Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL)

Submitted by Sabrina Lambat | published 15th Apr 2011 | last updated 14th Jun 2018
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CRiSTAL is a project-planning tool that helps users design activities that support climate adaptation (i.e.,adaptation to climate variability and change) at the community level. CRiSTAL stands for “Community based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods.”

  • Community-based – CRiSTAL focuses on projects at the local community level.

  • Risk Screening – CRiSTAL helps users to identify and prioritize climate risks that their projects might address.

  • Adaptation and Livelihoods – CRiSTAL helps users to identify livelihood resources most important to climate adaptation (i.e., adaptation to climate variability and change) and uses these as a basis for designing adaptation strategies.

While climate variability and change may not always be the most important stresses affecting a specific community, they should always be considered when designing and implementing a development project, particularly in communities characterized by climate-sensitive and/or natural resource-dependent livelihoods.

Indeed, any activity that does not account for present and future potential climate risks may inadvertently increase a community’s exposure and vulnerability. For example, a food security project may encourage dependence on a particular agricultural technology or crop species that may be negatively affected by climate change, thereby increasing local vulnerability in the longer term.

CRiSTAL seeks to systematically assess the impacts of a project on some of the local determinants of vulnerability and exposure, so that project planners and managers can design activities that foster climate adaptation.

Developed by IISD, IUCN, SEI and Intercooperation this is a screening tool designed to help project designers and managers integrate risk reduction and climate change adaptation into community-level projects. It helps project designers and managers:

  1. Understand the links between livelihoods and climate in their project areas;
  2. Assess a project’s impact on community-level adaptive capacity; and
  3. Make project adjustments to improve its impact on adaptive capacity and reduce the vulnerability of communities to climate change.

Outputs from CRISTAL help to assess vulnerability and livelihood profiles, and can also be used to assist in project modification. CRiSTAL has been structured around four framing questions divided into two modules and four sets of questions:

Module 1- Synthesising information on climate and livelihoods  

  • Q1: What is the climate context?
  • Q2: What is the livelihood context?

Module 2- Planning and managing projects for adaptation

  • Q3: What are the impacts of project activities on livelihood resources that are vulnerable to current climate hazards/are important to local coping strategies?
  • Q4: How can project activities be adjusted to reduce vulnerability and enhance adaptive capacity? 

Go to the CRiSTAL online tool >