ClimBeR: Building Systemic Resilience Against Climate Variability and Extremes


The principal challenge addressed by this Initiative is the poor climate adaptation preparedness of the food and agricultural systems in low- and middle-income countries. The adverse impacts of climate variability and extremes in the Global South are well documented. The loss of productive assets and human capital, coupled with the effect of uncertainty on agricultural investments, stymie smallholders’ efforts to improve livelihoods, exacerbating poverty and social tensions.

This Initiative’s partner countries face serious climate vulnerabilities, including droughts, floods, and high temperatures in Kenya, Senegal, and Zambia; droughts and high temperatures in Morocco and Guatemala; and floods and rising temperatures in the Philippines.

Demand has shifted from understanding climate change impacts to designing innovations and directing financial flows to achieve ambitious climate and food systems targets. Isolated interventions to increase crop yields or strengthen markets no longer suffice; it is critical to transform systems to simultaneously enhance resilience, productivity and equity.


This Initiative aims to transform the climate adaptation capacity of food, land and water systems in six low- and middle-income countries, ultimately increasing the resilience of smallholder production systems to withstand severe climate change effects like drought, flooding and high temperatures.


This objective will be achieved through:

  • Reducing risk in production system-linked livelihoods and value chains at scale, through agricultural risk management, digital agro-climate services, climate-smart agricultural innovations, diversifying production systems and reducing nutritional impacts of climatic risks.
  • Building production-system resilience through recognizing the relationships among climate, agriculture, security and peace, by providing robust science on the climate security and agriculture nexus, and designing evidence-based environmental, political and gender equitable solutions.
  • Developing adaptation instruments to inform policy and investment, integrating a top-down approach using participatory scenario workshops, in-country task forces and knowledge integration workshops; and a bottom-up collective imagination of futures, incorporating existing innovative grassroots practices and ensuring the inclusion of women, youth and marginalized groups.
  • Multiscale governance for transformative adaptation, through: developing and integrating bottom-up multiscale polycentric governance frameworks for reducing systemic cascading risks; co-demonstrating transformative adaptation options with relevant actors to illustrate applicability across scales; and co-developing “champions of change” to advocate for multiscale polycentric governance.


Proposed 3-year outcomes include:

  1. Bundled climate services developed by the Initiative are being used by at least 300,000 vulnerable farmers, at least 30% of whom are women, in six focal countries.
  2. International agencies and policymakers use products of the Initiative to shape at least nine policies or investments to strengthen agricultural resilience, including at least three aimed at reducing agriculture-related climate security risk.
  3. At least US$30 million in new investments made through the Initiative’s partnerships, focusing on disadvantaged groups, women, youth and vulnerable smallholder farmers, contributing to building systemic resilience.


Projected impacts and benefits include:


A thorough system transformation, comprising bundles of technical innovations supported by new policies and multilevel institutional arrangements, helps smallholders to adapt successfully to climate change impacts, benefiting 30 million people.


Innovations reducing the impact of variable weather and extreme events improve food security for 3 million people. For instance, the use of bundled climate services improves agricultural production and resilience, laying the foundation for improved food security.


Improved production-system resilience through recognizing the relationships among climate, agriculture, security and peace generates long-lasting co-benefits in terms of reducing poverty, improving livelihoods and creating jobs, benefiting 13 million people.


At least US$30 million in new investments made by 2024 focusing on disadvantaged groups, women, youth and vulnerable smallholder farmers contributes to building their systemic resilience. This begins to close the gender gap for more than 5 million women working in food, land and water systems.


An integrated social-ecological-technological bundle approach with supporting policies and institutions supports successful scaling of climate-resilient agricultural ecosystem services, bringing 21 million hectares of land under sustainable management.


How CGIAR Will Help 30 Million Smallholder Farmers Adapt to Climate Change by 2030

For more details, view the Initiative proposal


Header photo: Rice production in Jawhar, Maharastra, India. Photo by N. Palmer/Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CCAFS.