Making the Case for Action-Oriented Research Focused Climate Adaptation

Launched in January 2021, as part of the UK COP26 Presidency Adaptation & Resilience campaign, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), along with its partners has established the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA). It brings into coalition researchers and ‘research’ and ‘action’ funders to co-develop action-oriented adaptation research. The research will inform effective adaptation to climate change, through the promotion of research activities that are collaborative and Southern-led to build capacity and strengthen relationships between research and action.

As one of the initial 31 organisations co-developing ARA, PlanAdapt has been involved in several ways. Led by a collaborative partnership between PlanAdapt and SouthSouthNorth, PlanAdapt performed the role of Head of Secretariat in 2021 and 2022. The initial goal was to co-develop long-duration programmes with partners that deliver resources for action-oriented adaptation research in developing countries to meet the needs identified by communities.

The Adaptation Research Alliance has designed six Adaptation Research for Impact Principles, which should help to overcome the barriers in adaptation research, such as a disconnect between research and the needs of the most vulnerable, or limited learning from implementation. The principles call for 

  • Research is needs-driven, solutions-oriented and leads to a positive impact on the lives of those at risk from climate change (Who or what is the research for?)
  • Research is transdisciplinary and co-produced with users (How should research be carried out?)
  • Research emphasises societal impact (How is research valued?)
  • Research builds capacity and empowers actors for the long term (What can research enable?) 
  • Research processes address structural inequities that lead to increased vulnerability and reduced adaptive capacity for those at risk (How can research address root causes of risk?) 
  • Learning-while-doing enables adaptation action to be evidence-based and increasingly effective (How can research–action links be strengthened?) 

Screening and Analysing Iconic Examples of Adaptation Action Research Projects and Initiatives

The PlanAdapt team around Sumetee Pahwa GajjarAlannah HofemeierMartin Rokitzki and Carys Richards, in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the Adaptation Research Alliance have now published a report on Good Practices for Adaptation Action Research.

The report showcases evidence of adaptation action research in practice while offering preliminary insights into how the principles emerge and interact in particular contexts. The findings are based on an analysis of twenty projects and initiatives which have – intentionally or not – incorporated the principles into some elements of their work on adaptation. The analysis is aimed to generate a better understanding of how the principles can be operationalised in different ways.  

Find more info about ARA here and an overview of PlanAdapt’s alliances and network memberships here.