Climate Change response and Resilience

We help the most vulnerable deal with the effects of global climate change through responses uniquely tailored to meet a community’s needs while protecting their environment.

Coping with Climate Change Extremes

The UN estimates that 70% of disasters are now climate-related, affecting 260 million people each year. Those least responsible for climate change — the poor and vulnerable — are those who feel its effects the most. Those are the people we are dedicated to serving and we help them deal with the effects of climate change in a number of ways:

  • Climate smart agriculture
  • Rehabilitation and stabilization of the environment
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Economic entrepreneurship

Climate-Smart Agriculture

In many areas where we work, communities rely on agriculture both for food and income. Faced with degraded land and extreme weather, farmers often contend with food insecurity and unreliable income.

Conservation agriculture

Simple techniques such as using holes instead of furrows can protect the land and increase yield dramatically. Photo: Gareth Bentley

To address these challenges, Concern promotes eco-friendly farming techniques that are tailored for local environments and designed to improve food security and nutrition. This includes growing a diversity of hardy, weather-tolerant crops and practicing conservation agriculture, an alternative to traditional, intensive farming methods that emphasizes not tilling the soil, using organic materials as natural fertilizers, and rotating crops, which improves soil fertility, retains moisture, and prevents erosion.

In addition to farming, we help communities sustainably manage water and other natural resources and promote rainwater harvesting, high-efficiency irrigation, and renewable energy sources, production, and technology such as fuel-efficient stoves, solar power, and biofuels. We also take into account the conditions of individual environments and how people use them to develop tailored and sustainable solutions that enable communities to support themselves while protecting the land.

Rehabilitation and Stabilization of the environment

Natural disasters can be as devastating to vulnerable environments as they are to vulnerable people. To address environmental damage from storms and human pressures and to minimize damage from future weather crises, we work with communities to rehabilitate the land and ecosystems that sustain and protect them.

Terrace Farming in Ethiopia

Concern has worked with the communities in Dessie-Zuria in the northern part of Ethiopia to introduce terracing to rehabilitate unproductive land and to protect their homes and land against flooding and erosion. Photo by Petterik Wiggers

In countries like Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Chad, and Afghanistan, community-maintained tree nurseries grow local trees that are replanted in degraded lands. In coastal areas like the Bay of Bengal, these reforestation efforts also help to strengthen the natural bio-shield that trees create against damaging winds and erosion from tidal surges. In farming, agroforestry techniques provide the same benefits when trees and shrubs are grown among crops both to rehabilitate degraded land and to provide crops with protection against severe weather.

Coral Reef Rehabilitation

After Hurricane Haiyan devastated the Philippines, Concern built floating coral nurseries in the waters off Concepcion to restore the area’s marine environment and protect fishing livelihoods. Photo by Steve De Neef

Disaster risk reduction

If we can’t prevent climate disasters, we can at least help communities to be better prepared to deal with them when they do occur. Reducing potential risks is at the heart of much of our work in countries like Chad, Bangladesh, and Somaliland.

Crops in northern Afghanistan shielded from flooding by a protective berm.

Crops in northern Afghanistan shielded from flooding by a protective berm. Photo: Kieran McConville

Simple solutions like the installation of check-dams or earthen berms can prevent precious soil from being washed away by flash floods, raising houses and grain stores above flood levels is a simple and effective method of risk reduction, and training families (especially kids) to protect themselves in the event of an earthquakes, floods, or storms has the potential to save many, many lives. We do all of these things… and more.

Eco-Friendly Entrepreneurship

At a very basic level human actions can multiply the effects of climate change. The waterways of Cité Soleil in Haiti have been blighted by vast amounts of plastic waste, which exacerbates flooding. New programs being introduced by Concern are designed to address this problem, removing existing garbage and the providing new services for the benefit of the wider community, and those directly involved in the projects.

Plastic waste in a waterway in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Flooding caused by more frequent hurricanes in Haiti is exacerbated by palstic waste blocking waterways . Photo: Kieran McConville

In Sierra Leone we have enabled new livelihoods around the rehabilitation of scrap metal into eco-friendly stoves, which mean fewer precious trees felled for fuel, a reduction in the amount of household pollution from cooking smoke… and the generation of much-needed income for those involved.

Concern is committed to helping prevent climate change and ensure those most affected are enabled to cope with its effects.

Find out more about our work