Understand: The basics of vulnerability and climate change adaptation
Introduction: This module explains vulnerability and highlights the impacts of climate change in Africa.
It defines climate change adaptation and details available adaptation options. It also provides information about how to respond to the climate crisis through good practices in Community-Based and Locally Led Adaptation.
What will I learn in this module?
Be able to explain what causes vulnerability.
Understand the meaning of climate change adaptation and the various options for adaptation.
Have gained a better understanding of Community-Based and Locally Led Adaptation approaches and the principles that underpin them.
Understand the value and role of nature-based solutions in climate change adaptation action.
The below infographic provides a summary of the key content in this module:
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Climate change hits poor people hardest
Climate change is one of the greatest threats to achieving a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and all people live with dignity and security.
Climate change is already making the lives of the poor more challenging. In 2022, the world witnessed record-breaking extreme weather globally, with mighty floods, vast wildfires, enduring heatwaves, and drought on every continent. But Africa is extremely vulnerable. Between 2020 and 2022, more than 52 million people—some 4 percent of the continent’s population—were directly affected by drought and floods. Temperatures are increasing across all regions of Africa and the continent is warming faster than the global average over both land and sea.
By 2030, climate change is expected to have a significant impact on poverty, mainly by pushing up food prices and reducing agricultural production in Africa and South Asia. The World Bank estimates that even with rapid, inclusive, and climate-informed development, climate change will increase poverty for between 3 million and 16 million people in 2030. Worse, if there are delays in inclusive, climate-smart development, poverty could increase for between 32 million and 132 million people.
Climate change is also expected to negatively impact people’s health in all regions. The magnitude of these impacts will depend on the development choices governments make.
Understanding vulnerability to climate change
Vulnerability refers to “the conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes which increase the susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets or systems to the impact of hazards.” Such factors include things like people’s income, levels of education, where they live, and access to housing and health care. Vulnerability affects the degree to which people and ecosystems can cope with climate change.
Vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity (see Figure 1).
The three components of vulnerability are explained below.
Exposure, according to the IPCC, is the “presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental functions, services, and resources, infrastructure, or economic, social, or cultural assets in places and settings that could be adversely affected.” In short, it involves the degree to which people or systems experience, or are expected to experience, climate change impacts.To conceptualize this, think of a house on a riverbank that often floods in heavy rains. The house has a high level of exposure to flooding.
Sensitivity is the “degree to which a system or species is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by climate variability or change.”
To conceptualize this, think of the same house on the riverbank. If it was built of poor-quality materials, it would be more likely to be damaged in the floods and have a higher sensitivity.
Adaptive capacity is the “ability of systems, institutions, humans, and other organisms to adjust to potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to respond to consequences.” This refers to the ability of social systems to: (a) adjust to better respond to the risks associated with climate change, and (b) learn lessons and adjust after a disaster or shock.
Continuing with our example: if the owners decided to move their house to higher ground, away from the riverbank, they would be increasing their adaptative capacity.
How climate change risk is determined
Vulnerability affects the level of climate change risk experienced by communities and countries. Figure 5 highlights the interaction between a climate hazard (such as a flood), vulnerability and exposure, to generate climate change risks.
The injustices of climate change
The countries with historically low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the poorest people, have contributed the least to the climate crisis but are most vulnerable to its impacts. This is at the heart of calls for climate justice.
Climate change is already having negative impacts around the world. As you learned in Module 1, climate change is expected to lead to drops in agricultural productivity, reduced access to water and increased weather extremes. However, these impacts will not be evenly felt around the globe.
How climate change impacts different countries depends on each country’s vulnerability. Figure 6 shows the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change. You will see that Africa is highly vulnerable.
Figure 7 shows how different countries rank on the Human Development Index, a tool that shows levels of development based on life expectancy, education and standard of living. The higher a country’s ranking, the higher its level of human development. As you can see, many of the countries that have low levels of development (in dark blue) are more vulnerable to climate change.
In Figure 8, you can see that the least developed countries, which are most vulnerable to climate change, are typically responsible for the lowest emissions.
Africa is vulnerable and prone to extreme climate risks
Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change and climate variability, a situation aggravated by the interaction of multiple factors such as underdevelopment, conflict and scarcity of resources.
Climate change is already causing systemic risks to Africa’s economies, infrastructure investments, water and food systems, public health, agriculture and livelihoods. The risks posed by climate change threaten to undo the continent’s hard-fought development and reverse decades of economic progress.
