From Assessment to Implementation: Approaches for Adaptation Options Analysis
This technical report presents principles that should be at the center of adaptation options analysis, along with tools that will introduce rigor into the selection process such as decision rules, cost benefit analysis, cost effectiveness analysis, and multi-criteria analysis. For the development policymaker and practitioner, an important focus involves documenting vulnerability and risk of impacts. However, there is limited experience in linking these vulnerability assessments to the identification and selection of options for climate change adaptation activities.
The report discusses discrete activities, which are designed to directly address climate-based vulnerability, and integrated activities that seek to strengthen the robustness to climate change of a particular development activity. Discrete activities often are based on a vulnerability assessment, while integrated activities need to deal with a variety of other existing stresses and thus operate under a risk management framework that helps decision-makers understand what risks are relevant, what risks need minimizing, and what residual risks to live with. As a result, across both types of adaptation activities, options analysis must be grounded in a particular decision context, and the processes for selecting options must be transparent, systematic, and inclusive while involving the stakeholders from early in the process as well as laying out all assumptions openly.
Excerpt from the report:
While a detailed treatment of climate change vulnerability is beyond the scope of this paper, it is worth emphasizing several overarching issues:
- Vulnerability has significant spatial characteristics and varies from place to place (e.g., the vulnerability of coastal and mountain communities differ greatly);
- Vulnerability is temporally dynamic (e.g., will vary between rainy and dry seasons);
- The nature of vulnerability differs dramatically at different scales at which projects, plans, or programs operate (e.g., vulnerability of a household living on the flood plains is very different from that of a nation facing food deficits);
- Socio-economic factors create differential vulnerability among groups (e.g., certain groups like women and children are often more vulnerable than others);
- Increasing demands on natural resources causes environmental degradation and resource depletion, which contribute to higher vulnerability driven by socio-economic factors, especially where people depend directly upon natural resources for their livelihoods; and
- Many of the factors that contribute to vulnerability are mediated by institutions, both formal and informal.