Burkina Faso, Senegal, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania, Pakistan, Tajikistan

Pathways to Resilience in
Semi-arid Economies

PRISE aimed to strengthen the commitment of decision-makers in local and national governments, businesses and trade bodies to rapid, inclusive and resilient development in semi-arid regions. The project generated new knowledge about how economic development in semi-arid regions can be made more equitable and resilient to climate change, in order to deepen decision-makers’ understanding of the threats and opportunities that semi-arid economies face in relation to climate change. PRISE research targeted semi-arid areas in six countries: Burkina Faso, Senegal, Tanzania, Kenya, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The consortium includes:

  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK (PRISE lead institution)
  • Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics (GRI-LSE), UK
  • Innovation, Environnement, Développement en Afrique (IED-Afrique), Senegal
  • Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan
  • Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia, Tajikistan
  • University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
  • Kenya Market Trust, Kenya
  • Mountain Societies Research Institute, Kyrgyzstan
  • Map Part
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Efforts to strengthen the resilience of semi-arid areas to climate change have so far been limited in their success. Country assessments show few policy frameworks dedicated to promoting the development of semi-arid lands in poor countries, and even fewer that treat climate change as an integral component.

Poverty reduction and economic development should strengthen the ability of people to respond to climate risk, so it is important to know which development pathways will be the most effective, both in the short-term and in the long-term. 

PRISE research sought to inform the investment and policy decisions of governments, businesses and trade bodies to help create climate-resilient, equitable, economic development in semi-arid regions around the world. To achieve this, PRISE adopted an innovative demand and policy-led approach by working with key policy and economic decision makers to identify the choices they need to make now about investment and development options. With this approach, PRISE had the flexibility to support policy-makers and investors with targeted, quick-response research and the capacity to lead longer-term collaborative studies.



Some of the key objectives of PRISE included:

1. Establishing an evidence base on the impact of climate change on key factors conditioning the economic growth of semi-arid lands, and, conversely, how these factors condition vulnerability to climate change 

2. Developing an evidence base on the risks posed to economic growth in semi-arid lands by extreme climate events, particularly droughts and floods 

3. Identifying investment, policy and planning measures for inclusive climate-resilient development and growth in semi-arid lands 

4. Leveraging existing initiatives and networks in a stakeholder engagement process that co-creates knowledge, builds credibility with research users and promotes the uptake of results.



Research development

Building on the PRISE project’s demand-led approach, extensive consultations between the research team and key stakeholders in Year 1 of the project led to the emergence of seven multi-country research areas, focused on semiarid regions, to form the foundation of PRISE’s research focus from Year 2 to Year 4.

1. Migration futures in Asia and Africa: climate change and climate-resilient economic development 

2. Migration, remittances, adaptation and resilience in arid and semi-arid regions of Senegal and Tajikistan

3. Harnessing opportunities for climate-resilient economic development in semi-arid lands: adaptation options in key sectors

4. Enabling environment for private sector/multi-stakeholder action to strengthen resilience to climate change

5. Property regimes, investments and economic development in the context of climate change in semi-arid lands in East Africa

6. Cross-boundary multi-scale governance of semi-arid lands: implications for climate resilience and economic development

7. Water governance in semi-arid lands: political and economic insights for the management of variability and extremes in a changing climate


Each area was led by a consortium partner and engaged researchers from across the consortium members and country research partners in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Tajikistan, to ensure a blend of cross-disciplinary expertise and methodological insights.



Impact pathways

PRISE sought to promote resilient and equitable economic development in semi-arid areas, by harnessing the opportunities and building economic resilience to the challenges that climate change may bring. It did so through two main channels: 


Direct pathways: 

This included developing and nurturing relationships of trust with key stakeholders involved in shaping the economic development of semi-arid areas in the six focus countries throughout the project duration. Through dialogue, trust-building and a demand-led research approach, we used research evidence to demonstrate the pathways that can achieve equitable, climate-resilient economic development. The specific target groups included businesses, trade associations, regional economic associations and national and local government departments.


The PRISE research and relationship-building approach starts by considering the economic processes that currently shape the development of semi-arid areas and exploring how people already deal with the impacts of climate variability and change. The consortium sought to present pathways to change by introducing information about climate change and measures to build resilience through adapting policy frameworks and shaping investment plans.


Indirect pathways: 

This involved reshaping the narrative around semiarid regions in the international community and other non-PRISE countries. PRISE achieved this by publishing high-quality research, authoring visible, compelling reports, forging partnerships with complementary knowledge projects, presenting at key gatherings, strengthening the capacity of institutions and supporting a cadre of junior researchers to lead this agenda in the future.


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The PRISE team was composed of a team of multi-disciplinary researchers from organizations based in regions across West and East Africa, Central and South Asia and the UK.


Read the latest news, including updates on research activities and multimedia products, and learn more about events and other activities organized by PRISE and its partners.


Explore research outputs from PRISE including peer-reviewed articles, working papers, reports, and blog posts.