Factors combine to make Africa highly vulnerable
What makes Africa vulnerable? There are numerous factors. For example, rates of poverty are high among the millions of smallholder farmers and the large numbers of people who live in informal settlements in cities, with low access to basic services. At the same time, large portions of Africa – in particular, the dryland areas that cover three-fifths of the continent – are warming twice as fast as the global average, putting half a billion people at risk.
Projections estimate that climate change will cause a 2–4% annual loss in gross domestic product (which is a measure of national income) in Africa by 2040. The poor, women, and marginalized or excluded populations will bear the brunt of the impact.
Even if international mitigation efforts keep global warming below 2 °C, the continent is expected to face climate change adaptation costs of USD 50 billion per year by 2050.
On top of these challenges, climate change poses additional threats, including:
Extinction of species and reduction or irreversible loss of ecosystems and their services, including freshwater, land and ocean ecosystems
Risk to food security, risk of malnutrition, and loss of livelihoods due to reduced food production from crops, livestock and fisheries
Risks to marine ecosystem health and to livelihoods in coastal communities
Increased human mortality and morbidity due to increased heat and infectious diseases
Reduced economic output and growth, and increased inequality and poverty rates.
Increased risk to water and energy security due to drought and heat.
Figure 9 shows a few of the ways climate change is already affecting Africa’s social and economic systems.
Different parts of Africa are affected differently
Although the entire continent is expected to be affected by the climate crisis, some regions will be more seriously affected than others, due to their level of vulnerability and adaptive capacity. The countries likely to be hardest hit are generally located in western, southern and eastern Africa.
Below shows how Africa will experience extreme climate change risks in different ways.
Mean annual temperatures are increasing at 0.2 °C to 0.5 °C per decade.
Under each of the major emissions scenarios, a global temperature increase of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels is likely to be exceeded in the next decade or so. By mid-century, all but the lowest emissions scenarios suggest temperature increases of 2 °C or more.
High-emissions scenarios suggest it is very likely that warming will exceed 3 °C by 2100, except in Central Africa where the estimate is 2.5 °C.
Modeling suggests the number of days above 35 °C will increase by 20 to 160 days annually, depending on the scenario and region.
Life-threatening temperatures above 40 °C are projected to increase by 10 to 140 days annually, depending on the scenario and region.
Heat waves and heat stress will increase drastically in the worst scenarios.
The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events are projected to increase almost everywhere in Africa, leading to more flooding.
Observations are variable, but in many areas, there is evidence of a drying trend, especially in parts of North Africa, west southern Africa and central Africa. Models project that this trend will continue.
River flood observations suggest there has been some increase in recent decades. Model results vary with scenario and region. These suggest that what are currently once-in-100-year floods could happen as frequently as once in 40 years under low-warming scenarios, and once in 20 years under higher-warming scenarios.
The West African monsoon appears to arrive later in the year and rainfall is more intense and erratic.
Droughts are expected to increase in all regions of Africa except the northern parts of East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Observation and modelling suggest increasing aridity (dryness) in North Africa, west and east southern Africa, and Madagascar.
Changes in total precipitation are small, but more rain is likely to fall in heavy rainfall events in most regions. The effect of increased precipitation must also be considered alongside the prospect of increasing temperatures. The overall picture is one of drier conditions over most of the continent with more droughts but also more flooding.
African sea levels are currently rising slightly faster than the global average, although a little slower in parts of the Indian Ocean coast. They are virtually certain to continue rising by 0.4 m to 0.5 m by 2100 under low-warming scenarios, and 0.8 m to 0.9 m under high-warming scenarios.
Marine heat waves are expected to continue to increase in frequency and intensity, especially around the Horn of Africa.
Cyclones Cyclones are possibly decreasing in frequency, but high-intensity events will become more common, often associated with very heavy rainfall.
Projections suggest that what is currently a once-in-100-year flooding event will recur every 10 or 20 years by 2050, and every 5 years to annually by 2100, even under moderate warming.
Likely to increase throughout extratropical Africa.
Sea levels and marine heat waves are to continue rising. Cyclones are possibly decreasing in frequency, but high-intensity events will become more common with frequent flooding.
As you can see in Figure 10, in an “optimistic” warming scenario, risk and vulnerability to climate change increases in many African countries by 2050. In a “pessimistic” scenario, this extends to almost all African countries.
How can Africa adapt to climate change?
To deal with the impacts of climate change, Africa needs to adapt. Adaptation involves actions that support households, communities, and countries to respond to the effects of climate change. Such actions support livelihoods, increase income and ensure that wellbeing is protected even when climate change risks arise. An example is the use of drought-tolerant seed varieties for maize production in many countries in East Africa, which has enabled farmers to generate good agricultural produce even when faced with droughts.
