The Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) was a 7-year program (2012-2019) jointly funded by Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

CARIAA was dedicated to building the resilience of vulnerable populations and their livelihoods in three kinds of climate change hot spots in Africa and Asia: deltas, semi-arid lands, and glacier- and snowpack-dependent river basin. To do this, the program supported four consortia, which conducted collaborative research on climate change adaptation and resilience in these hot spots.


  • Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR)
  • DEltas, vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA)
  • Himalayan Adaptation, Water, and Resilience Research on Glacier and Snowpack Dependent River Basins for Improving Livelihoods (HI-AWARE)
  • Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies (PRISE)

Through the consortia’s research, CARIAA sought to develop new knowledge, new capacities, and better informed adaptation policy and practice.

  • NEW KNOWLEDGE: CARIAA aimed to produce co-generated, high-calibre, and peer-reviewed research on vulnerability, adaptation and resilience within and across hot spots. Ensuring results reach a wide range of audiences was a key objective of the program.
  • NEW CAPACITIES: By establishing new collaborative networks, CARIAA aimed to strengthen adaptation and resilience-building expertise among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. Opportunities for early career scholars also helped to prepare the next generation of researchers.
  • BETTER-INFORMED POLICY AND PRACTICE: Engaging with communities, practitioners and policymakers was critical to the research CARIAA supported and to the program’s goal of informing effective adaptation policy and practices.

Overall, 18 institutions from the North and the South partnered with over 40 additional partner organizations to deliver research in 14 countries: 5 from South Asia and 9 from Africa.

The consortium model and the architecture of CARIAA supported cross-consortia learning and synthesis through cross-consortia collaboration around cross-cutting themes, country engagement groups, and other initiatives undertaken through the Opportunities and Synergies Fund. These mechanisms sought to enable joint activities, ensuring communications are aligned, and providing insight to, and informing the global climate change adaptation audience.

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CARIAA’s Science and Policy Advisory Committee

CARIAA’s Science and Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) provided scientific and policy advice to the Program’s management committee. Its members also represented CARIAA, raising awareness of the program and its results at key strategic events and through their professional networks. The committee members include:

  • Annie Bonnin Roncerel

Annie Bonnin Roncerel is Fund Manager for the Building resilience and adaptation to climate extremes and disasters program (BRACED). She specializes in capacity building for climate change projects formulation and screening, and in project monitoring and evaluation and has carried out terminal evaluations of adaptation projects and programs.

  • Arjumand Nizami

Arjumand Nizami is Country Director for Pakistan at Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation. She is also lead researcher within the Asian Highlands project, where she is coordinating community vulnerability and resilience assessments in Pakistan.  She is on the steering committees/board of directors of several international organizations and national NGOs. Dr. Nizami holds a PhD from the Rural Development Sociology Department, Wageningen University (Netherlands) in Forest Governance.

  • Calvin Nhira

Calvin Nhira is an independent professional with 20 years of experience focusing on applied research and programming on issues at the intersection of conservation and agricultural development, including climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agricultural sector. His professional experience combines university-based research and teaching in social studies at the University of Zimbabwe, research management at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), program coordination with the Southern African Development Community Secretariat, and program development with the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, a research NGO. Dr. Nhira is an inter-disciplinary social scientist with a PhD in social studies.

  • Cinzia Losenno

Cinzia Losenno is Senior Environment Specialist (Climate Change Adaptation) at the Asian Development Bank. Prior to this she worked as principal specialist in climate change adaptation and development at AEA Technology where she has been leading projects on climate change impacts risks and adaptation for developing countries. She also served as policy advisor on climate change for UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Dr. Losenno holds a PhD in clean energy and environmental sustainability.

