Adaptation at Altitude

Adaptation at Altitude is a collaborative programme launched and co-supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation that aims to boost the resilience and adaptation of mountain communities in the face of climate change.

Mountain regions play a vital role for the well-being of all forms of life on earth for a multitude of reasons. Covering nearly a fourth of the Earth’s land surface, they home over one billion people, host 25% of the Earth’s biodiversity and 60% of its biosphere reserves, and supply freshwater to half of the world’s population. 

The effects of climate change on mountain areas are already being seen and the consequences are profound: rising temperatures are melting glaciers while changing precipitation patterns are disrupting water flows and the ecosystems they serve, threatening the local communities that depend on them. 

These communities are often already vulnerable, many times confronting poverty and land degradation, and are especially sensitive to the negative impacts of climate change that now aggravate the burden of surviving in a rugged environment. 

While mountain communities have developed their own adaptation strategies, innovative approaches must be developed in parallel to these strategies so that both traditional and contemporary approaches are carried out in tandem. It is vital that this knowledge is then shared among the mountain communities and with policymakers so that adaptation matches the scale of the changes.


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The activities envisioned in the Adaptation at Altitude programme aim to develop and improve the following four key areas:

  1. Data, information and monitoring (MRI’s Flagship activity GEO Mountains will play a fundamental role in improving the access and use of mountain observation data and information services)
  2. Regional science-policy exchange and collaborative action
  3. Knowledge generation and sharing
  4. Policy mainstreaming

Advancements in these critical spheres will lead to improved knowledge on climate change adaptation strategies, which can then be transferred and applied to science-policy platforms and decision-making at both local and global levels.

Phase 1 of the Adaptation at Altitude programme (2019–2024) has transitioned into Phase 2 (2024-2027), marking the culmination of four years of collaborative efforts aimed at bolstering mountain adaptive capacity and resilience in the face of climate change. Through initiatives like our GEO Mountains flagship activity, the MRI has been instrumental in advancing mountain data, information, and monitoring. Explore the synthesis scroll on the Adaptation at Altitude website, highlighting the activities and achievements of our ongoing dedication to safeguarding mountain ecosystems throughout Phase 1.

Adaptation at Altitude Partners

The Adaptation at Altitude programme is implemented by the Consorcio para el Desarollo Sostenible de la Ecorregión Andina (CONDESAN), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the University of Geneva, and Zoï Environment Network.

Supported By

 The Adaptation at Altitude programme is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).