The impact of climate change will fall disproportionately on the world’s poorest countries, many of them in Africa. Poor people already live on the front lines of pollution, disaster, and degradation of resources and land. For them, adaptation is a matter of sheer survival.
– Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Adaptation involves adjusting to climate change
As you learned in Module 1, adaptation involves actions that help manage the current and future impacts of climate change. It is a “process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects,” according to the IPCC.
Adaptation involves deciding how to cope with climate change. It includes policy decisions that governments and organizations make to predict how best to adjust to climate impacts. For example, coastal communities at risk of sea level rise can build embankments to hold back the ocean and stop erosion.
Table 1 lists just a few climate change impacts and potential adaptation strategies. The potential unintended consequences of these strategies also need to be considered.
Adaptation strategies are not necessarily easy to implement, or low cost. Some of the main challenges of adaptation are complexity and cost. Adaptation requires trade-offs due to the scarcity of resources.
In some cases, adaptation can have negative effects as well. For example, seawalls do not stop sea level rise. They just block it. Building sea walls in one area can push the problem of sea level rise to a different part of the coast.
Although adaptation is one of the most effective ways of responding to climate change risks, there are times when the climate change risks are too severe. When adaptation actions are no longer effective in protecting communities and societies, then an adaptation limit has been reached.
Maladaptation happens when adaptation backfires
Sometimes, actions that are intended to support communities or societies to adapt may be ineffective. Instead, they can backfire and make communities more vulnerable to climate change risks, by increasing their vulnerability or reducing their adaptive capacity. This is called maladaptation.
Adaptation activities can have a high or low risk of maladaptation. Table 2 highlights examples of low and high-risk adaptation activities.
Three key types of adaptation actions
There are three main categories for adaptation options, according to the IPCC: social, institutional, and physical. These should be considered overlapping rather than discrete. They are often implemented simultaneously. Examples given here can be relevant to more than one category.
1. Social adaptation options include behavioral, educational and informational options such as:
hazard and vulnerability mapping
land and water conservation techniques
communication campaigns on climate change
2. Institutional adaptation options include economic and policy changes such as:
local development plans that include adaptation
laws for defining no-building zones in flood-prone areas
defining forest-protected areas to preserve water sources in areas exposed to water scarcity
national or regional climate change strategies
integration of adaptation into sectoral policies
financial incentives, including taxes and subsidies.
3. Physical adaptation options include making changes to the built environment using technology and ecosystem-based services. Examples include:
climate resilient infrastructure, such as quality road surfaces to withstand hotter temperatures, and storm-resistant buildings or shelters
traditional technologies, such as floating gardens
food banks and distribution of food surplus.
Putting communities at the heart of adaptation
People and communities on the frontlines of climate change are often the most active and innovative in developing adaptation solutions. Yet, too often, they lack access to the resources and agency needed to implement these actions effectively. Adaptation efforts must put communities at the forefront.
Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) interventions aim to improve the capacity of local communities and individuals to adapt to climate change. This approach places emphasis on building the adaptive capacity of the poorest and most marginalized people.
In CBA initiatives, organizations, governments and others support communities to act and bring about positive changes in their lives. For example, communities might be supported in changing the time of year they plant crops to better align with changing rainfall patterns or build homes that can better withstand high-intensity cyclones.
CBA can also focus on preserving natural systems. For example, many communities might work together to protect and conserve a river basin.
CBA aims to:
1. Generate adaptation strategies with communities and other local stakeholders to improve the uptake and sustainability of the adaptation process and develop a strong sense of ownership within a community.
2. Enhance communities’ awareness and understanding of climate change and uncertainty to create responsive plans and facilitate more flexible and context-appropriate decisions.
3. Embed new knowledge and understanding into existing community structures to expand and strengthen those structures as well as institutional mechanisms.
CBA initiatives can be integrated into sectoral projects or implemented as stand-alone projects. While CBA focuses on communities, CBA approaches do not work exclusively at the community level.CBA is rather a “community-led” or “community-driven” process that supports a rights-based approach. This approach builds on communities’ economic, ecological and administrative interconnectivity, supporting them to work at higher levels as appropriate.
Four interlinked strategies for Community-Based Adaptation
To build adaptive capacity, the CBA process should incorporate four interlinked strategies, shown in Figure 11.
1. Promote climate-resilient livelihoods
Climate-resilient livelihoods refer to livelihoods that are less sensitive to climate change. To support the development of climate-resilient livelihoods CBA can, for example, promote new agricultural techniques to improve soil moisture or drought-resistant seeds in areas that are becoming drier.
