The Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia (AKP) grew out of a recognition that countries across the region faced potentially dramatic climate change impacts, but lacked the knowledge and capacity to effectively reduce vulnerability and plan for a more climate-resilient future.

National-level knowledge about projected climate change impacts, sectoral implications, drivers of vulnerability, and potential adaptation measures varies greatly across Asia. Some countries have built a significant knowledge base, while others still have little to work with.

Across all countries we have studied, knowledge about climate change and adaptation at sub-national levels is far more limited, especially at the local level. To some extent, this is due to systemic failures: lack of capacity-building and training, and inadequate knowledge dissemination mechanisms. However, much of the needed knowledge simply does not exist yet – from meteorological records, to hydrological models, down-scaled climate models, region-specific agricultural research, and vulnerability assessments.

Language is a major barrier, and there is a strong need for materials in national and local languages. Climate research is also often framed in ways that are difficult for policy-makers, planners and practitioners to grasp, and that doesn’t answer questions they consider crucial. This is particularly true regarding climate uncertainty.

Our research also found that local knowledge and traditions are crucial for effective adaptation, but are sorely underrepresented in most countries’ current adaptation knowledge base. Participatory processes that combine capacity-building with knowledge generation can help bridge these gaps. Engaging policy-makers, planners and a broad range of stakeholders can also help build local capacity for adaptation.

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