What we do



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Adaptation Without Borders

Adaptation is a key challenge facing climate negotiators and policy-makers. However, the concept of adaptation as a ‘global challenge’ – as recognised by and articulated in the Paris Agreement – is not getting the attention it warrants in international climate negotiations. Until recently, adaptation has been framed almost exclusively as a national-to-local concern, while the broader international dimension of climate risk has received very little attention in negotiations and pragmatic planning for adaptation. This holds back regional co-operation as well as global ambition on the issue.

But climate risk is, in many cases, ‘borderless’ in nature. Climate impacts in one country will create risks and opportunities in others due to cross-border connectivity (in trade, people, finance and biophysical ecosystems). For the same reasons, adaptation measures in one part of the world can have positive and/or negative effects in other places by affecting cross-border links and flows.

Adopting a transboundary view of climate risk, which explicitly recognises the interconnections between people, ecosystems and economies in a globalised world, changes the scope and nature of the adaptation challenge and creates opportunities to reinvigorate international cooperation on adaptation.

This portfolio of work, undertaken in partnership with Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Wilton Park and IDDRI, seeks to build momentum in addressing the global adaptation challenge by moving from a business-as-usual approach (where adaptation continues to be framed as an exclusively local-to-national issue) towards enhanced global cooperation, to enable genuine global resilience.

For more information please visit adaptationwithoutborders.org.


Sarah Opitz-Stapleton, Erin Roberts and Catherine Stockwell