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Putting adaptation at the heart of development

This policy brief, published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), outlines a four-step plan for "mainstreaming" climate change — integrating adaptation efforts into development planning and policy.

It highlights the links between climate change and development, claiming that several Millennium Development Goals are directly affected by climate change. For example, the growth in drought-affected areas caused by climate change will affect our ability to tackle hunger.

The World Bank estimates that up to 40 per cent of development funded by overseas donors is sensitive to climate risk. Mainstreaming climate change is thus critical to minimising vulnerability.

The brief proposes a four-step process for achieving this.

Step one: Raise awareness and build basic scientific capacity. Activities at this stage include highlighting the relevance of climate change to development; improving the tools for analysing climate data; building local and regional climate observation networks; and communicating data to decision-makers.

Step two: Target information towards key stakeholders in a format they can understand. Governments must also open communication channels and provide forums to support information and skills transfer to these stakeholders, say the authors.

Step three: Introduce activities on adaptation and mitigation involving governments, the private sector and nongovernmental organisations, to demonstrate good practice and convince policymakers of the relevance of climate change to their work.

Step four: Integrate the lessons learnt from the previous steps to make adaptation part of the normal policymaking process. This should start at the national level, say the authors, to ensure that activities at sectoral and local levels tie in with national development priorities.

Link to full article from IIED[412kB]

This policy brief was prepared by the head of the climate change group at IIED, Saleemul Huq, and PhD student Jessica Ayers.