funders, policymakers, scientists, development bodies and grassroots organisations. Its membership signals a growing movement away from business as usual toward a new framework of collaboration, inclusivity and action-oriented innovation that generates real world adaptation solutions.
“COP26 is a critical moment for galvanising action on adaptation and resilience. It is also a prime opportunity to underscore the centrality of research to understand what works and what doesn't to ensure our communities are resilient to the challenges posed by climate change,” said the ARA’s Head of Secretariat Jesse DeMaria-Kinney.
“The ARA works to build the bridge between research and action to co-develop ambitious but realistic outcomes that enable adaptation and resilience research led by the needs of the most vulnerable and which develop solutions that address the scale of the climate emergency.”
Climate change is making billions of people across the globe vulnerable to extreme weather events, food shortages, economic hardship and disease. Yet adaptation action is not being delivered at the pace that science deems necessary to prepare and build resilience in the most vulnerable communities - and their risks continue to grow.
But a changing climate poses uncertain risks and responding effectively takes more than policy analysis or helicopter research. According to the ARA, accelerating adaptation efforts requires evidence-based solutions that are tailored to local contexts, where unprecedented levels of collaboration allow for peer-to-peer exchange and co-production between all parties.
“Those living at the forefront of climate change have valuable lessons of practice for the adaptation community. We must shift our efforts to embrace this knowledge, rather than apply solutions from faraway places out of context with the realities on the ground,” said Mizan Khan, deputy director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), a member of the ARA.
As a first step in its movement, ARA members have co-developed the Adaptation Research for Impact Principles. A framework for how new adaptation initiatives should be carried out, it works alongside the ARA’s body of work to shape research design, knowledge-sharing and outcome tracking to ensure a focus on equity and action.
Putting those recommendations into action is the Climate Adaptation and Resilience (CLARE) research programme, launched at COP26. A new partnership between the UK and Canada, it was revealed at the ARA launch that the countries would extend funding to CLARE with a total of £100m funding from UK aid and £10m ($17m CAD) from Canada.
Nearly £40m of that CLARE funding is dedicated to addressing adaptation in Africa and identifying actionable solutions for the continent as it adapts to climate change.
“Action-focused research is crucial to effective, inclusive and sustainable climate adaptation, particularly to protect the most vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change. We will ensure women’s voices shape these conversations, and women’s leadership and expertise are championed to deliver gender-sensitive adaptation solutions. Both the ARA and the UK’s support for CLARE will improve the effectiveness of adaptation, putting people at the heart of climate research to build the resilience of those living on the frontline of the climate crisis,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Secretary of State for International Trade.
The ARA launch was also held alongside the launch of two new innovation funds for climate adaptation and resilience from ARA members the Global Innovation Fund the GSM Association. These funds will enable the acceleration, testing and adoption of innovations with the potential to scale and support the world’s most vulnerable in building resilience and adapting to climate change.
By catalysing and supporting initiatives among its partners, the ARA strengthens its vision of a future where the research community is a highly valued partner to policymakers, practitioners and communities, and helps deliver innovative, user-driven solutions for adaptation and resilience.
“Our momentum will only grow as we welcome new members and facilitate more innovative projects where practical solutions that genuinely reduce the risks from climate change for the most vulnerable can be developed,” said DeMaria-Kinney.
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Theory of Change
Learn how the ARA aims to deliver six outcomes that support adaptation research for impact.