Adaptation Toolkit: Guidebook for Researchers and Adaptation Practitioners Working with Local Communities

Increasing climate variability and change is presenting a number of challenges in developing countries against the backdrop of low infrastructure development, rapid urbanisation and limited financial and technical capacity. Consequently, vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning (V&A) is gaining much attention and is generating the need for research knowledge, skills and tools. The Climate Change Capacity Development project (C3D+), which is supported by the European Union and managed by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), has over the years promoted north-south collaborations between organisations to develop tools and enhance capacities of governments, non- governmental and community-based organisations to undertake climate change V&A. Through this initiative ENDA - Energy, Environment and Development - in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) have jointly developed a tool kit for undertaking climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. This activity began in October 2011, was concluded in December 2012 and was undertaken in three major phases: 1) Development of the toolkit: In this first phase various participatory research tools were collected from both SEI and ENDA research libraries. These were reviewed to identify their utility within the V&A process and written up to produce a first draft of the toolkit. 2) Testing and refinement of toolkit: The second phase was to test the tools in a pilot case study in Gambia. Two main research partners within Gambia were identified, namely the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and The Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC). Other local organisations working on environmental issues in Gambia were also involved in the testing. Two pilot communities in the Greater Banjul Area were selected. Researchers first participated in hands-on training to learn about the tools before commencing with the research activities. After the exercises were completed and the data collected in the pilot communities, the tools were refined based on feedback from the field. 3) Stakeholders’ workshop: The third phase involved engaging researchers and adaptation practitioners working with local communities in a workshop to integrate their inputs into the toolkit. A 3-day workshop was conducted where participants were taken through each step of the toolkit in hands-on exercises. Feedback on each tool was given and tools were further refined to make them more user-friendly. When used in combination, the tools in this toolkit help conduct a climate change vulnerability assessment and develop adaptation strategies based on current capacities. Specifically, researchers are able to: identify current capacities, skills and assets in a project site, understand climate related events in the past and coping strategies used as well as current climatic/environmental hazards that shape vulnerability; and on this basis facilitate a multi-stakeholder process for developing locally suitable adaptation strategies. Also documented in this kit are the research experiences and lessons learned during the testing and refinement process.

Date published: 
March 2013
Gifty Ampomah, ENDA, Tahia Devisscher, SEI
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