What We Do


The Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) not only promotes radical collaboration but ‘walks the talk’ it advocates for. Since 2020, a growing body of diverse stakeholders have been co-creating the ARA to be what it is today – and we are still developing.

We wanted to ensure that the collaborative ethos of the ARA runs through its entire lifeline, from conceptualisation to execution. As a result, over 2020 – 2021 the ARA held nine working group sessions to shape the direction and approach of the ARA. In order to do this, the working groups engaged in discussions around what is action research and why does it matter? What should the core functions of the ARA be? What governance model would best facilitate these functions? And what commitments should the ARA solicit from different members?

The working groups solidified the ARA’s pathway to answering these questions and achieving a systemic change in how research is conducted, to increase the resilience of those most vulnerable to climate change. You can see the pathway that was developed in the ARA Theory of Change.

In addition to the creation of a Theory of Change, following the completion of these working groups in early 2021, six workstreams were set up to enable the execution of the ideas that had emerged over each of the nine working group sessions. A result of the workstreams is a sophisticated and complex structure, depicted in the diagram below, which emerged as a result of the diversity of inputs from the ARA network. These inputs were incorporated into the current ARA activities and workstreams, all the while feeding into its collaboratively agreed functions and outcomes.


A key message of this diagram and our current development phase of the ARA is that we want to see different kinds of research programmes taking place. We want to see programmes that are evidence-informed and in which societal impact and relevance is placed first and at the forefront of the assessment criteria. As a result, the activities and workstreams all lead into a central focus of new programme development.

These workstreams will take the ARA up to COP26, after which the ARA envisions the multiple strands of activities will continue and expand.

If you would like to find out more about the specific knowledge products that the ARA have developed along its journey, including the ARA concept note, principles, governance structure and workstream overview documents, visit the ARA Knowledge Portal on Action Research, and get in contact with ara@southsouthnorth.org with any questions you may have.


Return to the ARA webpage