UKRI report outlines key priorities for climate change adaptation

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A report published today concludes that speedy and collaborative action is key to adapting to climate change.

The report summarises the findings of an international events series hosted by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) last year in the run up to the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

The COP26 ‘adaptation and resilience events series’ showcased collaborative, locally-led, and globally relevant research aligned to the UK COP26 presidency’s adaptation loss and damage theme.

It focused on how we can respond to and prepare for the impacts of climate change in a wide range of locations across the globe.


International participants, comprising governments and policy makers, funders, businesses, and researchers from a range of disciplines concluded that:

  • there is an urgent need to accelerate more ambitious and coordinated climate adaptation action
  • strengthening links between adaptation research, policy and practice and facilitating cross-stakeholder dialogue is key for driving research into action
  • innovative and accessible finance is required from both the public and private sectors to support adaptation at a range of scales
  • reducing the impact of climate change on biodiversity and local ecosystems can enhance the ability of local communities to adapt
  • learning from responses to the COVID-19 outbreak around the scale and speed of global research collaboration and coordination achievable would support the response to climate change.

18 events, 12 partner countries

Eighteen events were co-hosted with 12 partner countries and international research teams.

The events highlighted the importance of taking multidisciplinary approaches to future climate adaptation research and ensuring equitable research partnerships.

Embedding local knowledge throughout the research and enabling co-design of solutions by local stakeholders from a range of sectors is fundamental to achieving effective and inclusive adaptation.

Monitoring, evaluation, and data sharing, with input from local communities were also cited as crucial for assessing the success of climate adaptation interventions.

Global events

The launch event took place in the UK in June 2021, with nine subsequent events co-hosted by partners across:

  • Africa
  • Latin America and in Chile
  • China
  • India
  • Philippines
  • Thailand.

A further nine thematically-focused events were organised by the research community, covering topics such as:

  • ocean and insect resilience
  • the impact of climate change on human health.

Turning commitments into action

Dr Sarah Webb, Associate Director, International at the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UKRI, said:

This events series has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the challenges of adapting to climate change.

It recommends a way ahead to help governments worldwide turn COP26 commitments into action.

There is a clear role for UKRI to meet demand for relevant, accessible climate adaptation data and evidence.

We are also embedding adaptation, collaboration and equity across all our research.

Read the report: UKRI report outlines key priorities for climate change adaptation

Watch our compilation video to view highlights from the events series.

Further information

Collaborative climate adaptation research

UKRI is working with other UK and international government bodies to drive forwards interdisciplinary, international and cross-stakeholder collaborative climate adaptation research through a wide variety of programmes, such as:

UKCDR review

The UK Collaborative for Development Research (UKCDR) recently reviewed UK-funded research on climate change and international development.

The review highlighted the crucial role of funders in enabling impact and recommended improvements in aligning research to local contexts and in the sustainability of the funding cycle.

UKCDR have also developed the Equitable Partnerships Resource Hub which brings together relevant tools, guidance and resources from global partners focused on ensuring equity in international research partnerships.

Briefings for policymakers

The Royal Society has produced a series of briefings for policymakers on key science and technology areas for accelerating global progress towards ‘net zero’ and increased resilience to climate change.

Adaptation Research Alliance

A bold new coalition of global adaptation actors has been created, the Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA).

ARA will catalyse and scale investment in action-oriented research and innovation for adaptation that strengthens resilience in communities most vulnerable to climate change.

Advance of COP26

A significant advance of COP26 was in adaptation and resilience gaining high-level political traction, support, and recognition, with many countries announcing allocations to the Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund.

Glasgow climate pact

Consensus amongst world leaders on urgently accelerating climate action is growing, with nearly 200 countries having agreed the Glasgow climate pact (PDF, 7.55MB) and outstanding elements of the Paris Agreement at COP26.

Top image:  Credit: E4C, E+ via Getty Images

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