VACEA addresses a gap in the current understanding of the consequences of global climate change for regional climate variability and extremes and the resulting vulnerabilities of agricultural and indigenous communities. Our goal is to provide new knowledge to strengthen the capacities of governance institutions and rural populations in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia to adapt to shifts in climate variability and the frequency of extreme events. The research framework, based on a vulnerability assessment model, actively engages stakeholders and directs all research activities towards evaluating past, current and future exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, and applying this new knowledge to the design of improved adaptation strategies.

The interdisciplinary research program will have three major themes:

1) Regional Vulnerability Assessment,

2) Climate and Agro-Ecological Variability, and

3) Integrative Risk Analysis.

Theme 1 takes a community-oriented and participatory approach to the study of adaptation policies and practices.

Theme 2 advances scientific understanding of regional climate variability and extreme events and their agro-environmental impacts.

Theme 3 integrates the work of Themes 1 and 2 and applies the research findings to an assessment of the climate risks faced by the rural communities.

With our project partners from the communities and governance institutions we will identify options for managing this risk through adaptive management practices and appropriate governance and policy. We will gather input and advice from the rural communities, agricultural sector, and institutional decision makers to ensure community- and policy-relevant outcomes and deliverables.