ClimBeR: Building Systemic Resilience Against Climate Variability and Extremes


The adverse impacts of climate variability and extremes on food, land, and water systems are well documented. The resulting loss of productive assets and human capital, coupled with the effect of uncertainty on investments in agricultural innovation, frustrates smallholders’ efforts to improve their livelihoods in risk-prone environments. There are three main roadblocks to systemic transformation: (1) the lack of a transdisciplinary and multi-systems approach to address the complexity of building resilience against climate variability and extremes, (2) limited farmer empowerment and adaptive capacity, and (3) failure to scale demand-led CGIAR innovations quickly enough to trigger systemic transformation.

To date, the incremental and piecemeal adoption of climate resilience innovations has lagged behind the rapid shifts in productivity under climate variability and extremes. Good science and new technologies alone are insufficient to generate the required pace, scale, and depth of change needed. The challenge is to deliver bundled socio-technical innovation packages that empower millions of users at the scale and pace required to trigger systemic transformation and ensure that sustainable development is equitable and inclusive.


This Initiative aims to build more climate resilience systems, benefitting 20 million farmers by 2024, to withstand climate variability and extremes. It will generate knowledge about climate security as an imperative for climate resilience, and transform this into action by connecting knowledge, innovations, and institutions to specific regional and national challenges.

This will be achieved through:

  • Co-development of climate resilience innovation packages to enhance access to and use of technologies and practices that increase climate resilience considering the links between climate, security, and peace.
  • Enhancement of climate-informed knowledge exchange and risk management services, helping farmers to: access critical meteorological information they currently lack, identify and address probable future climate risks, and access risk-management services.
  • Support for policy and institutional reforms for transformational change, and policy coherence across climate, food security, poverty, and peace, acknowledging the linkages across these dimensions and using a systems lens.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. Digital-enabled bundled climate knowledge-exchange services developed by the Initiative to de-risk livelihoods and value chains are being used by at least three digital service providers in each target country, reducing losses due to climate variability and extremes.
  2. CGIAR climate science informs 10 development programs or policies of regional bodies, national governments, and humanitarian and development institutions, steering US$500 million of investments to build farmers’ climate resilience.
  3. CGIAR climate science directly shapes 14 national and/or regional policy decisions on climate resilience.
  4. Scaling partners in each of the six target countries are using Initiative innovations to empower farmers to make decisions, leading to increased resilience with a focus on increasing the agency of women, youth, and other marginalized groups.



The enabling environment to support a cohort of drivers of climate adaptation interventions is developed, at the magnitude and speed necessary to achieve rapid and broad transformation. Thirteen policies and adaptation plans show evidence of implementation via investments worth US$900 million, reaching 7 million beneficiaries.


The number of people directly benefiting from CGIAR innovations that target improved food security and enhanced nutrition and health is improved by reducing the impact of variable weather and extreme events on vulnerable populations.


Farmers are enabled to exit poverty by enhancing their livelihoods through: overcoming risk as a barrier to adoption of socio-technical innovation bundles, access to credit, and the development of value chains. The climate security work generates long-lasting co-benefits in terms of reducing poverty, improving livelihoods, and creating jobs.


The creation of gender-responsive digital services that improve access to information reduces the impact of variable weather and extreme climate events on women and youth as well as marginalized groups, thus increasing their agency. National-level action on systemic risk emphasizes gender and socially inclusive scaling mechanisms.


Nature-based solutions are advanced as economically viable climate resilience options, resulting in improved land management and restoration of deforested land. Policy decisions promote environmental health and biodiversity as a means to achieving climate resilience.


For more details, view the full preliminary outline
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Header photo: Rice production in Jawhar, Maharastra, India. Photo by N. Palmer/Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CCAFS.