2. Promote disaster risk reduction
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) includes all activities that can help reduce the impacts of disasters, particularly on vulnerable households and individuals. It includes prevention, preparedness, response and rehabilitation measures such as contingency planning, building storage for food, informing communities about safe locations in case of emergency, and developing early warning systems.
Climate change adaptation and DRR are strongly linked: they both look at climate-related hazards. Climate change adaptation addresses additional gradual effects of climate change, such as sea level rise or temperature rise, while DRR can include non-climate-related hazards, such as earthquakes.
3. Build local adaptive and organizational capacity
Local adaptive and organizational capacity includes capacity development for local civil society organizations (CSOs) and governmental institutions and local authorities so that they can provide better support to communities in their adaptation efforts. It can include development of local adaptation and contingency plans, and training on climate change for local authorities and CSOs.
4. Address the underlying causes of vulnerability
The underlying causes of vulnerability can refer to poverty, poor governance, environmental degradation, unequal access to and control over resources, limited access to basic services, or gender inequality, depending on the context. These can be addressed through advocacy, social mobilization, and other methods.
Locally Led Adaptation
While CBA provides support to communities, Locally Led Adaptation (LLA) aims to put local institutions and communities in control of the actions that affect them.
It follows eight principles, launched in 2021 (see Figure 12). These were developed by the Global Commission on Adaptation, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD).
The difference between Community-Based Adaptation and Locally Led Adaptation
Community-Based Adaptation is a set of climate change adaptation activities developed in partnership with at-risk communities to promote local awareness of, and appropriate and sustainable solutions to, current and future climatic conditions.
Locally Led Adaptation refers to climate adaptation in which local communities, community-based organizations, citizen groups, local government, and local private sector entities at the lowest administrative structure are included as decision makers in the interventions that affect them (World Resources Institute).
Nature-based solutions for adaptation
Combining nature-based solutions with community-oriented adaptation approaches is critical for building the resilience of ecosystems on which poor communities rely for their livelihoods.
What are nature-based solutions?
Nature-based solutions support climate change adaptation and mitigation by using natural systems and processes to restore ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enable sustainable livelihoods. They are actions that prioritize ecosystems and biodiversity. They are designed and implemented with the full engagement and consent of local communities and Indigenous Peoples.
Examples include planting trees, restoring wetlands, conserving mangrove forests, or switching to regenerative farming practices.
Figure 13 illustrates the concept of nature-based solutions.
What is an ecosystem?
An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganism communities and the non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. Humans are an integral part of ecosystems.
What do nature-based solutions for adaptation look like?
Nature-based solutions may include protecting and restoring forests, rivers, coastal wetlands, mangroves and marshes. Figure 15 shows examples and their associated benefits.
The role of climate information services
When communities have access to accurate information about weather and climate, it builds their adaptive capacity. For example, when armed with accurate, high-quality data and analyses, tailored to their needs, farmers can plan what to plant and when. Policymakers, such as government ministries and local government representatives, can also use this information to make properly informed decisions. For example, on where to provide food assistance, or on how to design climate change policies. Likewise, if people know about impending extreme events they can prepare in advance.
Broadly speaking, Climate Information Services involve processes for collating, analyzing, packaging and distributing climate data on variables such as temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture, ocean conditions and extreme weather indicators to different groups of people so that they can use it to inform decision making.
Deepen your understanding. Find links to supporting scientific research, important publications, and tools
Understanding climate hazards, vulnerabilities and impacts in Africa
EXPLORE the tools provided by the IPCC Interactive Atlas, the ThinkHazard tool and the INFORM Climate Change Products to help you identify four or five climate hazards and vulnerabilities. Here, you will learn about the different types of hazards, and the types of vulnerabilities that are determining risk posed by these hazards. You will also be able to explore how these hazards and vulnerabilities differ across different geographies.
READ about the effects of climate change in different parts of Africa from the Climate Action Tracker. This will highlight how different parts of the continent are affected by global warming and how this is manifested through different climate change risks.
READ an article on the differentiated vulnerabilities to climate change in Uganda. Here, you will learn about how climate change generates different types of vulnerabilities for different groups of people, and how this affects their daily lives.
READ the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report chapter on the impacts of climate change and adaptation pathways in Africa. Here, you will learn about the options available to African countries and communities.
READ more about maladaptation here. You will learn about the different definitions and causes of maladaptation. There are also different examples of how maladaptation has occurred in different contexts across the world.
What Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) is and why we need to accelerate adaptation action
The importance of locally led approaches to adaptation including CBA, which considers gender and ecosystems
What CBA looks like in practice.
