Adapting to Climate Variability and Change: A Guidance Manual for Development Planning
This peer-to-peer technical report – one of USAID’s first manuals outlining climate change – reviews USAID’s current climate change plan as well as how the climate affects development work in countries around the world; it shares a six-step process of integrating vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) elements into project designs.
The report details how anticipating climatic variability and change while designing resilience into development assistance can lead to more robust projects that serve their target populations better. The manual also includes a Frequently Asked Questions section “Incorporating V&A into Project Designs” that is intended for the development practitioner. As an example of the risk that climate change poses to development work, about a quarter of the World Bank’s portfolio is subject to a significant degree of risk from current and future climates. As of 2005, only about 2 percent of projects discuss these risks in the project design documents. According to the report, if an organization is to promote sustainable development, it seems we must consider the role that climate plays in the success or failure of development efforts.
Excerpt from the report:
In developing the Manual, the authors worked under the following assumptions:
- Climate variability already impacts economic sectors in developing countries and addressing climate variability and change will be important for the long-term success of development assistance;
- Project managers and stakeholders will know more about a project than we will (or than a tool can anticipate); project managers are already dealing with uncertainty such as weather and markets;
- We can assist missions/project managers/project designers by providing methods and information (and we are developing a tool to provide access to appropriate climate information, past and future) to facilitate assessment of possible impacts and adaptation options for projects;
- Stakeholder involvement is critical – local knowledge and memory of climate changes over time can help identify adaptation options; building stakeholder ownership of project design and implementation is key to project success.
- The methods employed should be simple enough to meet needs in the field, but provide rigorous enough information on which to base decisions.