Climate-Smart Land Use Insight Brief No. 3- Climate services to support adaptation and livelihoods

Submitted by Cynthia Nitsch | published 6th Oct 2021 | last updated 3rd Jan 2023
Woman standing in front of board presenting information


Climate services help to bridge the gap between scientists and those relying on scientific knowledge for decision-making. Farmers have always monitored weather patterns and seasons, to reduce hazards for their crops and livestock. Having reliable and comprehensive data has become imperative to farmers, especially as the climate is continuously changing. As agriculture in Southeast Asia (SEA) faces many challenges from climate change, having inclusive, accessible, and practical climate services should be a focus of ASEAN member states' climate resilience plans and programmes. Information provided in these services must encompass the specific and relevant needs of those utilizing them. For climate services to promote capacity building among the region, they must be accessible to all those participating in the agriculture sector, including women and Indigenous Peoples. If climate services are equipped with relevant information and are made available to those relying on them, they can be used as an adaptation method and build capacity in SEA to create resilience to climate change.

*Download the full publication from the right-hand column. A summary of the key findings is provided below. See the full report for more details

Methods of Capacity Building and Engagement

As inclusive engagement initiatives are being developed and shaped, some methods of capacity building and collaboration are already being implemented. Some examples are as follows:  

The School of Climate and Living Traditions (SaLT)- Bali and Bajawa, Indonesia 

A concept originally developed in Indonesia, climate field schools are trainings that focus on teaching farmers how to access climate information and apply it across all relevant aspects of their crop production. Specifically, SaLT integrates conventional climate services with traditional ecological knowledge. This project targets coffee and cacao farmers. It starts by presenting an introduction of weather and climate concepts. It covers agro-ecosystems observations, how to understand and use weather and climate information, and how to incorporate local knowledge in agriculture, including to support climate change adaptation. 

Tandem- a framework for co-designing transdisciplinary knowledge services 

Consisting of seven elements, Tandem is a flexible and adaptable tool used to guide practitioners on how to pursue structured and purposeful collaboration in creating climate services that are participatory and inclusive. By engaging diverse stakeholders, services are then relevant, actionable, and sustainable. More information on Tandem can be found here as well as from Daniels et al. (2020).

Gender and Social Inclusion

Vulnerability is not shared equally among men, women, those of different socioeconomic statuses, those of different religions, those of different educational backgrounds, and so on. As a result, specific climate services may be useful to one, but not to another. To combat this unevenness, climate services should be developed to meet the needs of underserved groups. Achieving broad-based benefits from climate services requires clear, accessible, and inclusive communication. While access to climate services is a potential means of empowerment and resilience-building for marginalised groups, there is a risk of inequalities being reinforced if their specific needs are not addressed. Special attention needs to be given to identifying gaps. This requires using an intersectional approach, looking not only at one aspect of vulnerability but cross-examining them with each other. Research into gaps and inequities will need to be continuous to ensure the development of inclusive climate services. Currently, several checklists on gender-inclusive actionable agro-advisories have been developed to scope whether climate information is available, accessible, timely, and understandable for the intended users. 

Priorities for Future Studies

  • Produce more agriculture-specific climate information, such as potential impacts on crop yields, pests, and diseases. This requires combining agricultural research with meteorological research and could involve exchanging tools as well as real-time monitoring.  

  • Delve deeper into existing climate services in the ASEAN countries to identify best practices, models that can be replicated or scaled up, and key challenges to address. This should include – if not prioritise – climate services that co-produce knowledge with Indigenous Peoples, smallholder farmers, and other vulnerable user groups, and that effectively engage women and marginalised communities.  

  • Through direct engagement with communities, identify traditional ecological knowledge in Southeast Asian countries that can be incorporated into climate services to provide richer insights into climate and weather monitoring as well as adaptation strategies and resilience-building. 

