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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Rural Resilience in Southern Africa / R4 Initiative

01.07.2021 - 30.06.2025

The R4 Rural Resilience Initiative for Southern Africa enables smallholder farmers’ adaptation to climate risk through improved resource management, insurance, livelihoods diversification, microcredit and savings. Through R4, Switzerland has become a credible and trusted partner in resilience building and its learnings have fed into policy dialogue. The emphasis of this final phase is on strengthening government and private sector, as well as the gender approach.  


Building Regional Adaptive capacity and resilience to climate variability and change in Vulnerable sectors in the Andes (BRAVA)

01.06.2021 - 30.09.2026

SDC contributes to the World Meteorological Organisation’s ENANDES project, aiming to increase the resilience of 6 Latin-American countries to climate change. With the support of Swiss researchers and experts from MeteoSwiss, the project will increase the predictive capabilities of the responsible national authorities and support co-design of Weather, Water and Climate Services across the region, to the benefit of the local population, including the most vulnerable.


Dam Safety Technical and Institutional Assistance in Lao PDR (DSTIA)

01.05.2021 - 31.03.2026

Following the Swiss support to the Nationwide Emergency Dam Safety Inspection, the Lao Government requested a longer-term Swiss support in strengthening the national dam safety regulatory and institutional frameworks. By increasing government’s law enforcement and technical capacities to international standards, the project will ensure better protection for downstream communities, estimated in 1,5 million people, and contribute to safe energy production and the sustainability of infrastructure.


Living Landscapes for Market Development in Armenia

15.04.2021 - 31.05.2025

Mountain ecosystems in Armenia are an important productive asset for rural communities, but they are rapidly deteriorating due to inappropriate exploitation and management. Within a region-wide project that preserves the natural basis of life through more sustainable use of resources, the Swiss contribution will introduce in Armenia economic incentives for the conservation of natural resources, while creating additional income. This will reduce rural poverty and support the implementation of Armenian policies and international commitments.


Cryospheric Observation and Modelling for improved Adaptation in Central Asia (CROMO-ADAPT)

01.04.2021 - 31.12.2025

Climate change in Central Asia mountain regions will have significant impacts on water availability and occurrence of natural hazards. This project strengthens the glacier, snow and permafrost monitoring systems and capacities in Central Asia, develops user-oriented climate information services, and supports the planning of adaptation measures to increase resilience to climate change. The project builds on Swiss expertise in monitoring and adaptation in alpine water and disaster risk management.


Promotion de l‘emploi et de revenus non agricoles dans la région des Grands Lacs grâce à la production de matériaux de construction respectueux du climat (PROECCO)

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024

La forte demande en matériel de construction due à l’urbanisation rapide dans la région des Grands Lacs prédispose ce secteur à la création d’emploi et à offrir une perspective économique au grand nombre de jeunes dans la région. L’introduction par le projet PROECCO de briques améliorées, abordables et neutres en CO2 répondant aux normes de résistance et de durabilité a créé une forte demande. Pour la troisième phase, il s’agit d’appuyer le secteur privé à augmenter la production pour satisfaire la demande et d’atteindre les effets escomptés en emplois et en réduction des émissions de CO2


PFNL - Programme d’appui à la valorisation des produits forestiers non ligneux au Burkina Faso

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2024

Au Burkina Faso, le fort potentiel en produits forestiers non ligneux peut être davantage exploité au profit des populations vulnérables en améliorant la sécurité alimentaire et la création de revenus. Pour une dernière phase, la Suisse, avec le cofinancement des Pays-Bas, consolide les acquis d’une manière durable tout en soutenant l’extension dans une nouvelle région pour prendre en compte, en particulier les personnes déplacées internes (PDI), les femmes et les jeunes affectés par la crise sécuritaire.  


Contribution to the UN-REDD Pro-gramme (single phase)

15.12.2020 - 31.12.2025

Forests are a central solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their sustainable management is an imperative for the planet but also for millions of vulnerable people. The UN-REDD Programme is a key player in accelerating the implementation of appropriate policies and actions in tropical low and lower-middle income countries to reduce deforestation and restore forests. The contribution will allow for a strong Swiss engagement jointly with the Federal Office of the Environment, and for the capitalization of existing work of the four SDC domains on forest ecosystems and related livelihoods.


Strengthening the climate resilience portfolio of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery

01.12.2020 - 30.11.2024

Climate change is an amplifier of natural hazards and a threat to human lives, sustainable development and poverty reduction. The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) of the World Bank aims to substantially increase investments in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Building on Switzerland’s role as champion and custodian of climate resilience within GFDRR, it will support climate mainstreaming in all GFDRR activities.


Woody Weeds Plus

01.12.2020 - 31.12.2023

Based on the research results of CABI Switzerland and the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Berne, the Kenyan government implements the national Prosopis strategy aiming at sustainable management of this fast spreading invasive species. The Woody Weeds Plus project coaches this effort and implements a multi-stakeholder approach to address pastoralist livelihoods and to restore pastures and ecosystem services in arid and semi-arid lands. 


Low Carbon Cement (LCC) - Phase 3 (Exit Phase)

15.09.2020 - 30.11.2022

Cement production contributes significantly to global warming. This phase aims at the commercial deployment of a new cement type (LC3) which emits 15-30% less CO2 compared to standard cements. LC3 was extensively researched by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) with partners in Cuba and India. Industrial deployment will be achieved through commercial production and application by the construction sector mainly in India and Latin America with support of the project.


Green Climate Fund Core Contribution 2020-2023 (GCF-1)

01.09.2020 - 31.12.2023

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) finances low-emission and climate-resilient development projects and programs with a focus on the most vulnerable countries. The Swiss contribution to GCF’s first formal replenishment period 2020-23 places Switzerland amongst the top ten donors based on per capita contributions. Switzerland advocates in the GCF governing board for impact-oriented projects with maximum development co-benefits, social inclusion and effective private sector engagement. 

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