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Harmonising climate risk management: adaptation screening and assessment tools for development co-operation

Publication date:
A. Hammill (ed)
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Development planners and project managers employ a wide variety of tools to manage environmental risks. The need to tackle the risks posed by the impacts of climate change to poverty reduction goals is the core of tools to integrate adaptation into development co-operation. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the alignment and harmonisation priorities of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the follow-up Accra Agenda for Action.The paper categorises the adaptation tools as follows:

Type 1: Process guidance tools 2
Type 2: Data and information provision tools 3
Type 3: Knowledge-sharing tools.

This analysis focuses on Type 1 tools, which include both screening and assessment tools. Screening is used to determine relevance to climate change and justify further examination of climate risks, whereas assessment is a detailed examination of the nature of climate risk and of possible risk management strategies. Climate risk screening tools are becoming mandatory donor processes but are voluntary in Non-Governmental Organisations.The paper identifies the following key issues and concerns amongst tool users and developers:

Training and facilitation are crucial in applying tools.
Improper guidance on their use may lead to maladaptation.
There is a usage gap where users of Type 1 tools prefer to refer to summary documents rather than use outputs from Type 2 tools directly.
When Type 2 tool outputs are utilised, doubts about the quality and credibility of the analysis complicate their use.
The more taxing parts of the process is the shift from understanding risks to determining whether current responses are adequate and to developing new options for enhancing adaptation.

The paper has makes the following recommendations for the development community:

Continue support for training and facilitation for new users and follow-up events for existing users.
Forge better links between users of process guidance tools and users of data and information provision tools.
Bolster guidance and support for helping users move from assessment to action through the development of common guidance or through enhanced stakeholder engagement.
Harmonise risk screening and assessment processes through the development of (i) common and clear terminology; (ii) a generic and common risk management framework; (iii) organisation and categorisation systems; (iv) a simple, navigable clearinghouse for tools; (v) working with development partners to ensure ownership and integration of risk screening and assessment tools, to thereby have a greater impact on government decision making.