Effective adaptation is based on a solid understanding of vulnerability to climate change. The impacts of climate change affect people differently based on their capacity to respond. What this means is that many of the factors which shape vulnerability to climate change have nothing to do with the climate. Issues of power, access to information and services and control over resources are important in determining people's capacity to adapt to climate change. Therefore, there is a need to understand the socio-economic dimensions of vulnerability, and in particular those factors that make women and other marginalized groups particularly vulnerable. The authors state that the most effective way to do this is through a participatory analysis process which engages all stakeholders in understanding climate-related challenges, identifying adaptation solutions and taking steps to act on those solutions. To facilitate this, CARE has developed the Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) process to help themselves, their partners and the communities they work with to better understand the implications of climate change for the lives and livelihoods.By combining local knowledge with scientific climate information, the process builds people's understanding about climate risks and adaptation strategies. It provides a framework for dialogue within communities, as well as between communities and other stakeholders. Most important, it helps to identify those people within communities and households who may be particularly vulnerable, and to better understand the challenges they face. The results of the analysis provide a solid foundation for the identification of practical strategies to facilitate community-based adaptation to climate change. The knowledge can also be used to integrate adaptation into livelihoods and natural resource management programs, and to provide practical evidence for advocating pro-poor climate change policies.The CVCA Handbook, available in English and Spanish, provides an overview of the methodology, as well as practical guidance for using it in the design and implementation of adaptation actions.