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  • Meeting the Needs, Keeping the Balance

    Mekong River Commission

    ISSN: 1683-1489

    Review of climate change adaptation methods and tools

    MRC Technical PaperNo. 34

    December 2010

  • Mekong River Commission

    Review of climate change adaptation methods and tools

    MRC Technical Paper

    No 34

    December 2010

    Meeting the Needs, Keeping the Balance

    ISSN: 1683-1489

  • Published in Vientiane, Lao PDR in December 2010 by the Mekong River Commission

    Suggested citation:

    Schipper L., Liu W., Krawanchid D. and Chanthy S. (2010) Review of climate change adaptation methods and tools. MRC Technical Paper No. 34, Mekong River Commission, Vientiane.

    The opinions and interpretation expressed within are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Mekong River Commission.

    Editor: Robin Taylor

    Mekong River Commission

    Office of the Secretariat in Phnom Penh (OSP)576 National Road, #2, Chak Angre Krom, P.O. Box 623, Phnom Penh, CambodiaTel. (855-23) 425 353. Fax (855-23) 425 363

    Office of the Secretariat in Vientiane (OSV), Office of the Chief Executive Officer184 Fa Ngoum Road, P.O. Box 6101, Vientiane, Lao PDR Tel (856-21) 263 263. Fax (856-21) 263 264Website: www.mrcmekong.orgEmail: mrcs@mrcmekong.org

  • iii

    Table of contents

    Summary ............................................................................................................................... vii1 Introduction ..........................................................................................................................12 Methodology and definitions ...............................................................................................3 2.1 Objectives ...................................................................................................................3 2.2 Key definitions ............................................................................................................6 2.3 Literature review .........................................................................................................8 2.4 Analytical focus ........................................................................................................10 2.5 Review methodology ................................................................................................11 2.6 Challenges, limitations and information gaps ..........................................................123 Trends in thought on adaptation planning .................................................................14 3.1 Moving from single to multiple drivers of change: the scholarly journey ...............16 3.2 The practice of adaptation planning: applying methods and tools ...........................184 Review of projects, actions and initiatives ..................................................................23 4.1 Overview of adaptation in LMB countries ...............................................................23 4.2 Policy and institutional responses to climate change in LMB countries ..................26 4.3 Overview of projects, actions and initiatives ............................................................26 4.4 Networks, partnerships and activities .......................................................................30 4.5 Institutions ................................................................................................................325 Methods and tools .........................................................................................................36 5.1 Methods and tools in LMB countries .......................................................................36 5.2 Overview of methods and tools for adaptation planning ..........................................38 5.3 Scoping .....................................................................................................................44 5.4 Vulnerability assessment ..........................................................................................45 5.5 Identification, development and implementation of adaptation options ...................46 5.6 Gender.......................................................................................................................476 Analysis of methods and tools ......................................................................................50 6.1 Evaluation of methods and tools...............................................................................51 6.2 Selection criteria .......................................................................................................54 6.3 Using methods and tools for adaptation planning in LMB countries .......................567 Conclusions ....................................................................................................................618 References ......................................................................................................................62Annex I. Additional definitions ............................................................................................66Annex II. Details of projects.................................................................................................68Annex III. List of climate adaptation actions .....................................................................74

  • iv

    List of tables and figures

    Table 1. Definitions of approach, method and tool ................................................................ 3Table 2. Adaptation definitions. ............................................................................................. 7Table 3. Relevant best practice criteria. ............................................................................... 11Table 4. Key words. .............................................................................................................. 12Table 5. WRIs National Adaptive Capacity Framework. .................................................... 21Table 6. Geographical scope of networks, partnerships and activities for Asia and the

    Pacific. .................................................................................................................... 30Table 7. Institutions: scope of climate adaptation work. ...................................................... 35Table 8. Experiences with methods and tools in the LMB countries national

    communications. ..................................................................................................... 36Table 9. Overview of Methods and Tools. ........................................................................... 38Table 10. SWOT analysis of methods and tools. ................................................................... 53Table 11. Assessment criteria for adaptation planning methods and tools. ........................... 55

    Figure 1. MRC CCAI Adaptation Planning Framework. ........................................................ 5Figure 2. Summary of reviewed adaptation projects in Asia. ................................................ 27Figure 3. Summary of the reviewed adaptation planning projects in the Mekong region. .... 28Figure 4. Summary of reviewed climate adaptation capacity building projects in Asia........ 28Figure 5. Summary of actions. ............................................................................................... 29Figure 6. Overview of distribution of methods and tools ...................................................... 43

  • v

    List of acronyms

    ADB Asian Development BankCCAI Climate Change and Adaptation Initiative (of the MRC)CDM Clean Development MechanismGEF Global Environment FacilityGTZ German Technical Development Assistance AgencyIPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeLMB Lower Mekong BasinMARD Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet NamMOE Ministry of Environment, CambodiaMRC Mekong River CommissionNAPA National Adaptation Programme of Action (Reports by the least developed

    countries to the UNFCCC)NGO Non-governmental organisationNWP Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate

    change (under the UNFCCC)SEI Stockholm Environment InstituteSENSA Swedish Environment Secretariat for AsiaSida Swedish International Development Cooperation AgencySWOT Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis methodUNDP UN Development ProgrammeUNFCCC UN Framework Convention on Climate ChangeUSAID United States Agency for International DevelopmentWEAP Water Evaluation and Planning SystemWRI World Resources Institute

  • vii

    Summary

    Climate change is an unavoidable challenge that society will have to deal with over coming decades. For developing countries, the task is particularly daunting. The process of adapting to new conditions, stresses and natural hazards that result from climate change will require additional interventions. Although most communities have some ability to respond to changes and extreme climatic events, the expected impacts of climate change will exceed this capacity almost in all cases. For this reason, it will be necessary to explicitly plan how to adjust to climate change. Adaptation planning begins with an assessment of current and future impacts and vulnerability to climate change. Such assessments are in themselves full of uncertainty, relying on good data that often may not be available. The steps between baseline analysis through to identifying possible adaptation actions are complex, and consequently, approaches to support the planning process have been developed. This report reviews many of the methods and tools that are available for planning adaptation.

    The purpose of this review is twofold: it provides an introduction to the theoretical landscape of planning adaptation to c

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