Adaptation is a necessary strategy to complement any climate change mitigation effort. Human and natural systems will, to some degree, adapt automatically to climate change. But planned adaptation must supplement this – particularly in developing countries, where lack of infrastructure and access to resources makes it difficult to cope with climate change.
In this article, Kilipada Chatterjee of the Indian non-governmental organisation Development Alternatives, argues that policies are needed to reduce stress on resources, improve management of the environment and increase the welfare of the poorest members of society. Such policies, he says, can simultaneously advance sustainable development and equity while enhancing adaptive capacity.
Chatterjee offers a range of ‘tools’ that may be useful for developing countries in planning their adaptation strategies. He underlines the value of short-term policies and the importance of learning from past experiences. And he emphasises the need for adaptation tools to be practical, feasible and easy to implement.