Policy & Advocacy

Resilience that protects

Climate change is leading to increasingly frequent and more severe hazards and disasters. Poor people are the most vulnerable and hardest hit.

We’re helping to make resilience a way of life, by advising people on how to adapt their lives to a changing climate and put plans and systems in place to predict disasters and minimise their impact.

And we’re contributing to joint efforts to promote environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development.

Our approach and priorities

Practical Action has worked on climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for over two decades. Climate change affects everyone, but its effects are felt most by those who contribute to it the least – the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities, living in areas such as drought-prone sub-Saharan Africa, or in marginal areas such as floodplains or unstable hillsides.

Because of this, we embed climate change adaptation across all of our work; in energy access, agriculture, disaster resilience and urban WASH and waste management. Similarly, many of our projects aim to increase resilience in the face of a changing climate and the increasing frequency of natural hazards.

We define resilience as the ability of a system, community, or society to pursue its social, ecological, and economic development and growth objectives, while managing its disaster risk over time in a mutually reinforcing way.  This captures the essential forward-looking component of resilience; we do not want people to be resilient while denying their aspirations to improve their wellbeing.

A systemic approach is critical to the success of our work. This means not working with communities in isolation, but bringing together all actors – including the private sector, and local and national governments – with a role to play in shaping the risk environment. Only with a holistic approach will DRR be integrated into current and future development.

Our key policy objectives

Our policy influencing approach to Climate and Resilience is based on research and operational experience gained over many years in South Asia, Africa and Latin America.

We embed climate change as a cross-cutting theme across our four thematic areas. This work, in energy access, agriculture, disaster risk reduction and urban services, is climate smart and is designed to equip poor people to adapt to a changing climate and cope with severe weather events, while also capturing evidence and knowledge to generate the political will necessary to deliver this at scale.

  • We will put poor people central to the climate change agenda to ensure that mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage actions deliver for and do not compromise the development choices of the poorest. Only by reducing the risk of the poorest and most vulnerable will the risk exposure of the whole community be reduced.
  • In the countries where we are working we will explore the causal relationship between climate change and natural hazards to help people better cope with uncertainty and underlying risk.
  • We will work with all stakeholders including the private sector to understand the role that markets play (both positively and negatively) in building the resilience of the poorest and most vulnerable.
  • We will call on governments and other key stakeholders to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction into their policies.
  • We will understand the links between smallholder farmers, climate change and opportunities to benefit smallholder farming systems that address the climate challenges making markets work for poverty reduction, food security and environmental sustainability.
  • We aim to better understand climate change as a trigger for human migration. As climate stresses increase more people will choose short term temporary migration as well as permanent migration as a mitigation action.

Latest Documentation

Building flood resilience in vulnerable communities

Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard and cause huge economic, social and humanitaria...

Policy Paper (3 MB)

10 things to know: Gender equality and achieving climate goals

This report draws out the headline messages of a research project by Practical Action Consulting (PAC) with the Institut...

Agricultural adaptation to climate change

Poor and rural communities in developing countries are among the worst affected by climate change. Most people living in...

Policy Paper (1 MB)

The Right Climate for Development: why the SDGs must act on climate change

This briefing outlines the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Review (AR5) that...