  • Ian  Burton

Ian Burton is an independent public policy professional and Professor Emeritus of Geography of the School of the Environment of the University of Toronto, Canada. He directed the Climate Change Adaptation Branch for the Canadian Government, and co-chaired the Advisory Panel on Adaptation to the Government of Ontario, Canada. Internationally, he has been lead author in three of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessments and member of the group awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Also, he has served as consultant to international bodies like the World Bank, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, the US Agency for International Development, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He served a term as Director of the International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Study, and is now Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK, the Co-Chair of the International Advisory Board for the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

  • James Syvitski

James Syvistki is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is also Chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He held a variety of appointments within Canadian universities and was a Senior Research Scientist within the Geological Survey of Canada at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. He has also taken leadership roles in large international projects and served as an advisor for multiple projects and energy, mining and environmental companies. Prof. Syvitski holds doctorate degrees in oceanography and geological science.

  • Maarten Van Aalst

Marteen Van Aalst is Interim Director of Knowledge Management and Partners for Resilience at Building resilience and adaptation to climate extremes and disasters program (BRACED). He is also the Director of Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. Dr. Van Aalst was Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on extremes and a Lead Author for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. He holds adjunct appointments at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, and at the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy at University College London. Dr. Van Aalst has a PhD in atmospheric science.

  • Musonda Mumba

Musonda Mumba is Program Officer and United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) Coordinator of the Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EBA) Flagship Program. She has a PhD in wetland conservation and hydrology. Dr. Mumba has worked previously as Freshwater Regional program coordinator for WWF Eastern Africa Regional Program Office, as program officer within the Global Freshwater Program of WWF International, and as assistant to the to the Regional Coordinator for Africa at the Convention on Wetlands.

  • N.H. Ravindranath

N.H. Ravindranath is professor at the Centre for Sustainable Technologies of the Indian Institute of Science. He has worked extensively across Asia, and he is currently an advisor for a World Bank project on climate resilience forestry in Bangladesh. He is also working on assessing the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems in Himalayan river basins. He has co-authored several of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special assessment reports on climate change, and he is part of the Working Group on Mitigation and the IPCC Synthesis Report writing team. From 2008 – 2012 he was a member of the Science Technology Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environmental Facility for climate change focal area. Prof. Ravindranath sits on the editorial board of four international journals, including Current Science and Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, and has helped bring out special issues of these journals devoted to climate change. He is a UNFCCC expert in greenhouse gas inventory, a member of various expert committees on climate change for the Indian government, and has also lent his expertise to the World Bank, UN organizations and several international institutes. 

  • Polly Ericksen

Polly Ericksen is Program Leader of the Livestock Systems and Environment at the International Livestock Research Institute. She has a PhD in Soil Science and a MSc in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has over 18 years of experience working on agricultural development, natural resource management and global environmental change in developing countries. This includes experience working for the World Agroforestry Centre, Catholic Relief Services, a research fellowship at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), and five years at the University of Oxford working with the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) initiative of the Earth Systems Science Partnership. She has served the ILRI focal point for the Dryland Systems and CCAFS programs. 

  • Tshilidzi (Percy) Madzivhandila

Tshilidzi (Percy) Madzivhandila is Director for Policy and Research at the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). His experience combines research and government work. Dr. Madzivhandila holds a PhD in economics.

  • Xianfu Lu

Xianfu Lu is Program Officer at UNFCCC Secretariat. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Lu has worked on the scientific and policy aspects of climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and at the science-policy interface.  While at the UNFCCC secretariat, she has coordinated the implementation of the Nairobi work program on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change from the UNFCCC Secretariat.  Prior to this role, she supported Asian Development Bank's (ADB) efforts in integrating climate change adaptation into its operations, through the provision of technical guidance and resources. Also, she worked as a Technical Specialist at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Headquarters in New York, providing technical support to scientists and governmental technical teams in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and countries with economies in transition in assessing climate impacts and planning for adaptation.  She was a Coordinating Lead Author for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is an ex officio member of the IPCC’s Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impacts and Climate Analysis for the Fifth Assessment Report.