Locally Led Adaptation
READ about the principles for Locally Led Adaptation. These emphasize the importance of (for example): devolving decision making to the lowest appropriate level; addressing structural inequalities faced by women, youth, children, the disabled and elderly; the importance of funding; and building a better understanding of climate risks.
WATCH the following videos to understand LLA principles.
(a) Youth Adaptation Dialogue: Role of universities and students in Locally Led Adaptation (1:06:19). This video is a recording of a webinar that had some young people as panelists talking about locally led adaptation. It will introduce you to the principles of locally led adaptation, and also highlight the role of young people in advancing it.
(b) Anchoring Event: Locally Led Adaptation (1:59:16). In this video, which is also a recording of a webinar, you will learn about the importance of international collaborations and financing in enabling locally led adaptation. You will hear from people working on adaptation speaking about their experiences on locally led adaptation and how the principles can be operationalized.
READ the Waterways to Resilience report by WWF. With interest in nature-based solutions increasing, the report focuses on the evidence, both from Africa and globally, on their ability to effectively address five key water challenges – water scarcity, degradation of water quality, flood risk, stormwater and urban floods, and coastal erosion and floods.
Adaptation Good Practice Checklist
READ the Adaptation Good Practice Checklist (AGP), which provides guidance on actions and criteria that help to ensure adaptation results in quality, impactful and long-term climate resilience for the most vulnerable people. The nine practices in the AGP checklist define the range of activity areas that are needed for adaptation to climate change.
Climate Information Services
READthe CARE CIS report, which presents a synthesis of CARE’s engagement in and learning from CIS work in Africa and Asia, supporting agriculture decision making and early warning early action systems towards climate resilience among climate-vulnerable communities.
LEARN about Climate Information Services and how they contribute to increasing climate resilience and how to implement CIS programs in this online course on the Basics of Climate Information Services.
Read case studies, watch videos, and listen to podcasts about young climate leaders to get fired up for your own climate change actions!
In 2020 and 2021, Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) enabled people to prepare for floods, and to pre-position resources. CARE Ethiopia continues to mainstream PSP through many of its projects, as the approach works as an effective bridge between the technical Ethiopia National Meteorology Agency data and national/regional forecasting and brings it down to the local level, using and blending with indigenous forecasting and information systems.
Where the Rain Falls
In this CARE project, 1300 households were surveyed in eight different countries (Guatemala, Peru, Ghana, Tanzania, Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Vietnam), where people overwhelmingly perceived climatic changes happening today in the form of rainfall variability. In seven of the eight countries, more than 80% (sometimes as many as 90%) already perceived at least one change relating to the timing, quality, quantity and overall predictability of rainfall. These include delayed onset and shorter rainy seasons; reduced number of rainy days per year; increased frequency of heavy rainfall events; and more frequent prolonged dry spells during rainy seasons. In eight research sites, the households whose livelihoods were mainly dependent on agriculture reported that rainfall variability negatively affected food production and food consumption.
Without water there is no life: a case study from Zimbabwe
This case study highlights communities’ experiences of climate change, and the effects of climate change on availability of water. It also describes the work done by a project to help communities adapt to climate change.
WATCH this video (6:46) about Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) in an Info-Act project in Vietnam. You will learn about the use of a PSP exercise. You will also learn about how it is conducted and what participants and other stakeholders think about its benefits.
WATCH this video (1:49) about a campaign to encourage people to invest in nature. This campaign is titled Time #fornature
Your last stop. Here, you have space to test your knowledge (with a short quiz) and consider how you can apply what you have learned to your own climate action.
Test your understanding
You have learnt a lot and have many red hot ideas. Test your knowledge with a quiz and give yourself space to cool down and reflect on what you have learnt. Use this section to take stock of how you will put your skills into action.
Vulnerability is a function of which three elements?
Correct answer:b) Exposure, Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity
Explanation: Vulnerability is a function of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. It refers to “the conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes which increase the susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets or systems to the impact of hazards.”
Using drought-tolerant seed varieties for maize production is an example of which type of climate action?
Correct answer:b) Adaptation
Explainer: Adaptation efforts in Africa involve actions that support households, communities, and countries to respond to the effects of climate change. Such actions support livelihoods, increase income and ensure that wellbeing is protected even when climate change risks arise.
The IPCC classifies adaptation options into three main categories. Which of the below is correct:
Correct answer:b) Social, Institutional, Physical
Explanation: There are three main categories for adaptation options, according to the IPCC: social, institutional, and physical. These should be considered overlapping rather than discrete. They are often implemented simultaneously.
