How adaptation competence creates action, an international learning exchange

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Climate change affects all countries and there are benefits in sharing learning on climate adaptation in countries in the global South and global North. By learning together about the enablers or barriers to adaptation we aim to progress adaptation action. Traction is a three year project to understand what constitutes climate adaptation competency and how this affects adaptation response. We define competency in terms of the technical capacity, legislative authority and inter-institutional systems that help to bring about change.

What we are doing

Traction offers a lens through which to view adaptation competence and action at a range of levels, nationally, regionally and locally. Throughout 2021 we have undertaking research using the Traction framework in districts and regions in Malawi and Scotland and at the national level in Mozambique.

The current research aims to understand what does effective local government and governance looks like in adaptation planning and implementation.

This builds upon the development of the Traction framework for assessing adaptation competences, piloted at national level in Scotland and Malawi in 2018 and 2019.

We are working closely in the delivery of the project with International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the project is funded by Scottish Government. In Mozambique, Traction research is implemented in partnership with IIED with funding support from SCIAF.

We believe the approach has applicability in the Global North and South, and at range of geographical scales. The Traction framework is supporting stakeholders to identify drivers of local change that contribute to:

  • interaction between stakeholders and levels - bottom up and top down approaches working across government, community groups and other important stakeholder groups in society/community 
  • integration between thematic sectors, climate risks, adaptation - coherence in approach 
  • anticipatory action through planning, addressing and ensuring early warning and slow onset action 
  • greater influence of women, different age groups and under-represented groups
  • broader social drive to be a part of long lasting change 

Traction takes a collaborative and inclusive approach, valuing expertise from different countries and contexts, and adds benefits for all participants through knowledge exchange and co-learning. Results are co-owned.


For more information, visit the Traction website or contact [email protected]

Review of literature on adaptation competences is now available here