How to reduce, and adapt to, climate change at the same time

Researchers now understand the conditions necessary for reducing the rate of climate change and those needed to help humans and ecosystems adapt. Both can be done together, thanks to a new ‘analytical framework’


By Elizabeth Kahurani


It has become clear that linking mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change is a more effective and efficient approach than focusing on one or the other. Discussions at United Nations climate talks are heavy on the benefits of this ‘synergy’; climate-finance mechanisms are increasingly looking for projects with links to both; and a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calls for ‘sustainable-development trajectories that combine adaptation and mitigation to reduce climate change and its impacts’.

cocoa, agroforestry, Cameroon, extension

A field extension officer (middle) explains cocoa agroforestry in Cameroon. Findings of a new study show that in developing countries the institutional setup shows strong potential for synergy between mitigation and adaptation. Photo: ASB Partnership

Calling for the two elements to work in parallel is all very well but we need to be able to identify the strongest potential to optimize the benefits from both approaches. In an article published in Environmental Science and Policy, called, ‘A systematic analysis of enabling conditions for synergy between climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in developing countries’, Dr Lalisa Duguma and colleagues from the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins have developed an analytical framework within which they explore four conditions necessary for integrating mitigation and adaptation. These are: i) policies and strategies; ii) institutional arrangements; iii) financing; and iv) programs and projects.


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This work is linked to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Rob Finlayson

Robert Finlayson is the Southeast Asia program's regional communications specialist. As well as writing stories for the Centre's website, he devises and supervises strategies for projects and the countries in the Southeast Asia region, including scripting and producing videos, supervising editors and translators and also assisting with resource mobilization.

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