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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A toolbox for sustainable sefl-reliance

Workers learn how to build stable houses in cyclone-affected Southwestern Haiti.

06.09.2017 - 30.06.2021

Haiti has been repeatedly devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years. SDC engineers are now working with those affected to build more stable houses from local materials. Five hundred new homes are to be built by 2021.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Haiti
Climate change and environment
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Vocational training
Governance

Disaster risk reduction DRR
Humanitarian efficiency
Vocational training
Public sector policy

06.09.2017 - 30.06.2021


CHF 3'423'500



Sustainable water and pasture management to alleviate the plight of Ethiopian pastoralists

A group of Ethiopian men and women beside a half dried-up pool of water, using picks and shovels to dig new basins.

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2021

Drought, fodder scarcity and conflicts over natural resources make life difficult for pastoralists in southern Ethiopia. The SDC has taken various measures to improve their food security and their resilience to crisis situations, ranging from the rehabilitation of pastureland and water points to the introduction of land use plans and the diversification of income sources for women.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Ethiopia
Agriculture & food security
Conflict & fragility
Climate change and environment

Agricultural land resources
Household food security
Conflict prevention
Disaster risk reduction DRR

01.06.2015 - 31.12.2021


CHF 8'653'920



Blue Peace Central Asia Strengthening of the Regional Institutional Framework for Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia

01.09.2014 - 31.07.2022

In response to the explicit demand of the five Central Asian States, and building on over 20 years of cooperation in the field of water, SDC facilitates transboundary water resources cooperation consistent with the Blue Peace approach implemented in the Middle-East and at the global level through the establishment of a High Level Dialogue Platform, the promotion of sustainable water practices as well as capacity building of a new generation of water professionals and champions.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Water
Climate change and environment
Water diplomacy and security
Meteorological services
Water resources conservation
Water sector policy

01.09.2014 - 31.07.2022


CHF 6'000'000



Soutien au Dispositif National de Sécurité Alimentaire -PRESA-

01.07.2022 - 31.12.2025

Malgré l’excédent céréalier enregistré durant ces deux dernières décennies, l’insécurité alimentaire touche près du ¼ de la population du Mali. La DDC veut renforcer les capacités institutionnelles et organisationnelles du dispositif national de sécurité alimentaire en vue d’améliorer la prévention et la gestion des crises conjoncturelles et accroître la résilience des populations vulnérables à l’insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle.


Sustainable Natural Resources Management (NRM) for Enhanced Pastoralist Food Security in the Borana Zone, Ethiopia.

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2027

Natural resources, particularly water and pasture, are among the key determinants of pastoralist livelihoods’ sustainability. The proposed Project contributes to the outcomes of the SDC’s Food Security Domain as stipulated in the Swiss Cooperation Strategy Horn of Africa. It aims at improving pastoralist food security and adaptive capacities in the lowlands of Borana Zone, Southern Ethiopia, through enhancing the sustainable management of natural resources.


CLIMATE AND CLEAN AIR IN LATIN AMERICAN CITIES PLUS (CALAC+) PROGRAMME

01.03.2021 - 28.02.2023

Air pollution is an important impediment to sustainable development in cities, and short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon represent a major trigger for climate change. Supporting increasing voluntary efforts, CALAC+ will assist clean air strategies in five Latin American cities by fostering normative and technological changes and share lessons at the global level. Capacity building will use the comparative advantage of Swiss experience and the private sector’s interest to increase its stance in urban clean air issues.


Strengthening Livelihoods and Social Inclusion in Georgia's Forest Sector Reform

01.07.2020 - 30.06.2024

As part of a comprehensive forest sector reform, the proposed project contribution aims at diversifying livelihood opportunities of target forest dependent communities and at strengthening the local capacities in forest management in a sustainable manner. This is particularly relevant since up to 90% of Georgia’s rural households rely on forests for energy and other purposes, leading to progressive forest degradation. The COVID-19 crisis further aggravates economic hardship of the most vulnerable groups among them.


Contribution to the VII Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean

01.02.2020 - 31.07.2021

Financially support the Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Jamaica 2020 (RPDRR 20) co-convened by CDEMA and UNDRR with a non-earmarked contribution to the overall costs and thereby assist implementation of the Sendai Framework in the Americas. Accompany this contribution by providing assistance in the preparations relying on the experience from previous platforms and the GPDRR 19 and support the participation of key stakeholders in the Americas that exhibit their activities in collaboration with SDC.


Mercy Corps - Building Resilience in Conflict-Affected Communities (BRAC)

01.02.2020 - 31.01.2022

South Kordofan is one of the areas in Sudan were the armed conflict is temporarily halted, but not yet solved, and many communities are still suffering from its consequences. These communities are hosting significant numbers of IDPs and refugees from war torn South Sudan, who share the very limited available resources. The project aims at increasing the resilience of female and male members of vulnerable households to economic, social and climate related shocks through improved access to gender responsive basic services and increased agricultural production.


Solar Irrigation for Agriculture Resilience (SoLAR)

01.01.2020 - 31.07.2027

To adapt to climate change farmers rely increasingly on irrigation, ultimately depleting groundwater resources and raising energy demand. The project aims to address these challenges by promoting solar irrigation, water efficient agriculture and groundwater governance. The project will harness Swiss expertise on hydrogeology and technical innovations to contribute to climate resilient agriculture and facilitate knowledge sharing in South Asia and at the global level.


Clean Air Project in India (CAP India)

01.11.2019 - 30.06.2027

India is one of the most severely affected countries by air pollution in the world. This project will contribute to India’s new National Clean Air Programme, with the aim to improve air quality with co-benefits on public health, environment and climate change. Capacity building and technical assistance through Swiss expertise will support data measurement and analysis, city level clean air action plans and awareness raising campaigns to take precautionary measures and mitigate air pollution.


Grassroots women building resilience and peace in Central America.

01.10.2019 - 31.12.2022

The project enables two thousand grassroots women and their families to implement effective climate adaptation practices and strengthen their voice and leadership to influence related public plans and policies. The exchange of good local practices will be fostered among women in the region, thus increasing their resilience to climate change and variability.

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