Climate Resilience

Overall Goal: Communities resist, absorb and recover from climate change.

Problem analysis: Climate change can irreversibly damage the natural resource base rural communities depend on, affecting their right to food. Lack of resilience is caused by among others a limited knowledge and capacity to adapt to climate change. Though the effects of climate change are disproportionate, the poorest are the most vulnerable in both rural and urban settings. However, they are seldom included in decision-making or organised at community, national and international levels.

During this period (2016-2018), NCA and partners have engaged 133,315 rights holders, boosting communities’ risk mitigation capacity through applying methods to protect important infrastructure and ensured food security in times of more extreme weather conditions. 


Implementing Countries

Our Results

Outcome 1

Context specific minimum standards for mitigating risk to structural interventions

Minimum standards are needed simply to keep people safe and protect their assets. Investing in the planting of vegetation around structures have protected important infrastructure, such as roads, schools, buildings, bridges, housing, storage facilities and water supply schemes. More than 3,000 physical structures now meet the context-specific minimum standards. Improvements to the soil have directly protected areas previously troubled by erosion during flash flooding.

Outcome 2

Communities adapted their food production to changes in climate 

Over this period, farmers have adopted climate-smart agriculture techniques that safeguard yields during extreme weather conditions. Vulnerable rain-fed agriculture is being counteracted by adjusting farming calendars, adoption of better seeds, new techniques and irrigation systems, which have enhanced both soil and harvests.

Outcome 3

Communities implemented sustainable land management plans

Sustainable land management is critical to withstand the impact of floods and droughts. It requires collaboration of communities and local governments. A shift in mindset is noted in all the countries, as rights holders and duty bearers now consider the value of trees higher than the sheer value of the timber they produce. 

Outcome 4

Organised civil society structures demonstrated action on climate resilience

Outcome four includes outcome five, which is implemented as an output under outcome four in Angola, Burundi, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Haiti. No country has selected outcome five.  

A proactive approach to climate change necessitates long-term solutions where communities themselves can manage, maintain and implement measures. Targeted communities now have better capacity and are more and more being recognised by the authorities for their role in Disaster Risk Management (DRM). 

Key innovations from the programme area

Climate change affects all development sectors. Synergy with other programmes proves to have great potential, not least for sustainability. Ethiopia and Burundi have both been successful in creating synergies between the WASH and the Climate Resilience programmes, securing win-win solutions for both. As a result of investments made in fostering south-south exchanges the Community of Practice (COP) for Climate resilience, colleagues from NCA Zambia certified by the Asia Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) assisted in NCA and partners’ response to cyclone Idai in Malawi.

In Burundi community resilience has increased as a result of an innovative method introduced by NCA’s local partner CEISPU, using human excreta to produce a natural fertiliser for agriculture. With small inputs, a high value product has been produced and commercialised. This method not only improves soil fertility and food security, but it also contributes to improved hygiene by safely recycling excreta available through community sanitation systems into a new product. Demand has been stimulated, yielding a good return on the investment. This innovation has potential for replication also to other countries, if the use of human excreta does not present serious challenges to cultural norms.

Another low-cost environmentally friendly innovation by local partner Village Water Zambia is using old ant hills as foundation for water pumps, avoiding the use of concrete and thus also reducing emissions from transport. These ant hills are usually permanent in communities, as they are stronger than concrete and close to impossible to destroy.

Lessons learned and adaptation

After three years of implementation, community mobilisation has shown the most promising advancement. Farmers are feeling the effects of climate change on their harvests and are quick to adapt their farming practices. Churches and faith-based organisations can mobilise communities for climate resilience, and also provide infrastructure, organisation and ability to mobilise, and are increasingly recognised as vital to the government structure needed to fulfill the commitment to the Sendai framework on Disaster Reduction. During the past three years climate change has been lifted on the agenda, partly due to more media coverage, but also because the impacts of climate change globally are experienced at a faster rate than anticipated.

A lesson learned is that the development and implementation of sustainable land management plans takes more time than projected. However, there is now a momentum to speed up the process with land management plans to ensure investments and commitments are made for a sustainable future. Negative effects as a result of climate change impacts all development sectors. This fact becomes an opportunity for various actors to come together acknowledging a common challenge and could bridge the gap between civil society and governments where they come together to prevent damage and loss. NCA therefore plans to emphasise the advocacy aspects of climate resilience, in the coming programme framework from 2020.

Results case

NCA’s local partner ADRA in Angola successfully scales up rainwater harvesting system now adopted by municipalities

Access to adequate water is a major challenge for communities in the south of Angola, where periodic droughts are becoming frequent.