Generating Knowledge

Generating Knowledge (GK) focuses on the generation of scientific knowledge to address major research gaps that are currently preventing the support of planned adaptation, especially in areas such as food and agriculture, energy, health and nutrition, urban habitat, and hazards management. GK, in turn, consists of five inter-related research components.

Research Component 1 (RC1) will focus on biophysical drivers and conditions that lead to people’s being vulnerable to climate change. RC1 will:

  • develop detailed mountain-specific and basin-scale climate change scenarios;
  • improve cryosphere-hydrological modelling to assess significant shifts in river-flow regimes, with an aim to develop water-demand and supply scenarios as well as improve and apply water-food impact models; and
  • help researchers better understand climate change’s impacts on extreme events (heat waves, floods, droughts), and quantify these extremes from climate models and, subsequently, impact models.

Research Component 2 (RC2 will focus on socio-economic, governance and gender drivers and conditions leading to vulnerability to climate change. This component will be conducted in close interaction with RC1, to lay the foundations for assessing and analysing climate change adaptation measures and approaches. It will analyse current livelihood systems (changing occupational structures, agricultural practices, including land-use change; reduced dependence on natural resources; and labour out-migration). It will also include measures needed to sustain and improve these systems.

Research Component 3 (RC3) will focus on monitoring and assessing climate change adaptation practices. RC3 will create robust evidence and improved understanding of the potential of adaptation approaches and practices, including their socioeconomic cost-benefits, from HI-AWARE study basins. RC3 will:

  • review existing climate change adaptation practices and policies, both planned and autonomous, for a variety of sectors and extreme-event types;
  • analyse and prioritise – through consultations with stakeholders – important adaptation practices and policies based on (assumed) criteria such as effectiveness, efficiency, feasibility, flexibility and robustness in handling critical moments;
  • develop robust evidence on the effectiveness and applicability of adaptation practices and policies against region-specific critical moments with regard to agricultural water management, forecasting options for flood risk and agriculture, human health and heat-coping strategies, and alternative energy options; and
  • develop new approaches to conduct inclusive socio-economic cost-benefit analysis of adaptation practices and policies such as the Marginal Cost Method.

Research Component 4 (RC4) will identify and analyse:

  • critical adaptation moments – the times of the year with the highest climate risks – for different sectors and extreme-event types and relate these to the observed climate to understand under what circumstances they occur, and how climate change will affect their timing and duration.
  • adaptation turning points – those points in time when current policies and management practices are no longer effective and alternative strategies have to be considered – for priority adaptation practices and existing policies by sector and location.

Research Component 5 (RC5) will explore adaptation pathways – sequences of policy actions to achieve targets under changing climatic conditions – that offer flexibility by allowing for progressive implementation. RC5 will:

  • explore barriers and opportunities for successful up-scaling of adaptation practices and policies for different sectors and locations;
  • prioritise promising adaptation practices and approaches for different sectors and locations through pair-wise ranking and cost-benefit analysis with a governance dimension; and
  • determine pathways for adaptation policies and practices on a large scale.