…................ is a set of climate change adaptation activities developed in partnership with at-risk communities to promote local awareness of, and appropriate and sustainable solutions to, current and future climatic conditions. Select the missing term.
Correct answer:b) Community-Based Adaptation
Explanation: Community-Based Adaptation is a set of climate change adaptation activities developed in partnership with at-risk communities to promote local awareness of, and appropriate and sustainable solutions to, current and future climatic conditions. Locally led adaptation refers to climate adaptation in which local communities, community-based organizations, citizen groups, local government, and local private sector entities at the lowest administrative structure are included as decision makers in the interventions that affect them.
Which of the following is not an example of a nature-based solution?
Correct answer:c) Resurfacing roads
Explanation: Nature-based solutionssupport climate change adaptation and mitigation by using natural systems and processes to restore ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enable sustainable livelihoods. They are actions that prioritize ecosystems and biodiversity and are designed and implemented with the full engagement and consent of local communities and Indigenous Peoples.
Congratulations You have now completed this module
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Reflect and prepare for your climate adaptation action
Consider the following questions about vulnerability and adaptation.
What are some of the main causes of vulnerability to climate change in your community or country? (List 3-5).
Based on what you have learned about adaptation, what types of actions could help improve the adaptive capacity of those most vulnerable to climate change?
Which nature-based solutions might be included in actions to improve adaptive capacity?
Accredited Entities partner with GCF to implement projects. Accredited Entities can be private or public, non-governmental, sub-national, national, regional or international, as long as they meet the standards of the Fund. Accredited Entities carry out a range of activities that usually include the development of funding proposals and the management and monitoring of projects and programmes. Countries may access GCF resources through multiple entities simultaneously.
Adaptation finance gap refers to difference between the estimated costs of adaptation and the actual number of financial resources needed to support adaptation efforts. The estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are five to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows, and the adaptation finance gap is widening.
Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP)
ASAP was launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2012 to make climate and environmental finance work for smallholder farmers. A multi-year and multi-donor financing window, ASAP provides a new source of co-financing to scale up and integrate climate change adaptation across IFAD’s new investments.
The Adaptation Fund is a global fund established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol and are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. It pioneered Direct Access, empowering countries to access funding and develop projects directly through accredited national implementing entities.
The Cancun Adaptation Framework is a set of guidelines and measures that were established during the UNCCC held in Cancun in 2010.
The CAF aims to strengthen action on adaptation in developing countries through international cooperation. It will support better planning and implementation of adaptation measures through increased financial and technical support, and through strengthening and/or establishing regional centres and networks. The framework will also boost research, assessments and technology cooperation on adaptation, as well as strengthen education and public awareness.
Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties that persist for an extended period, typically decades or longer.
The term "climate change" often refers specifically to anthropogenic climate change (also known as global warming). Anthropogenic climate change is caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of Earth's natural processes.
In human systems, climate change adaptation refers to the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects, in order to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. In natural systems, it refers to the process of adjustment to actual climate and its effects; human intervention may facilitate adjustment to expected climate and its effects.
In practical terms, adaptation refers to the changes people and institutions make to adjust to observed or projected changes in climate. It is an ongoing process that aims to reduce vulnerability to climate change.
Retrieved from: CARE (2019).
Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis Handbook: careclimatechange.org/cvca/
Climate crisis is a term increasingly being used by UN agencies, scientists, media and civil society organizations to better reflect the urgency and the severity of the emergency we are facing. It reflects the fact that the climate is changing as a result of human behavior, and that it has and will have dramatic effects on women, men, girls and boys and their environment.
Climate Finance refers to local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.
Climate Funds Update is an independent website that provides information and data on the growing number of multilateral climate finance initiatives designed to help developing countries address the challenges of climate change.
Climate information refers to the collection and interpretation of observations of the actual weather and climate as well as simulations of climate in both past and future periods. Climate information is the collection and interpretation of weather and climate data that is credible, relevant and usable.
CIS involve the provision of climate information in a way that assists decision making by individuals and organizations. They are tools and processes that enable decision makers and user communities to assess, and prevent or prepare for, potential impactful weather and climate events.
Climate Justice is about a future in which the poorest and most marginalized people have significantly improved their wellbeing and can enjoy their human rights due to increased resilience to climate change, increased equality and a global temperature rise that is limited to 1.5°C.
Evidence-based analysis conducted to identify 1) the extent to which a human, social and/or ecological system has been or will likely be affected by climate variability and change, and 2) strategies to address these impacts.
Climate-Smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrated approach to managing landscapes—cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries — that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change.
