Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions

People living in Africa and South Asia's semi-arid regions face challenges that hinder their economic growth and development. This project seeks to find proactive, longer-term approaches to climate change adaptation in these vulnerable regions, while helping locals manage existing risks.

Short-term focus must shift
So far, responses to climate threats in these regions have focused mainly on short-term solutions, such as early warning systems, famine relief, and soil and water conservation. However, long-term climate projections suggest that a more profound response will be needed by mid-century. The research team will respond to this knowledge and development gap through a program involving regional diagnostic studies, research, knowledge synthesis, and information sharing in semi-arid regions.

Long-term, sustainable adaptation
The project, which falls under IDRC's Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia program, draws on a number of disciplines found in the five consortium partners. It will address the complex interactions between climate, biophysical, social, political, and economic dynamics. The project team will integrate research on each of these aspects through transformative scenario planning, which is an effective methodology for bringing sometimes disparate stakeholders together to address complex problems.

Results to support adaptation to climate change
The project will generate credible information that decision-makers and others can use to develop robust adaptation strategies. Research teams will conduct their work in several countries across Africa and South Asia.

The results are expected to help these regions shift from their current adaptation practices and policies into a mode that achieves proactive, widespread adaptation. With that, vulnerable groups will gain the skills and adaptive strategies they need to enhance their livelihoods over the long-term.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


57 months

IDRC Officer

Sandra Gagnon

Total funding

CA$ 13,260,395


North of Sahara, South of Sahara, South Asia


Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia

Project Leader

Mark New


University of Cape Town

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website