Dry Hills, Full Ponds: Climate Change, Resilience, and Agriculture in Nepal


It is well understood that climate change is destabilizing agricultural livelihoods throughout the global South. Rising temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, declining soil moisture, and a rise in the incidence of drought are, increasingly, forcing vulnerable smallholder farming populations to adapt to the new world in which they farm.

In places like Nepal, where two-thirds of the labor force rely on agriculture to earn a living, the impacts of rising temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, and protracted droughts are becoming especially severe. The U.S. government is expanding its investment in programs that build climate resilience, but how can we ensure these investments are inclusive and beneficial to the most vulnerable populations?

This report, by Christian Man, illuminates the challenges stemming from climate change for resilience programming while also exploring how U.S. programs and policies might better achieve inclusivity in these resilience building initiatives. As the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) completes the conversion of its Bureau for Food Security into the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, a window of opportunity exists to further ensure the new emphasis meaningfully addresses very vulnerable populations. This report examines how these opportunities present themselves in USAID Nepal programming.

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This report is made possible with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Christian Man
Adjunct Fellow (Non-resident), Global Food Security Program