Key Messages

Climate services, which provide information about the onset of seasons, temperature and rainfall projections, and extreme weather events, as well as longer-term trends, can be used by farmers as a method of adaptation to climate change. While ASEAN Member States governments already recognize the importance of climate services, there are significant capacity and resource gaps that need to be filled. For climate services to be a truly impactful adaptation strategy, they must adequately meet the needs of those using them. For this to be accomplished, direct engagement with farmers in the region, those relying on climate services, is critical. By redirecting efforts from top-down to bottom-up approaches, climate services are more likely to help build farmers’ capacities and help ensure long-lasting benefits.  

It is important that the information portrayed and how the information is delivered through climate services consider the inclusion and equity of its users. Men, women, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, and other groups may perceive climate risk and the capacities needed to alleviate risks differently. Creating such inclusive services will require resource gaps to be identified and the capacity of key institutions to be developed. This will allow climate services to continuously be improved upon and shaped to meet the needs of those most at risk. Traditional ecological practitioners must be involved in the development of climate services to ensure that their knowledge is appropriately used for climate change adaptation and disaster resilience.  


For Policymakers 

  • Explicitly incorporate climate services in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) as crucial elements in supporting adaptation in vulnerable sectors and communities.  

  • Increase budgetary support for climate services, in line with national adaptation priorities, to ensure that national meteorological and hydrological institutes, extension services, and other key actors in the climate services value chain (see Box 1) have the resources they need.  

  • Improve the provision of localised information using geographic information systems (GIS), crop zoning, and agricultural maps, and improve the local accuracy of forecasts, including through the expansion of weather station networks.  

  • Increase collaboration between the ministries of agriculture and related ministries and departments, local government units, and other stakeholders to identify information needs and embed climate services in sectoral and local programmes. It is also crucial to track progress on existing action plans to deliver climate services for agriculture and assess outcomes. 

  • Continually build capacity within national meteorological and hydrological institutes, including through short courses and trainings on agro-meteorology, as well as on effective climate communications. Similar courses should also be provided in universities. 

For donors and project implementers 

  • Invest and support policymakers and decision-makers in climate-sensitive sectors to develop their capacities to use climate information effectively, identify their information needs, and strategically drive the coproduction of climate services. This is the highest priority identified by Hansen et al (2019) to scale up climate services.  

  • Support the integration of Indigenous knowledge in science field schools, farmer field schools, and climate field schools in ASEAN.  

  • Provide more training for agricultural extension staff, including through exchanges with national meteorological and hydrological institutes. Develop specialised climate extension services, building on the model of climate field schools.  

  • Ensure that climate services are designed and implemented in a way that tailors to the needs of different users, accounting for gender, class, ethnic minorities, and other factors to ensure equity and inclusion.   

  • Support the integration of Indigenous knowledge in science field schools, farmer field schools, and climate field schools.  

  • Use a wide array of channels to deliver climate information, including via mobile phones and the internet. This, in turn, requires improving internet access in rural communities; it is also crucial to translate information into local languages, including scientific and technical terms, and use visual communication and audio programming to help bridge literacy gaps.  

  • Continually monitor and evaluate existing climate services in Southeast Asia to achieve the desired outcomes in terms of enhancing adaptive capacity, building resilience, and helping farmers adopt climate-smart practices. 

Recommended Citation

Anschell, N., Salamanca, A. and Davis, M (2021) Climate Services to Support Adaptation and Livelihoods, ASEAN Climate-Smart Land Use Insight Brief 3. Jakarta: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

Climate-Smart Land Use Insight Briefs

This Insight Brief is part of a series prepared by the Stockholm Environment Institute on behalf of the Climate-Smart Land Use (CSLU) in ASEAN project, which receives funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat. The Insight Briefs aim to raise awareness on the mitigation and adaptation potential of selected climate-smart land use practices and approaches in order to contribute to their application in Southeast Asia as well as to enhance the technical knowledge exchange among ASEAN Member States (AMS).