Climate change poses a particular threat to developing economies that rely heavily on natural resources, as is the norm in much of the Asia and Pacific region. Large shares of the population, especially in rural and coastal areas, depend on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, fishing, forestry and, to a lesser extent, tourism. This has made protecting livelihoods a priority in adaptation efforts.

This policy brief draws on multiple studies sponsored by the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia (AKP), which enlisted researchers in 13 Asian countries to evaluate adaptation needs, engage with policy-makers, planners and practitioners at the national, sub-national and local levels, and interact directly with communities through case studies and pilot projects.

Climate change impacts are already being felt, primarily in the form of more erratic rainfall, water scarcity, shifts in the seasons, and more extreme weather. Though several of these countries have a long history of coping with severe storms and other disasters, the impacts are now greater, due not only to climate change, but also to urbanization and other socio-economic changes. New resource-intensive livelihoods, such as commercial shrimp farming, are also exacerbating vulnerability to climate impacts.

Risks to livelihoods are widely recognized, and governments, communities and individuals – as well as international donors and NGOs – are working to reduce them. There is a particular need to address the livelihood needs of poor and marginalized populations, who are now least able to cope with environmental and economic shocks.

Download the policy brief (PDF, 1.37MB)