How Do You Pick the Right Adaptation Strategy? 4 Tools Can Help

Fiji
Kenya
Main image: 
Moushumi Chaudhury, Juan-Carlos Altamirano, Helen Ding and Erin Gray

There are a lot of ways to adapt to climate change. Choosing the right one can be tricky.

In Kenya, adaptation planners are faced with the question of how to minimize the impact of droughts, which are becoming more frequent. They could choose to set up weather-based insurance schemes or enable farmers to plant more drought-tolerant maize. Fiji faces rising sea levels and increased flooding. Adaptation planners in Fiji could choose between relocating people from one island to another or building higher sea walls. Given limited financial, technical and capacity resources, what’s the best option?

It’s a question decision-makers often face, yet it’s one they often answer without using a scientific or a methodological approach. If countries are not able to choose appropriate options, then they may not be able to develop appropriate adaptation projects that could be potentially funded by climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund.

In order for countries to successfully pick an appropriate adaptation strategy and apply for climate finance from the Green Climate Fund and other funds, such as the Adaptation Fund, adaptation planners need to be equipped with technical tools. Under the Green Climate Fund Readiness Program, WRI worked with Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Fiji’s Climate Change Unit (CCU) to identify tools that can help adaptation planners prioritize the right adaptation options and build capacity among adaptation planners. Tools include:

  • Assessing Scaling Potential (ASP): This tool helps to assess the extent to which a project can be scaled up in size and scope to benefit the maximum number of people. ASP is a new tool based on the WRI publication Scaling Success: Lessons from Adaptation Pilots in the Rainfed Regions of India.
     
  • Business Sector Prioritization and Engagement (BSPE): This tool enables the user to determine where adaptation is necessary by ranking the most economically important and climate-vulnerable economic sectors. BSPE is a new tool based on the WRI and UNDP publication Adapting from the Ground Up: Enabling Small Businesses to Adapt to Climate Change.
     
  • Participatory Scenario Development (PSD): PSD has been used for decades to help planners from a wide variety of disciplines jointly create scenarios to plan for the future uncertainties. Participation of a diverse group of decision makers helps create more holistic scenarios and decision making can be based on consensus.
     
  • Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA): CBA, a tool that has been around for decades, enables people to compare monetized costs and benefits of various options and prioritize the option that offers the greatest benefit at the lowest cost.

The tools provide adaptation planners the ability to choose options so that the options are grounded in natural, climate and social sciences. The tools also encourage a multi-stakeholder approach to decision making—involving groups like government agencies, NGOs and the private sector— because it encourages diverse perspectives to be included in decision-making. In order to read about these tools in more detail, please see the paper Prioritizing Adaptation Options: Four Tools for Adaptation Planners.

Currently, climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund provide guidance on the types of projects they are looking to fund, but they do not provide capacity building to better equip adaptation planners to learn about various tools available to prioritize effective adaptation options that can attract financing. This could be done by providing training and setting up online technical support groups so that adaptation planners can help each other and share lessons. WRI will also continue to help adaptation planners through the NDC Partnership that will soon offer the Toolbox Navigator, which aims to provide countries with the tools, best practices and support needed to achieve ambitious climate and sustainable development targets.