Global Adaptation Progress Support (GAPS)

Climate change

Global Adaptation Progress Support catalyzes proactive action to address climate impacts -- connecting expert resources to decision-makers while building capacity for vulnerable people and nature worldwide.

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Impacts from storms, floods, droughts and extreme heat made worse by climate change are rising worldwide. Owing to the long life of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, these effects are expected to continue and worsen for decades and, most likely, centuries regardless of progress to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The burden of these effects will be felt most heavily by the most vulnerable people and places on the planet. Fortunately, the tools, expertise, and strategies needed to enable people and nature to adapt to committed climatic changes are increasingly available, but either inaccessible or opaque to decision makers around the world. The structure to deliver these “climate services” to decision-makers exists but is underdeveloped. Global Adaptation Progress Support (GAPS) will work with partners around the world to invest in, build on and network existing services to scale up our collective capacity to support climate adaptation action around the world.

Problem Statement

Climate change is already beginning to affect every facet of society and the natural world. Even in these early stages of climate change, impacts are disrupting both built and natural systems and affecting their ability to sustain the lives of people and biodiversity. From record heat effects on health, to flooding that undermines infrastructure, to saltwater intrusions of aquifers and soils, to ocean acidification affecting food supply, the challenges continue to multiply and deepen. The global community is demonstrating a frightening lack of capacity to build resilience to climate change before it becomes unmanageable. We need to create durable systems that, while they will certainly experience these changes, can continue to function and support life on this planet and minimize suffering and loss. There is a vast and growing gap between the demand for adaptation support to advise the acknowledged need to undertake adaptation and the services available to support it. The required services to improve outcomes in the face of change at scale requires broad access to climate information (data and examples of adaptation actions), capacity building to address this challenge in perpetuity, knowledge sharing and peer networks to exchange lessons as the climate changes, continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of adaptation actions, and access to the funds to ensure continuity of support. GAPS takes what has been demonstrated to be effective to fill these gaps and expand it to support regional adaptation around the globe.

Solution Overview

As climate change impacts increase in number and severity, our understanding about these threats grows. Data on climate trends and resulting impacts are increasingly available at ever-greater levels of specificity. Farmers, foresters, water resources managers, hazard mitigation specialists, transportation planners, engineers, and a long list of other professionals and decision makers are, and will increasingly be, in need of training, data translation, examples of successful adaptation strategies and advice so they can incorporate this information into their work on an ongoing basis. GAPS will serve as an extension service to these practitioners and decision makers, helping them find and use information about climate change that will enable them to become active and expert practitioners of climate adaptation in perpetuity. GAPS will do this by providing access to existing climate services and guidance and investing in services where they are needed to develop and implement climate savvy plans and strategies. Over the next five years GAPS will coordinate, strengthen and promote existing but uncoordinated adaptation services into eight regional hubs, while augmenting each with the missing pieces required to support successful adaptation. In doing so, GAPS will make it possible to reduce the costs of climate impacts because it is cheaper and easier to prepare for impacts than it is to recover after they have occurred. GAPS will allow people around the world to build resilience, thereby safeguarding the most vulnerable natural systems and communities from the worsening effects of climatic change.

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