Through targeted advocacy, creative cooperation and scaled resource delivery, the ARA targets to ensure that knowledge needs for climate change adaptation and resilience actions are effectively addressed.
The world of science relies on one basic element to drive it: research. All the different concepts encompassed in science, the complex systems and multiple caveats begin with research. This research paves the way for solutions, actions and implementations of the solutions. Across the globe every day, research efforts are continuously taken to obtain better understanding of any given phenomenon. However, there rises a question of research meeting action: Are we effectively using our understanding of an issue to address it?
Let’s take the crisis of climate change as an example. There are several stakeholders at play including the global research community, which has been delving deep into the multifaceted concept of climate change, the political players and the actors in the frontlines such as local communities. In order to build coordination among these stakeholders, there is a need to drive and support investment in action-oriented research.
With this objective in mind, the representatives of 31 organisations spanning 194 economies have come together at the Gobeshona Global Conference on Locally Led Adaptation organized by International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) on 23rd January 2021, to declare their intent to co-develop the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA), a bold new global partnership to catalyse and scale investment in action-oriented research for climate adaptation and resilience. The ARA believes that there is a growing need for adaptation solutions to be based on evidence in current times. However, the global research community is inadequately mobilised and lacks the comprehensive connection to front-line actors. The consequence of which results in research efforts being insufficient in meeting global demand for coordinated and actionable evidence to guide effective adaptation and resilience strategies that will reduce the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable. Therefore, in order to address the risks and impacts of climate change, research has to be mobilised in a manner that is action and evidence based as well as trans-disciplinary and coordinated with practitioners in the forefronts.
The mission of ARA is split in two ways. First, ARA aims to accelerate and scale investments in action-oriented research in developing countries that addresses the urgent need for knowledge on adaptation and resilience of the most vulnerable communities. Secondly, ARA intends to build capacity at all stages from research to action; strengthen research-implementation linkages, and promote greater learning. ARA will perform three key functions: advocacy, improve communication, coordination, collaboration and research mobilization and delivery. Through targeted advocacy, creative cooperation and scaled resource delivery, the ARA targets to ensure that knowledge needs for climate change adaptation and resilience actions are effectively addressed. It also ensures that progress that can be measured and proof of effectiveness of the previous and current adaptation interventions are also taken into account. In terms of developing countries, this includes investment for user-centric research that has the ability to promote long-term capacity building.
Simply put, the ARA is an initiative that links together researchers who are working on adaptation in different countries around the world and practitioners of adaptation. This in particular helps the most vulnerable developing countries across Asia and Africa who are at the forefront of tackling climate change on a regular basis. These countries are learning as they go, and this valuable knowledge can come in useful for other developed countries consequently when they face the impacts of climate change with time. This initiative facilitates this sharing of knowledge to ensure better planning and coordination to deal with climate change.
By 2030, the ARA hopes to see the research community as an integral partner to policymakers, practitioners and vulnerable communities, as well as support the implementation of user-driven solutions for adaptation and resilience from the global to local levels. The ARA will work together in the run-up to the 26th session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC to co-develop the ARA and ensure that it sets targets for ambitious and realistic outcomes that enable adaptation and resilience research that is led by needs of the most vulnerable and develops solutions commensurate with the scale of the climate emergency.
The ARA has the potential to bring a systemic change for climate change adaptation through research. To develop programs that build networks to drive transformational change for communities and ensure that measures are taken to bridge the gap between research and action ARA can be a changemaker. In the global battle against climate change, this new approach holds the capacity to change the game for the better.
Adeeba Nuraina Risha is working at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development as a Research Officer. Adeeba can be reached at [email protected]