In developing countries, coping with climate change means creating adaptation mechanisms to boost resilience and the ability to cope with anticipated impacts. A number of countries have prepared National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) detailing the policies and programmes needed to build ‘adaptive capacity’, and reduce national vulnerability to climate change. This ODI Opinion examines experience from Bangladesh and Ethiopia to set out five key steps to getting adaptation right:
1. Coordinated and systemised assessment of the best available climate change science at national, local and, where needed, regional levels;
2. Knowledge that is adequately and demonstrably reflected in adaptation programmes and is ‘verified’ across a wide specturm of development institutions;
3. Adaptation strategies should be grounded in good development practice at all level;
4. A clear strategy for the implementation of adaptation strategies, including cross-sectoral dimensions and disbursement of funds;
5. Parallel investment in the continued development of knowledge at national and regional level to improve the decision-making environment and the capacity of researchers and decision–makers to make the important connections between research, knowledge, policy and practice.
The Opinion argues that getting adapation right involves complex development policy management and implementation based on the best available climate and social science. It is important that substantial investments are also made in the knowledge environment surrounding adaptation to climate change at national level.