Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development planning

Submitted by Albert Salamanca | published 12th Aug 2012 | last updated 1st Mar 2022
man working in river

Introduction

In recent years, there has been a growing push to “mainstream” climate change adaptation into development planning, to avoid working at cross-purposes and more efficiently use resources. This report reviews the main approaches proposed and lessons learned from relevant experiences in the Asia-Pacific region.

Home to over one billion people, and to 60 per cent of the world's poor (UNESCAP, 2009), the Asia-Pacific region is widely viewed as vulnerable to climate change (ADB 2009a, 2009b; USAID 2010:1; World Bank, ADB, and JICA, 2010). The rural poor in developing countries are vulnerable, as they depend on the productivity of climate-sensitive ecosystems for their livelihoods, including agriculture and fisheries. The urban poor are vulnerable to infrastructure and land development decisions that drive settlements into areas that are already exposed to flooding, landslides, and other climate-related disasters, or likely to become so. In both realms, poverty hinders access to education, health care and other important services and resources. Additionally, poor countries often lack the knowledge and resources to adequately adapt to growing climate-related risks, building up an “adaptation deficit”. In this context, climate change exacerbates what are already significant challenges, and adds another layer of risk and uncertainty to efforts to achieve sustainable development.

There is a growing need for policy-makers, particularly in the ministries related to development such as in finance or planning, to better understand how climate change adaptation can be addressed in national and sub-national planning processes, and through fiscal and investment decisions. For example, when making decisions on longlived infrastructure, it may be more cost-effective to take adaptation needs into account earlier rather than later (Agrawala and van Aalst, 2008).

The analysis that follows grew out of a regional forum convened by the Adaptation Knowledge Platform (AKP) and its partners (AKP, 2010b) and held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok in 2010. Participants embraced the notion of mainstreaming adaptation, and explored the options in detail. 

Abstract

Mainstreaming adaptation into development planning has been promoted as an effective way to respond to climate change. The expected benefits include avoided policy conflicts, reduced risks and vulnerability, greater efficiency compared with managing adaptation separately, and leveraging the much larger financial flows in sectors affected by climate risks than the amounts available for financing adaptation separately. This report reviews the main approaches proposed and lessons learned from relevant experiences in the Asia-Pacific region. A regional forum convened by the Adaptation Knowledge Platform and its partners, held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok in 2010, provided the starting point for this analysis.

Citation

Lebel, L., L. Li, C. Krittasudthacheewa, et al., 2012. Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development planning. Bangkok: Adaptation Knowledge Platform and Stockholm Environment Institute. 32 p