As leaders begin to consider policies and measures to respond to mounting climate effects, it is critical that adaptation efforts be designed to reach the poorest communities to safeguard their development efforts. This paper reviews 135 examples of adaptation efforts drawn from throughout the developing world, highlighting the diversity of ways that adaptation and development intersect. It argues that more integrated approaches to development and climate change are needed and calls for a significant scaling up of adaptation efforts. The paper describes strategies of adaptation and development on an encouraging trajectory of convergence: adaptation efforts that reflect an awareness of how the effects of climate change intersect with poverty, discrimination, resource degradation, and other underlying sources of vulnerability; and development that is devising ways to account for the changing climate in decisions. However, it notes that most existing mechanisms for funding adaptation to climate change have been designed to distinguish carefully between “normal” development activities and the “additional” activities needed to adapt to climate change. The authors propose a framework of adaptation approaches that is designed to break down the “either/or” thinking that has constrained adaptation funding, by providing a practical alternative for thinking about when and how adaptation and development intersect. It suggests that processes for weighing and resolving competing values and interests will play a central role in adaptation. Promoting such processes will require:
incorporating adaptation decisions in appropriate places within the development landscape
adhering to principles of good environmental governance
fostering adaptive policy, especially at the national level
providing a solid information foundation for decisions
implementing effective monitoring and evaluation.