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Category: Press release

5 January 2021

Over 30 organisations from around the world have come together to co-develop a bold new global partnership that will catalyse and scale investment in action-oriented research for climate adaptation and resilience.

As part of the UK COP26 Presidency Adaptation & Resilience campaign, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is working with partners to co-develop an international Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) for launch at COP26.

Climate change is already having an impact, particularly in developing countries and vulnerable groups. There is an urgent need for coordinated global efforts to adapt and provide evidence-based climate adaptation solutions. At present the global research community is not sufficiently mobilised and connected to those on the front lines — governments, communities and marginalised people.

As a result, the demand far outstrips the supply of actionable information and practical solutions. This imbalance is what the Adaptation Research Alliance seeks to address as a matter of priority, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Ms. Sheela Patel (Director, Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC)), said: “There is potential for a new architecture of research to be done in which communities, professional NGO’s that work with them, researchers from the North and South develop a new circle of partnerships that begin to address what has not worked from a perspective of developing a new paradigm through which the policy framework can be changed.”

Anand Patwardhan (Professor, University of Maryland and ARA Co-Chair Group) said: “We need to scale up the kind of research that gets out of the lab and into the field and works with local communities. This requires of course more funding, but equally important a change in the way research is done - to make it user-centered, and focused on solutions – cutting through some of the disciplinary and institutional barriers that often come in the way.”

The Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) is an international coalition across the adaptation research and action communities, bringing together researchers and both traditional ‘research funders’ and ‘action funders’, to catalyse and scale investment in action-orientated research driven by end-user needs.

Dame Judith Macgregor (Chair Scientific Advisory Group, Global Challenges Research Fund) said:

“I am delighted to see this initiative and commend its objectives. A key driver of the Global Challenges Research Fund is to share research knowledge more widely and build equitable partnerships to address challenges that face us all. Climate Change risk, loss and damage are felt locally but adaptation to be effective needs to happen in country and around the world. The Adaptation Research Alliance provides an urgently needed point of collaboration and support for researchers, funders, policy makers and communities worldwide: to share lessons, add value and learn from locally determined but globally applicable research.”

The ARA will, through targeted advocacy, creative cooperation and scaled resource delivery, ensure that the most pressing knowledge needs for adaptation and resilience actions are effectively addressed.

Rosalind West (Climate Science Lead, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and ARA Co-Chair Group) said:

“A priority operating principle of the ARA is of Southern leadership, ensuring that programmes and activities empower Southern researchers and institutions building long-term capacity and helping to address those existing informational and structural power imbalances. In addition, gender equality and social inclusion are explicit operating principles that will guide the ARA activities. We are embedding diversity throughout the ARA ensuring that the Alliance reflects the world we live in and informs inclusive practical action.”

The ARA forms part of the UK’s COP26 Presidency Adaptation and Resilience campaign that will encourage greater political ambition, tools, coordination and commitments to build resilience through support to practical adaptation preparedness and response. The ARA will seize this opportunity of COP26 to underscore the centrality of research for understanding what works and what doesn’t to ensure our communities are resilient to the effects of climate change that are already locked in, no matter what we do to reduce future emissions. A soft launch is taking place at the Global Gobeshona Conference, Research on Locally Led Adaptation, on 23 January at 13:00-15:00 UTC. This will spark a development phase up to COP26.

Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan (the UK’s International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience) said:

“Building climate resilience through effective and targeted adaptation action is a priority for the UK’s COP26 Presidency. The Adaptation Research Alliance will deliver joined up, actionable research and evidence informed by real-life experiences – a vital step in turning global ambition into practical action to help our world’s most vulnerable communities cope with the impacts of climate change.” For more information please visit Adaptation Research Alliance or contact

Follow the Adaptation Research Alliance on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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