Community-based adaptation is a set of climate change adaptation activities developed in partnership with at-risk communities to promote local awareness of, and appropriate and sustainable solutions to, current and future climatic conditions.
The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements.
The Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) directed the EAC Secretariat to develop a Climate Change Policy and strategies to address the adverse impacts of Climate Change in the region and harness any potential opportunities posed by Climate Change in the context of the principle of sustainable development.
The overall objective of the EAC Climate Change Policy is to guide Partner States and other stakeholders on the preparation and implementation of collective measures to address Climate Change in the region while assuring sustainable social and economic development.
This Framework is prepared to provide the effective delivery of adaptation services to the most climate vulnerable areas and people of Nepal. It supports the design of new and implementation of existing Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPAs) that have already been designed and piloted. It is expected to help integrate climate adaptation and resilience aspects in local and national plans.
The direct effects of climate change that can be observed by rising maximum and/or minimum temperatures, rising sea levels, ocean temperature, changing rainfall patterns, increase in (heavy) precipitation, glacier melting, heatwaves, cyclones, drought, etc. and that in return lead to more climate related hazards. The effects of these changes on humans and natural environment can be seen in e.g. increased hunger and poverty as a result from failed harvest due to droughts/extreme rain; Health risks as a result from heatwaves; Increased pests from change in temperature; Loss of biodiversity, as flora and fauna cannot adapt to a new climate reality; Reduction in fish from coral bleaching as a result from ocean acidification.
Exposure is “the presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental functions, services, and resources, infrastructure, or economic, social, or cultural assets in places and settings that could be adversely affected”.
Gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female.
Gender equity is the process of being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, strategies and measures must often be available to compensate for women’s historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field. Equity leads to equality.
Strategies applied in program planning, assessment, design, implementation and M&E to consider gender norms and to compensate for gender-based inequalities. For example, when a project conducts a gender analysis and incorporates the results into its objectives, work plan and M&E plan, it is undertaking a gender integration process.
Adaptation can be incremental (making step-changes in the way people act but maintaining the system) or transformative (serving to fundamentally change system attributes). Gender-transformative approaches create opportunities for individuals to actively challenge existing gender norms, promote positions of social and political influence for women, and address power inequalities between persons of different genders.
Goals are the specification of what an advocacy initiative should accomplish. Goals need to be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. They should clearly state what will change, who will make that change, by how much, and when. When goals are poorly articulated or ambiguous, it can be difficult to understand what the advocacy initiative is trying to achieve, to maintain focus and to evaluate efforts.
GCF is a unique global platform to respond to climate change by investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development. GCF was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries, and to help vulnerable societies adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. Given the urgency and seriousness of this challenge, GCF is mandated to make an ambitious contribution to the united global response to climate change.
The atmospheric gases responsible for causing global warming and climate change. The major GHGs are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20). Less prevalent --but very powerful -- greenhouse gases are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
Hazard is a potentially damaging physical event, phenomenon and/or human activity, which may cause the loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.
Integrated risk management law and policy (IRM) checklist
This checklist can be used as a basis for advocacy strategies aiming to integrate Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change Adaptation and Ecosystem Management and Restoration into laws, policies and their implementation on the ground.
IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options
The Joint Principles for Adaptation (JPA) is a statement by civil society organizations from across the world on what they consider to be a benchmark for good adaptation planning and implementation. It is a tool for ensuring that national policies and plans meet the needs and fulfil the rights of the most vulnerable people to adapt to climate change.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that was adopted on 11 December 1997. Owing to a complex ratification process, it entered into force on 16 February 2005. Currently, there are 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
In short, the Kyoto Protocol operationalizes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing industrialized countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets.
The LDCF is enabling Least Developed Countries to prepare for a more resilient future. LDCF funding helps recipient countries address their short-, medium- and long-term resilience needs and reduce climate change vulnerability in priority sectors and ecosystems.
LDCF backing helps countries implement National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs) – country-driven strategies for addressing their most urgent adaptation needs. It also supports the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process, and the Least Developed Country work program under the UNFCCC.
This Framework is prepared to provide the effective delivery of adaptation services to the most climate vulnerable areas and people of Nepal. It supports the design of new and implementation of existing Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPAs) that have already been designed and piloted. It is expected to help integrate climate adaptation and resilience aspects in local and national plans.
