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

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This paper examines climate risk screening and assesses tools and approaches available to integrate climate change in development co-operation. It focuses on growing user experiences, tool proliferation and the potential for harmonisation. It distinguishes between screening, a rapid exercise to determine if further examination of climate risks is needed, and assessment, which combines understanding the nature of climate risk, how it can be managed, and devising a strategy for such management. It summarises the nine sample screening and assessment tools and compares their objectives, different framings of the adaptation process, their associated approaches or methodologies, and their actual and intended users, data and information requirements, and outputs. It then examines a number of cross-comparable issues and characteristics through a qualitative analysis of the documentary and interview data. The paper also looks at tool users and examines whether tools designed for use by specific audiences and actors within development organisations have reflected the reality of practice. It analyses different incentives for tool use, the partnerships involved, particularly with regard to development partners in other organisations, partner governments and communities, and the results of the tool application. It notes that screening processes are found to be relatively similar in scope and focus. They also provide significant potential for a common generic approach that involves consideration of the sensitivity of the project activities to variations in climate, its geographic exposure, and the baseline adaptive capacity. It further notes that assessment processes demonstrate greater variety across the agencies analysed. There is consistency among the donor assessment processes in the detailed examination of climate impacts, as well as the comparison to existing levels of risk management. The identification, prioritisation, selection and implementation of risk management and adaptation options, as well as the encouragement of monitoring and evaluation, are also consistent across donors. The report gives the following recommendations:

continued support for training and facilitation on tool development and application is needed
there is a need to understand the gap between information and process tools
there is a need to narrow the gap between assessment and action, by building on existing coping strategies and drawing on ideas of adaptation options developed elsewhere
closer collaboration and harmonisation between different agencies, particularly at the country level, to create a collaborative dialogue with development partners on their own approaches to climate risk management is needed.