When a severe epidemic related to climate change wiped out almost half of the income for 97% of the small farmers we surveyed in Guatemala, we found that some farmers coped better and had fewer losses than others. What made them more resilient?

COSA’s recent work with the FAO is providing insights as to ‘why’ so that farmers and policymakers around the world can better prepare for inevitable environmental and economic shocks. There are enormous implications for such pragmatic research applications in many areas that face climate stress and shocks.

COSA researchers Elena Serfilippi and Carlos de los Rios teamed up with FAO’s leading resilience scholar Marco D’Enrico to apply innovative research methods that permit unique new insights into the relationship between systemic shocks resilience and income. We distilled key lessons from three years of research that offer hopeful possibilities for being able to predict which farm households are more likely to do well amidst emerging challenges that climate change poses to farming communities across the world.

This somewhat exceptional dataset covered several years of data across Guatemala’s coffee producing regions. The occurrence of a major climate-related shock during the research period afforded an unprecedented scientific perspective. The COSA team discovered its results by applying its new set of Resilience Indicators and then tested the findings against the FAO’s RIMA II approach. Finding substantial concurrence between the COSA and FAO approaches suggests a high probability that the findings are correct.

The result of the findings will be published in a scientific journal and the initial findings have been selected to be showcased in the upcoming 2018 Resilience Measurement, Evidence and Learning (RMEL) Conference.

COSA is opening new collaborations to build understanding of the functional linkages between resilience and Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). By collaboratively advancing best practices, we can integrate them and create a pragmatic, science-based measurement system. The next steps are to apply simple surveys in a wide variety of situations, so as to refine and simplify the work such that it can be scaled up by government, other institutions and companies globally.