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 disasters to help people better cope with uncertainty and natural disasters.
  • 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

Case Study (505 kB)

How do gender approaches contribute to climate compatible development? Lessons from Kenya

The Kenyan case study examined the experiences of Kisumu, Kenya, drawing lessons from the five-year project ‘People’...

(933 kB)

Synthesis of the Stocktaking Report for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation process in Nepal

The Government of Nepal (GoN) is committed to responding to climate change risks and impacts through integrated policies...

Case Study (529 kB)

How do gender approaches improve climate compatible development? Lessons from Peru

The Peruvian case study examined the experiences of the Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Networks (known lo...


Interview series of the Nairobi work programme - Episode 3

Sven Harmeling (CARE International), Karin Lexén (SIWI) and Colin McQuistan (Practical Action) discuss why action on cl...