Oxfam's View of Effective Climate Change Adaptation

Submitted by Andrew Maclean | published 30th Mar 2011 | last updated 8th Apr 2020

Effective Climate Change Adaptation;

•Manages and reduces risks associated with changes in the climate.

•Involves planning for the long-term future while simultaneously helping communities cope with present circumstances, by reducing vulnerability and increasing their capacity to act.

• Hinges both on addressing vulnerability through ‘climate-compatible development’ (for example, ensuring that existing agricultural practices are sustainable where there is more likelihood of drought in the future) and developing specific responses to climate change impacts (for example, specific responses such as building sea walls in low-lying islands to stop erosion).20

• Needs to be flexible enough to cope with uncertainty, and with meeting different needs that might rapidly change.21 • Is appropriate to the local social, economic, and climatic context. •Involves working at different levels (such as: community, district, national, and international)

• Is integrated into development and humanitarian programming (including livelihoods, DRR, natural-resource management, and governance programmes) to build on Oxfam’s extensive and existing good practice in these areas.

Climate change adaptation for Oxfam is not:

• Just about ‘good programming’. The threat of climate change across Oxfam’s programmes means it must be considered in context analyses (for example, building a flood shelter that fails to take into account the changed flood risk would not constitute effective adaptation). Analysis needs to take into account the changing dynamics of risk in the light of climate change so that interventions are sustainable for generations to come.

• Relabelling existing work: if climate change impacts are not explicitly analysed, or adaptation objectives are not set at the start of a programme, we cannot be sure that programmes are supporting communities to adapt to climate change, nor can we be certain that they will not increase future vulnerability.

•A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. CCA needs to be context specific, in terms of people’s livelihoods and their cultural norms.

•The same as coping strategies, which are generally short term and not sustainable over time.

Source: Introduction to Climate Change Adaptation: A Learning Companion. Oxfam Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Resources