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PROJECT: Promoting climate change adaptation policies in north-eastern Brazil

Project Reference: RSGL-0019D

This project built on the work of Adapta Sertao, a coalition of research institutions and NGOs that helps smallholder farmers become more resilient to climate change through an adapted agricultural system. Adapta Sertao has been testing and monitoring different arrangements of this system, which combines irrigation with drought-resistant crops, with smallholders over the past two years to understand its adaptive and food security potential. Building on this experience, this project aims to test and monitor more of those arrangements, and to systemise the results from a climate adaptation perspective through specific scientific dataset analyses.

The semi-arid region of north-eastern Brazil, which is among the poorest regions of Latin America, is the target area. About thirty million people are affected annually by prolonged dry periods that are expected to intensify due to climate change. Smallholders are likely to suffer the greatest impacts because of their lack of resources for adaptation.

The project promoted integration between existing national socio-economic policies in order to address climate change adaptation in the semi-arid region of Brazil. This integration was proposed during five multi-stakeholder dialogues with policy-makers at national and state levels, and using the systematised results of the Adapta Sertao pilot projects as a scientific basis for discussion.

Outcomes of this project include:

  • A systematised climate change adaptation model for smallholders living in dry areas that can be replicated in other dry regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • The development of an approach for multi-stakeholder dialogues that foster national climate change adaptation policies.
  • Creation of links between existing development policies to climate change.


Lead: Thais Corral and Daniele Cesano (REDEH)

Project Partners: Martin Obermeier (Centre for Integrated Studies on Climate Change and the Environment); Leonora Zoninsein (Student, Oxford University); Carolina Elia (Independent Researcher); Laise Santos da Silva (Rede Pintadas).

CDKN Funding: £112,176

Regions/Countries: Brazil

Type: Research project, CDKN Innovation Fund

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Project Highlights

POLICY BRIEF: An integrated approach to family farmer adaptation in Brazil’s semi-arid region

This policy brief, An integrated approach to family farmer adaptation in Brazil’s semi-arid region: the case of Adapta Sertão, look at how, through Adapta Sertão, small farmers in one of Brazil’s semi-arid regions were helped to increase their yields, find markets to sell their crops and access micro-credit to buy productive technology – making them more resilient in the face of a fast-changing climate.