LLA allows an approach of empowerment of the different local stakeholders through the implementation of different tools for participatory planning, consensual decision making, accountability and integration of local and scientific knowledge, as well as capacity building by prioritizing local stakeholders. Thus, it is important to understand that local stakeholders better understand their problems and the actions to prioritize in order to solve them. In this sense, locally-led adaptation allows power to be shifted to local stakeholders while they are accompanied by external actors to alleviate the burden of responsibility for adaptation, in order to catalyze effective, equitable and transparent adaptation. Locally-led adaptation, unlike other more common participatory approaches, goes beyond the involvement of local stakeholders and only occurs when they have control over the development and adaptation processes. For CARE, this approach is equivalent to the CBA.
Loss and damage is a general term used in UN climate negotiations to refer to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to, or when options exist but a community doesn’t have the resources to access or make use of them.
Monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) practices have the purpose of applying knowledge gained from evidence and analysis to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and, ultimately, the outcomes and impact of their projects/initiatives and ensure accountability for the resources used to achieve them.
The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) is a process that was established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework (CAF). It enables Parties to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs. It is a continuous, progressive and iterative process that follows a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach.
NAPAs provide a process for the least-developed countries (LDCs) to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs with regard to adaptation to climate change - those needs for which further delay could increase vulnerability or lead to increased costs at a later stage. The rationale for NAPAs rests on the limited ability of the LDCs to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. In the NAPA process, prominence is given to community-level input as an important source of information, recognizing that grassroots communities are the main stakeholders.
National Communication is a report that each country that is a Party to the UNFCCC must submit. These reports highlight development priorities, objectives and national circumstances, including ongoing action and needs for meeting adaptation and mitigation goals and the
objectives of the Convention. Parties are required to submit their first NC within three years of entering the Convention, and every four years thereafter.
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are climate action plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years.
Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, to provide both human well-being and biodiversity benefits
Objectives are specific and measurable targets that must be achieved in order to realize the broader goals. These objectives are concrete and medium-term and provide a clear direction for the organization and individuals in achieving the goal.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.
The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.
PESTLE stands for: Political, Economic, Social Technological, Legal and Environmental factors or trends.
It is helpful to break down the process of undertaking a context analysis into manageable chunks using a PESTLE analysis. This tool promotes a systematic understanding of the wider environment. It can also help to identify new issues and opportunities on the horizon; to create scenarios; and to develop a coherent vision.
Pilot Program for Climate Resilience is a program that supports developing countries and regions in building their adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change. First, the PPCR assists governments in integrating climate resilience into strategic development planning across sectors and stakeholder groups. Second, it provides concessional and grant funding to put the plans into action and pilot innovative public and private sector solutions.
Primary targets are the people who have the power to make the changes needed to achieve the advocacy objectives. They are often known as decision-makers. It is vital to know who makes the decisions so as not to waste time or resources targeting the wrong people.
Problem Trees are graphic tools that helps find solutions by mapping out the anatomy of cause and effect around an issue in a similar way to a Mind Map, but with more structure. The policy-related problem or issue is written in the centre of the flip chart and becomes the trunk of the tree. The causes and consequences of the focal problem become the roots. The question of ‘why’ an issue is a problem needs to be repeatedly asked to find the root cause.
Non-hazardous waste material that cannot be re-used or recycled and needs to be sent to energy recovery (incineration/biogas) or disposal (landfill)
Resilience is the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions through risk management.
Resilience is the capacity to deal with shocks and stresses, manage risks and transform lives and systems in response to new hazards.
Results chains are a visual tool for showing what a project is doing and why. They explain all the links in the chain from project actions to market actor changes, through to impacts on target groups, in detail, for a particular intervention. They can be used to monitor change and adapt strategy on an ongoing basis.
Risk is “the potential for adverse consequences where something of value is at stake and where the occurrence and degree of an outcome is uncertain.” Risk is a function of vulnerability, exposure and the likelihood of a hazard occurring.
Secondary targets are individuals or groups who have the potential to influence or persuade the primary target, who may be difficult to reach or persuade directly.
Secondary targets could be people to whom the primary target is accountable, advisors, local government officials, media, public opinion, personal contacts, celebrities, or academics. By persuading these secondary targets, the hope is that they can then influence the primary target to change their stance or take a desired action.
The Special Climate Change Fund is a fund that is established under the Convention in 2001 to finance projects relating to: adaptation; technology transfer and capacity building; energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management; and economic diversification. It is managed by the GEF.
SDGs are seventeen global goals, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future and are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The UNFCCC is an international treaty that entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today, it has near-universal membership. The 198 countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention. Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC.
In the context of climate change, vulnerability refers to the potential for negative effects resulting from the impacts of climate change. Vulnerability to the same risks may differ based on gender, wealth, mobility and other factors. It is influenced by adaptive capacity; the higher the adaptive capacity, the lower the vulnerability.