Mitigation refers to activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) and preventing further GHG emissions.
Adaptation on the other hand are activities directed towards developing/enhancing coping strategies and resilience to climate change effects, particularly among vulnerable communities.
Despite these two interventions being closely interrelated, international framework on climate change has provided for mitigation and adaptation as two separate entities with more focus being placed on mitigation. Our studies show that this approach is ineffective because of overlaps and redundancy of related projects spearheaded by separate funding streams and institutions. Concerns and needs of vulnerable communities in developing countries have also not been adequately addressed as more emphasis is placed on mitigation as the ‘vehicle’ through which adaptation can be achieved.
Synergy is a key means through which mitigation and adaptation efforts as well as benefits can be leveraged to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in climate change action.
Synergy is achieved if the outcome from interactions between the two interventions is greater than that gained from having the interventions act independent of each other.
Our work on synergies between mitigation and adaptation show that the entry point to synergy should be practices like agroforestry as they already exhibit interconnectedness between the two, addressing any tradeoffs between the two approaches, and providing conducive national and local policies.