Climate change adaptation – responding proactively to the effects of climate change

A kneeling woman picking fruit.
The SDC helps people adapt to the effects of climate change. © Neil Palmer (Flickr/CIAT)

The consequences of climate change affect people in developing countries in particular. For this reason, the SDC is helping population groups that are exposed and vulnerable to the effects of climate change to improve their livelihoods. People are thus able to take proactive measures to cope with the long-term consequences of climate change and extreme weather events. 

SDC focus

The SDC promotes development that takes the present and future effects of climate change into consideration. The main goal of climate change adaptation is to mitigate the negative effects of a changing climate on people and to help those affected to adapt.   The sustainable use of land, water and forest resources is crucial to achieving this goal. This is the only way to mitigate the long-term and often drastic consequences for the population of the creeping progression of climate change and of increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as droughts and floods. The SDC supports partner countries in three principal areas: 

1. Promoting concrete climate adaptation strategies and measures

Example: With the Programme of adaptation to climate change in Peru (PACC) and the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP), the SDC is helping to improve the livelihoods of mountain communities. Expertise from Switzerland and other countries helps the affected communities, as well as public and private institutions, to develop measures in the areas of water, food security and disaster risk reduction.

2. Underlying data for climate strategies

Example: The Capacity Building and Twinning for Climate Observing Systems (CATCOS) project helps developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia collect climate data used as the basis for climate strategies and measures.

3. National climate adaptation planning processes

Example: The SDC is assisting interested partner countries, including China, in drawing up national climate adaptation planning processes (NAPs) to enable them to develop integrated and coordinated solutions.

Background

Climate change affects the entire planet. However, the consequences of climate change vary enormously from one region to another because of different social and economic conditions. Socially and economically disadvantaged communities are particularly badly affected. Climate change exacerbates poverty, hunger and conflicts in the countries of the South in particular. The SDC is therefore committed to development that is climate compatible in the long term.

While people living in coastal regions are especially affected by rising sea levels, people in arid and desert regions are suffering from increasing water scarcity. Mountain regions, for their part, are experiencing flooding and mudslides ever more frequently. The livelihoods of the inhabitants of these regions are therefore in special need of protection.

Vulnerability and adaptability

Planning and implementing climate change mitigation measures requires technical expertise, financial resources and the commitment of political decision-makers. All of these are often in short supply in developing countries. Targeted measures can however reduce the climate risks faced by communities and preserve or even improve their livelihoods. For example, thanks to seasonal weather forecasts, smallholder farmers in Peru and India have been able to choose the optimal time to sow and harvest their crops, and have thereby markedly improved their yields.

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Current projects

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Improving seed systems for smallholder farmers‘ food security

01.10.2017 - 30.09.2021

Smallholders often use informal seed systems to meet their seed needs. The project increases the access, availability and necessary diversity of adapted seeds to smallholders to reduce their vulnerability to shocks and contribute to their food and nutrition security. In national and global policy dialogues improved and pluralistic seed systems that better respond to the reality and the needs of smallholders are promoted and smallholders will get political recognition for their role in germplasm conservation.



UN CC:Learn – The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership

01.09.2017 - 31.05.2021

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of 36 multilateral organizations which supports Member States in designing and implementing results-oriented and sustainable learning to address climate change. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is provided by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). UN CC:Learn supports countries in developing National Strategies to strengthen human resources and skills to climate resilient development and promotes learning materials including massive open online courses on climate change.


Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (RVAA)

01.08.2017 - 31.03.2022

The project supports the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its Member States in reducing vulnerability of households to disaster risks by increasing their preparedness for response and recovery and in strengthening their resilience. This will be achieved through institutionalising and sustaining vulnerability assessments and analyses systems that enhance emergency and developmental responses at national and regional levels.





Soutien au Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire -PRESA-

01.05.2017 - 30.06.2022

Malgré l’excédent céréalier enregistré depuis plus de 20 ans, le Mali fait face à des crises alimentaires récurrentes qui touchent près du quart de la population. La Suisse soutient le Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire par la combinaison des instruments de l’aide humanitaire et de développement en vue de gérer les crises alimentaires et renforcer la résilience des populations vulnérables. Cet appui contribuera à la stabilité du pays et de la sous-région et a le potentiel de réduire la migration forcée.



Air Pollution, Climate and Health (AiPoCH)

01.04.2017 - 31.12.2026

Air pollution is the largest single environmental health risk factor and closely related to climate change. Mitigating emissions can thus result in multiple benefits, but such interventions need to be rooted in a robust information and knowledge base. This project will strengthen high-quality climate/air pollution observation systems to increase awareness and evidence to ultimately trigger concrete action benefitting the health sector.


ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry & Climate Change (ASFCC) - Phase III

01.03.2017 - 31.08.2021

SDC’s intervention supports the implementation of the ambitious 2030 ASEAN framework strategy to address climate change and food security for the Southeast Asian region. It puts a special focus on the participation of local people and communities to safeguard, manage and benefit from forest goods and services – thereby making an important contribution to address poverty alleviation and climate change at local, national and regional levels.


Sustainable Livelihood and Disaster Mitigation (SLDM)

01.02.2017 - 31.12.2020

The intervention works on the nexus of DRR, food security and agroforestry and successor programme of the Sloping Land Management programme (SLM). Building on SLM, food security remains central, but DRR is the principle concern of the domain of intervention. Combining food security and DRR increases the scope to work holistically towards sustaining the resources on which livelihoods depend. The emphasis on sustainable food production addresses the humanitarian needs of communities. Coupling this with a focus on community action serves to enlarge the scope for groups and individuals to act more autonomously.

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