The adaptation action and research sandbox: aligning two global processes


This innovative sandbox event as part of London Climate Action Week on 1 July 2021 enabled individuals and organisations to join up and support two salient efforts to strengthen adaptation.

Last updated 6 July 2021
Seated people outside face someone standing and speaking at the front

Workshop in Tanzania discussing inclusive agriculture (Photo: Nkumi Mtimgwa/CIFOR via FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) and the locally led adaptation (LLA) principles are gaining traction in the run up to this year's UN climate summit (COP26). These initiatives set out to strengthen adaptation action and research that puts the needs of the most vulnerable front and centre.

At this innovative sandbox-style event co-hosted by IIED and ARA, we learned about two salient efforts and discuss opportunities to strengthen and enhance their impact.

As part of the UK COP26 presidency, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is working with partners to co-develop an international Adaptation Research Alliance for launch at COP26. Through six guiding principles, the ARA seeks to bring the adaptation research and action communities closer, catalyse investment in action-oriented adaptation research and promote collaborative action research.

At the same time, under the aegis of the Global Commission on Adaptation, the World Resources Institute and IIED consulted with a large number of organisations from around the world to consolidate eight principles for LLA to empower local communities to drive adaptation decision making.

In spirit, these principles and efforts to promote them are aligned but a more concerted effort is needed to strengthen these efforts by bringing these communities together to harness synergies and complementarities.

As part of London Climate Action Week, we invited stakeholders including adaptation practitioners, researchers, funders and policymakers to join this interactive workshop discussion to explore the aims and objectives of the ARA and LLA principles and what is needed to ensure that more individuals and organisations endorse and support these initiatives.

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Anne Schulthess (, marketing manager, IIED's Communications Group