Adapting to a changing environment and mitigating climate change

The impacts of climate change have been devastating to farmers around the world, threatening both food security and livelihoods. Extreme and unpredictable weather, including droughts, shortened growing seasons, and extreme temperatures, bring increased exposure to pests and destroy crop yields. RTI strengthens agricultural market systems to be more resilient to these impacts, strengthening economic growth, and working to ensure food security in a changing climate.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Programming

RTI conducts climate smart agriculture activity to determine climate impacts on the environment, human welfare, food supply, and economies in a wide range of agricultural systems. Our expertise in climate change adaptation and mitigation analytics for the agricultural sector includes low-emission development strategies, emission inventories, water resource management, and vulnerability assessment.  Our international program ranges from camel milk and fisheries production in Somalia, to mango and dairy production in Kenya, to rice and sorghum production in Senegal and Mali, and maize and bean production in Haiti. Our programs have enabled farmers to access new crop varieties that reliably perform despite increasingly irregular rainfall patterns; to increase fodder production and storage to buffer livestock producer’s risk exposure to drought; and to adopt improved soil conservation and fertility practices as well as access irrigation. We are helping to build an evidence base around the effectiveness of climate-smart technologies, and then use a market facilitation approach to expand adoption and long-term access. By helping farmers understand how their environment is changing and how they can use climate-smart technologies to adapt their livelihoods for long-term sustainability, RTI improves farmers’ resiliency to climate change as an integral part of our international development work.

Climate-Smart Market Systems

To achieve impact at scale, RTI engages directly with private and public sector stakeholders in a wide range of global settings to facilitate climate-smart improvements based on market efficiency and inclusivity.  In Somalia, by aligning the incentives of market actors and groups who are most vulnerable to climate change, we supported private dairies to expand their camel leasing initiatives in pastoralist communities.  In other programs, we strengthened key elements of regional market systems, such as regulatory frameworks and financial systems, to build resilience of local markets. Climate-smart market systems balance efficiency with climate change mitigation goals, for example strengthening local supply chains and developing value addition within domestic markets to complement lucrative export opportunities. With a growing focus on the circular economy, in which growth is decoupled from the consumption of finite resources, RTI contributes to economic, societal, and environmental goals within integrated food security and resilience programming. We pioneered market system resilience measurement approaches to assess systemic resilience to climate change and other shocks as a way to benchmark and measure progress.

Encouraging Productive Use of Energy Solutions

At RTI, we know that energy access is a facilitator of social and economic wellbeing. Our work focuses on renewable energy adoption that helps individuals and communities advance, rather than just meeting specific policy goals. In more than ten African countries, we published unprecedented knowledge resources to encourage renewable energy technology deployment, including assessment reports about off-grid energy markets and catalogs of productive use of renewable energy solutions (e.g., solar water pumps, grain mills, freezers, electronic vehicles, and more).