Climate Proofing for Development is a tool designed to support the integration of climate change impacts, as well as awareness of the challenges and opportunities, in development planning at national to local levels. Climate Proofing aims to make development measures more efficient and resilient. This tool can be applied at the very beginning of a planning phase, or later during the revision stage. It complements other risk analysis instruments, such as the Strategic Environmental Assessment. It is especially important to include climate change issues when working with longer planning horizons.
Climate proofing draws from the concept of mainstreaming adaptation, which means considering climate change across all policy and administrative fields instead of designing "stand-alone" adaptation measures. While human development itself is frequently cited as the most important requirement for adaptation, it can increase vulnerability if climate change is not adequately considered. For example, zoning flood-prone areas for economic development can be counterproductive if flood damages increase due to climate change.
Principles and elements
Climate proofing is based on three principles:
- The planning process is the key of change. As the planning process takes time, sensitive facilitation and a stepwise approach are needed. Strong leadership can be beneficial in the implementation, but imposed decisions should be avoided.
- Climate Proofing must be flexible. The tool is adapted to each specific context, as well as to the existing institutional framework. Additionally, available funds, prior experience with environmental tools, awareness on climate change and technical expertise shape each specific approach.
- A mix of perspectives enriches the process. Technical options, methodological expertise and process management experience are all needed to make Climate Proofing work. Stakeholders should be involved in meaningful participation to integrate on-the-ground knowledge with scientific expertise.
The process of climate proofing
The first step for Climate Proofing in Development planning is to gather current and future climatic trends to create a data base, identifying three to four main trends. The planners and experts then need to decide which development plans may be affected by these trends. It is especially important to consider planning time horizons, regional variability and vulnerable groups.
After setting a base line of possible impacts, stakeholders and experts conduct an analysis of the biophysical and socio-economic effects of climatic trends on each exposure unit and develop probable chains of effects. The relevance of these effects is then assessed by the probability of occurrence, the impact of the effect and the ability of institutions and affected people to adapt to the changes.
For the most significant effects, options for action are developed. Various sectors can bring in their experience in adaption during this step. The options for actions are prioritized by their urgency, side effects, flexibility, political and social acceptance, and financial availability. Then, according to the prioritization, stakeholders choose which actions are to be taken.
Finally, the chosen actions are integrated into the planning documents and monitoring and evaluation cycles. It is important to address how existing planning documents are to be modified and which additional skills and funds are needed for implementation of the actions.
Climate proofing on different levels
The application of Climate Proofing on a country wide scale is a very efficient means of mainstreaming the issue of climate change adaptation into national agendas and budgetary decisions. However, policy dialogue at the central governmental level is required, as well as adequate financial funds. At sectoral level, Climate Proofing can be integrated in Strategic Environmental Assessments with the planning horizon of projects and investments as a central focus. The ideal entry point of Climate Proofing is during the sectoral policy formulation or sectoral planning stages. Finally, applying Climate Proofing at local level planning can have several advantages. Climate change affects local livelihoods; climate vulnerability and adaptation are experienced locally. Options for action are often best identified at the local level, which not only raises awareness, but also fosters ownership.
The creation of a common understanding of the impacts of climate change is important in the successful use of Climate Proofing. In this regard, it can be useful to develop a glossary of the principal terms used in the climate discussion. A careful identification of the stakeholders by the leading agencies is a further precondition to success. Even as all stakeholders have the right to participate in all stages of Climate Proofing, it is essential to involve the right stakeholders at the right time. Scientists, for example, are more pivotal at the beginning stage, whereas policy makers are key to an effective follow up. Additionally, it is necessary to present climate data in an appropriate way. Accessible summaries of data should be understandable for all stakeholders, but oversimplification will reduce the effectiveness of the tool. Adequate allocation of time and financial means is also vital to ensure the integration of Climate Proofing into planning processes. Last but not least, the approach should be integrated into the monitoring and evaluation cycles.
GIZ (2011): Climate Proofing for Development. Adapting to Climate Change, Reducing Risk.
- ↑ AdaptationCommunity.net: Mainstreaming Adaptation. https://gc21.giz.de/ibt/var/app/wp342deP/1443/index.php/knowledge/mainstreaming/