Session 2 - Climate Change in the World’s Most Vulnerable Places - Innovations in Adaptation

Fall 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015 to Friday, November 13, 2015

Featuring cases from a variety of regions, this session will examine the realities of environmental degradation and climate change for the world’s most vulnerable. How are countries, organizations like CRS, and the international donor community working to integrate climate change adaptation into comprehensive development strategies? And what can we do as Americans to support this work? 

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Course materials

Module Materials

Learning Objectives

Learn about the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on vulnerable populations

Study examples of what adaptation to climate change looks like in the context of a comprehensive approach to development

Reflect on our responsiblities toward those who are especially vulnerable to global climate change 

Primary Resources

Background on climate change and CRS's Integrated approach

Case studies - The reality of climate change for vulnerable populations and how adaptation can build stronger communities

Haiti: Coffee and Mango Production in a Changing Climate

Policy Brief by CIAT (The International Center for Tropical Agriculture), 8 pages. This brief summarizes a recent study conducted by CIAT and CRS which revealed that future changes in temperature and rainfall patterns will have significant effects on the suitability of coffee and mango for production in Haiti.


Ethiopia: From Parched Land to Plentiful Harvest

By CRS, 2 pages.


Ethiopia: Improving the Land to End Hunger

Video, 4:14, on how managing the watershed reversed deforestation and erosion in one community. Through improved techniques, the community was able to restore the grass coverage, an important resource that has led to healthier animals, improved homes and bigger incomes. Most important, thousands are now able to eat three times a day.


Overview of Ethiopia's Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy

By the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Environmental Protection Authority, powerpoint presentation, 17 pages.


Ethiopia: Can it adapt to climate chage and build a green economy?

Blog post by Nanki Kaur, International Institute for Environment and Development.


Watershed Development: Experience from the WALA program

An excellent complement to the Ethiopia case, see also this report by CRS on the innovative watershed work in Malawi. The Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program is a five-year $81 million food security program funded by USAID’s Food for Peace office. WALA is led by CRS and implemented by a consortium of private voluntary organizations. WALA has implemented watershed management activities in 32 areas across eight districts and has become a model program for CRS and its partners. 


Relief Before Disaster: Prepared for the Worst

By Jen Hardy of CRS, 2 pages.


Extending Impact: Factors Influencing Households to Adopt Hazard Resistant Construction Practices in Post-Disaster Settings

By Marilise Turnbull, Charlotte Sterrett, Seki Hirano, and Amy Hilleboe of CRS, 2015, 59 pages. Recommended: Executive Summary, Introduction, and infographic on Bangladesh (p. 6). Storms are increasing in magnitude and frequency, while funding for humanitarian response is decreasing. This study examines the factors that increase the likelihood that a family will "build back safer" after a storm.


Zimbabwe: The Power of Climate Change in Zimbabwe

Published September 20, 2016. Author: Rebekah Kates Lemke.  This story is part of a year-long campaign called Living on the Edge of Climate Change, which shows how the changing environment is affecting the world's most vulnerable.


Secondary Resources
  • Climate Change Facts, by the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Watch the 13:21-minute video based on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, titled IPCC Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. The video considers several questions, among which: 1) What role does inequality play in the way climate change impact is felt? 2) In what ways are people mitigating and adapting to climate change? 3) What will enable necessary mitigation and adaptation internationally?
  • Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance "formed to leverage policy, technical and financing support for grassroots national and regional-level programmes and initiatives that can drive the widespread adoption of CSA practices throughout Sub-Saharan Africa" 
  • Questions and Answers: Knowledge on Climate-Smart Agriculture, by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 3 pages 
  • Agroecology offers FAO a 'new window' on agriculture, by Laura Silici, International Institute for Environment and Development, blogpost, October 2014
  • Integrated Watershed Management in Harbu,” report pages 17-23 of The Road to Resilience: Case Studies on Building Resilience in the Horn of Africa, by CRS
  • CRS Site on Climate Change 


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