Hard-won development gains are under real threat due to climate change impacts on rural transport infrastructure (RTI) and it is a major challenge, within normally available budgets, to ensure that rural access is made sustainably climate resilient. The ability of engineers and engineering geologists to identify problems and to devise solutions that provide sustainable cost-effective access for the rural poor is a key factor in overarching aims of poverty reduction and socio-economic development in lower and middle-income countries (LMICs). Engineering geology, through its inherent wide-ranging and inclusive approach to earth science, has an important role to play in providing a holistic and cross-sectorial framework to meet this challenge in a sustainable manner. This paper firstly emphasizes the importance of RTI, then outlines the climate change risks to RTI and hence to socio-economic development in LMICs. The paper then describes the key contribution that engineering geology can make to combatting this challenge through cost-effective climate-strengthening measures aided by the practical application of sound earth-science principles in a budget-constrained environment. Illustrative examples are taken from recent and ongoing LMIC projects funded by the UKAID Department for International Development, the Word Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Kreditanstaltfür Wiederaufbau – the German Development Bank.

Thematic collection: This article is part of the Climate change and resilience in Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology collection available at: https://www.lyellcollection.org/cc/climate-change-and-resilience-in-engineering-geology-and-hydrogeology

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