Dawn at Tadapani, Annapurna Region, Nepal

A village nestled in the mountains of Nepal. Photo: Danny Hu / Getty Images .

The Adaptation at Altitudes (A@A) programme aims to increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of mountain communities and ecosystems by:

  • improving the knowledge of appropriate climate change adaptation strategies in the mountains and
  • transferring that knowledge through science-policy platforms to inform decision-making in national, regional and global policy processes.

The programme seeks to foster exchange of such information among the mountain areas of the world to help in the search for short- and long-term solutions to the problems arising from climate change.

Mountain regions cover about one-quarter of the earth’s land surface and are home to more than 1 billion people. Mountains host an impressive array of natural resources: 25% of terrestrial biodiversity and 60% of all biosphere reserves. They also supply freshwater for lowland irrigation and domestic use for half of the global population. Mountains provide essential ecosystem services for livelihoods. With their rich ethnic and cultural diversity and magical natural beauty, they offer recreation and restoration for residents and visitors alike.

Mountains feature some of the clearest indications of climate change: rising temperatures, melting glaciers and changing precipitation patterns are disrupting water flows and affecting ecosystems, creating and worsening natural hazards and threatening livelihoods and communities both within the mountains and downstream. Mountain livelihoods are particularly sensitive to climate change, both because climate impacts are often more profound in mountains and these impacts take a toll on many people who are already confronting poverty and land degradation.

Mountain people have always faced the challenges of living in a rugged environment and have developed coping strategies to adapt to harsh conditions, but the unprecedented magnitude and speed of climate change puts them under increasing pressure. Traditional adaptation strategies need to be blended with innovative approaches and this knowledge needs to be shared among the mountain communities and with policymakers so that adaptation can match the scale of the changes.

The programme was launched by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation , which funds and co-manages the programme.

Seven partners are involved in the work. SEI’s focus in the programme concerns creating a community of practice on climate change adaptation opportunities in mountains. As part of this effort, SEI and two project partners have created a “Climate Change Adaptation in Mountains” theme on weADAPT , SEI’s signature adaptation platform and network.

As part of the programme, SEI and partners at the University of Geneva and the Zoï Environment Network have also created a new Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal , which offers users a way to explore tried and tested climate change adaptation solutions for mountain regions and see who has implemented the solutions and where they have been implemented.

The project is funded by by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation .

SEI is one of seven partners carrying out work in the project. SEI’s focus concerns creating a community of practice on climate change adaptation opportunities in mountains. As part of this effort, SEI has created a “Climate Change Adaptation in Mountains” theme on weADAPT , SEI’s signature adaptation platform and network.

As part of the programme, SEI and partners at the University of Geneva and the Zoï Environment Network have also created a new Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal , which offers users a way to explore tried and tested climate change adaptation solutions for mountain regions, and to see who has implemented the solutions, and where they have been implemented.

The programme partners are:

  • Mountain Research Initiative – a coordination network for the global mountain research community. Programme focus: strengthening the global network, GEO Mountains , the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments, an initiative that seeks to to identify, collate and make accessible transboundary and inter- and transdisciplinary data and information pertaining to environmental, ecological and societal systems and their changes in mountainous regions globally.
  • Consorcio para el Desarollo Sostenible de la Ecoregión Andina – a non-governmental organization based in Ecuador and Peru working for the conservation of mountain ecosystems and well-being of rural communities in the Andean region. Programme focus: science-policy dialogue and sharing of experiences in the Andes.
  • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development – an intergovernmental knowledge and learning centre working on behalf of the people of the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, the centre works in and for eight regional member countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. Programme focus: science-policy dialogue and sharing of experience in the Hindu Kush Himalaya.
  • United Nations Environment Programme – the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. Programme focus: science-policy dialogue, inter-regional collaboration and sharing of experience in various regions.
  • University of Geneva – Switzerland’s second-largest university. Programme focus: knowledge on climate change adaptation opportunities in mountains.
  • Zoï Environment Network – Swiss non-profit organization that provides analysis and training, policy dialogue and communication services to governments, international organizations and NGOs. Programme focus: influencing global policy processes related to climate change, disaster risk reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals.

SEI and partners at the University of Geneva and the Zoï Environment Network have launched a new Adaptation at Altitude Solutions Portal . The portal offers users a way to explore tried and tested climate change adaptation measures for mountain regions. Users can see who has implemented a given strategy or mechanism, and where these measures have been put in place. Users can use filters to search or they can look for steps being taken in specific geographic regions by using a map search.