Building a global database of CCA solutions for mountain regions

Source(s): weADAPT
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Amanita Silvicora/Shutterstock
Amanita Silvicora/Shutterstock

Mountains feature some of the clearest indications of climate change: rising temperatures, melting glaciers and changing precipitation patterns are disrupting water flows and affecting ecosystems, creating and worsening natural hazards and threatening livelihoods and communities both within the mountains and downstream.

The Adaptation at Altitude programme seeks to support mountain communities and those working with them by improving the knowledge of appropriate climate change adaptation strategies in the mountains, and transferring that knowledge through science–policy platforms to inform decision-making in national, regional and global policy processes.

One way we are doing this is through the development of a database of tried, tested, and replicable climate change adaptation solutions for mountainous regions, which aims to make these solutions easier to find, explore, and appraise for everyone working on this topic, and to give visibility and recognition to those developing them.

This article describes our approach to building this database, and invites you to participate in its development!

Contribute your solutions to the database

You can contribute solutions to the database via the survey here:

Alternatively, you can contribute solutions using the survey document (attached below under Further Resources), and email it to us at

We are welcoming solutions by 1st March 2021. 

Have your say in the development of the database

We want this database to work for and with everyone engaged with climate change adaptation in mountains. To this end, we invite you to comment on the evaluation criteria we are proposing. You can find more information on this below. We also welcome you to provide input for the design of the database.

You can comment in the open discussion here or by replying the weADAPT team at We are currently welcoming input by 31st March 2021.

Find out more about the database below. You can read more about activities of the AaA programme here:

Building a database for mountain regions

Why build a database?

Numerous adaptation ‘solutions’ for mountainous regions have been developed, implemented, and evaluated. These are diverse in the risks they address and approaches they take; they include technical solutions (e.g., Early Warning Systems), soft solutions (e.g., training and capacity building programs), good practice approaches and processes, and combinations of these. Information on these solutions is scattered across various websites and shared in different ways. This makes it difficult to understand which solutions are working and why/how, to identify ones suitable for your context, and to see what is being learned and what innovations are being developed in different regions.

To address these issues this open-access database aims to share adaptation solutions in a structured, easy-to-search way that acknowledges solutions developers and contains detailed information on:

  • the scale, ecosystems, sectors, climate impacts and climate impact timelines they are relevant for;
  • the beneficiaries and co-benefits they support, and what outcomes they led to;
  • the Sendai Framework and SDG targets they address;
  • how they were financed, planned, implemented, and evaluated;
  • the capacities required for design and implementation (including knowledge, technology, political, institutional and socio-cultural aspects);
  • barriers and adverse effects;
  • their long-term outlook, including transformational impacts and sustainability; and
  • their potential for upscaling and replication.

The database will also enable you to see who has worked on what solutions and where they have been implemented, thereby supporting solution development teams and those looking for solutions to communicate and learn from each other.

Our process: understanding user needs and evaluating solutions 

The design of the CCA solutions for mountains survey and initial drafts of the database have been informed by a user needs assessment. This was informed by interviews with actors funding, evaluating, planning, managing and implementing climate change adaptation in mountainous regions, including representatives from the World Bank, UNIGE, ICIMOD, Business for nature, CONDESAN, MRI, UNEP, ZOI, and SDC, and included an IPCC Lead Author.

The list of details that the survey seeks to elicit and which will be included in the database (see above) directly reflect the information needs identified in the user assessment.

To make sure the database shares high quality, reliable knowledge, all the contributed solutions will be evaluated according to evaluation criteria. This will decide how each solution is featured in the database. We aim to publish as many contributed solutions as possible and will work with solution development teams to do so.

You can download and view the draft evaluation criteria in the right-hand column. We welcome your views and feedback on whether this criteria will provide a useful assessment of climate adaptation solutions for your region.

Would you like to share your user needs or comment on the evaluation criteria? Please join the discussion here or contact us at

Linking to other platforms and a community of practice

We do not just want to build yet another database. There are numerous knowledge platforms and organisational websites out there that host a wealth of knowledge and data relevant to CCA in mountains, including Panorama Solutions (adaptation projects and case studies), the WOCAT Global Database on Sustainable Land Management (various), the Nature-based Solutions Evidence Platform (systematic review of relevant peer-reviewed literature), the GCA Adaptation Exchange (adaptation solutions), Climate Adaptation Platform for the Alps (various), the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal (various, including country profiles), ICIMOD's Mountain GeoPortal (geo-information resources of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region), and MRI listed datasets (numerous high-quality datasets) - part of the forthcoming GEO-GNOME initiative.

Our aim is to link to these networks, both through this database and the weADAPT theme on Climate Change Adaptation in Mountains, which we are also developing to support a community of practice for those working in this field. 

Do you have a database or platform featuring adaptation content on mountains? Please get in touch with Julia Barrott to discuss how we can connect!

Outlook and next steps

The database will be hosted by the Climate Change Adaptation in Mountains theme on weADAPT and will connect with the Connectivity Hub.

This database will be built during 2021. There will be further opportunities to contribute to the database in future. As the database will be hosted and supported by the weADAPT team, the database and contributions to it will be supported beyond the end of the AaA programme, providing a long-lived resource for those working on adaptation in mountains.

The AaA programme will be strongly active until at least late 2023, during which time the database will be promoted across various international meetings and conferences, including COP26. This will be part of the AaA team's work to increase awareness and integration of mountains in the international agenda.

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