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Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change in the Global South

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Global warming has already begun to reshape the lived experience of citizens in both developed and developing countries, producing larger and more destructive wildfires, longer and more and severe droughts, and more powerful and frequent flooding events. While much of the research in these areas is concentrated in the developed world, it is in the developing world where climate impacts will be felt most keenly. With weak social safety nets, low state capacity, and more agrarian economies, poor countries are uniquely vulnerable to climate shocks and uniquely ill-equipped to mitigate the effects of a warming world.

Given the amount of unavoidable warming and the growing movement in the international community to provide funding for adaptation, it is critically important to identify where adaptation has occurred and what policies can effectively encourage future climate adaptation and resilience. The fundamental goals of the initiative are (1) to provide policymakers with an evidence base that can be used to craft adaptation policies and shape funding priorities, and (2) to generate publicly available data that serves as an authoritative and comprehensive resource for researchers and policymakers studying climate adaptation and resilience in the developing world.

Specifically, we will:

  1. Develop a spatially-referenced program database that details where and when a given project was active.
  2. Link this spatially-referenced program database with data on development and socio-economic indicators and measures of economic growth and agricultural output, political stability and conflict, and health.

Using these harmonized data, we will study whether social protections programs reduce the harms of climate change to economic growth, political stability, and health.


Faculty Leads

Initiative Fellows

  • Brandon de la Cuesta, Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL); and Center for Food Security and the Environment (FSE)


For more information about the initiative, please contact King Center Executive Director Jessica Leino at