19 March 2013

Africa: New Tool to Track Whether Adaptation Supports Development

Photo: Eleanor Delaney/Frontier Official
Tanzania marine conservation.

London — Developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America need ways to assess if climate change adaptation is keeping development on track, and if the costs and benefits are well distributed.

A new system to analyse the social impacts of climate change adaptation efforts could be the solution.

By assessing risk management and resilience, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), along with partners Adaptify and Garama 3C Ltd, have designed a system to try to ensure countries' efforts to adapt are working to keep development on course.

With funding from the UK's Department for International Development, IIED created Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development (TAMD) to help governments assess whether climate adaptation projects benefit development. It will measure how the costs and benefits of projects are distributed and suggest where to spend future investment.

"We want TAMD concepts and ways of working to be assessed by countries and, where found useful, we want TAMD to 'dissolve' into the national systems," Simon Anderson, head of the climate change group at IIED and TAMD project leader, told AlertNet.

"TAMD is necessary because we need to know more about the relative effectiveness of adaptation strategies and we need to know this from a developmental perspective," Anderson said. "We have not found any other frameworks that do what TAMD does."

According to an IIED paper, TAMD works on a "twin-track" system. One evaluates the extent and quality of climate risk management processes and actions, and the other looks at the long term impacts of development and adaptation outcomes "on the ground".

The first track, Anderson said, is designed to evaluate the institutional aspects of climate change adaptation and look at the functions of institutions in climate risk management.

The second track, he said, will draw from tested socio-economic and vulnerability data and information.

Government representatives and researchers from IIED are meeting in Edinburgh this week to discuss if the framework accomplishes these goals and to finish up the review and design phase of the project. Testing is expected to begin in April.

In 2013 and 2014, IIED will begin a 10-month pilot of the project with Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and Pakistan.

Anderson said his group wanted to test TAMD both in "least developed countries" such as Nepal and Mozambique, and in "emerging middle income countries," such as Ghana, Kenya and Pakistan.

One aim is to help countries involved in the project secure additional international funding for climate change adaptation by "strengthening national systems for evaluating climate adaptation investments and interventions."

We "hope that incorporating TAMD into the national systems will enable these countries to be eligible for international climate finance," Anderson said.

The project's next step is to tailor TAMD to fit the five pilot countries' needs and test the framework at national and regional levels. Anderson said they expect to have the testing results by this time next year.

Chelsea Diana is an AlertNet Climate intern.

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