Center for Global Development and Sustainability

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Program on Climate Change, Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods

The Program on Climate Change, Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods aims to develop adaptation, resilience and sustainable livelihood options for marginal and vulnerable societies and communities in developing and emerging middle-income countries. Working in collaboration with regional partners, the group seeks to achieve its objectives through applied empirical research and by linking national and regional climate change researchers to globally respected scientific expertise. At the program’s inaugural meeting in 2014, GDS established the Applied Knowledge and Intervention Network of collaborating institutions in West and East Africa, North East and South Asia to develop resilience and sustainable livelihood options as well as ensure food security for vulnerable communities. Our work in this area is focused on linking research to effective policy and practical measures that assist communities to develop needed adaptations.

Conceptual Background

Approaching storm, the PhilippinesHumans are dependent upon the natural environment and ecosystems for their livelihoods and well-being. The dependence is more pronounced for the poor, as the environment is the primary source of materials required for their survival and livelihood security. The predicted consequences of climatic/environmental variability and climate change are diverse (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2014). Current environmental variability and consequent climate change is projected to cause increasing global temperatures, changing weather, rising sea levels and more frequent and intense extreme weather events (IPCC Working Group I, 2007). Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean are the most vulnerable regions to environmental change and climate variability because they are home to the majority of the world’s poorest people (IPCC Working Group II, 2007). For these regions, projections suggest that by the end of the twenty-first century, environmental change and climate variability will have substantial impact on agricultural production and consequently the scope of sustaining livelihoods and reducing poverty.

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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