The goal of VACEA is to improve the understanding of the vulnerability of rural agricultural and indigenous communities to shifts in climate variability and to the frequency and intensity of extreme climate events, and to engage governance institutions in Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia in enhancing their adaptive capacity to reduce rural community vulnerability. This goal will be achieved through a) innovative, participatory and integrated interdisciplinary studies that examine and inform adaptation policy and planning, regional governance and community practices; and b) the sharing of knowledge among research institutes, government agencies, NGOs, local organizations, and rural stakeholders.

VACEA Objectives:

1. advance our understanding of regional hydroclimatic variability and extreme events, in terms of the natural characteristics and drivers, and shifts in the frequency and intensity of inter-annual variability and extremes as a consequence of global climate change;

2. advance our understanding of the past, current and future vulnerabilities of rural agricultural and indigenous populations to climate hazards and related stressors;

3. determine the impacts of climate variability and extremes on agricultural productivity and the environmental services that support the studied communities;

4. evaluate and communicate adaptive management practices and governance policies that improve adaptive capacity in rural communities and limit their exposure and sensitivity to climate hazards;

5. develop and implement a unified methodology, based on indicators of vulnerability and an index of risk, to evaluate adaptation options for reducing the vulnerability of rural agricultural and indigenous communities;

6. promote sharing of knowledge, resources and expertise among research and governance institutions to inform policies and programs for reduced vulnerability and enhanced adaptive capacity;

7. increase the capacity of research organizations and researchers in the five countries to undertake comparative and collaborative interdisciplinary research in the areas of climate change science, vulnerability assessment, and rural sustainability; and

8. enhance young researchers’ expertise and skills in interdisciplinary systems analysis, action-oriented research and knowledge mobilization in the area of global environmental change.