The role of local innovation in supporting climate-change adaptation

During the International Partners Workshop in Cambodia in 2006, Prolinnova partners expressed their interest in looking into the link between climate-change adaptation and participatory innovation development (PID). After all, if farmers are constantly having to adapt to changes in local conditions, whatever the cause of these changes may be, some of their innovation efforts will most probably also be aimed at coping with the effects of climate change. Prolinnova partners then mobilised a small amount of funding to make an initial study to explore the relevance of local adaptation/innovation and the PID approach to climate-change adaptation at the local level. More specifically, the aims were to:

  • systematically document local experimentation processes that come about as a response to a locally felt need to adapt to climate change
  • understand local communities’ perceptions of “climate change”
  • stimulate documentation of local innovation (processes) at local level
  • draw lessons on the potential impact/influence of local innovation processes on climate-change adaptation policies and programmes.

Most of the activities were carried out by partners in Ethiopia, Nepal and Niger. In addition, some partners in the Andes brought in their experience and studies on local people’s strategies for dealing with climatic risks. For further information about this work, see the concept note: Strengthening local adaptive capacities: the role of local innovation in supporting climate-change adaptation (Word file; 126 KB). Reports from the studies are posted on this website. For a brief account of an approach developed by some Prolinnova-Andes partners, see: Katalysis: Enabling Andean Farmers to Weather Climate Change (PDF file; 130 KB).

In the meantime, Prolinnova Country Platforms in Asia (Cambodia, India and Nepal) and eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) have designed programmes to enhance the resilience of smallholder communities to climate (and other) change through PID. More information can be found under and respectively.

Contacts in International Support Team:

Ann Waters-Bayer ( and Chesha Wettasinha (

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