20 December 2011

Adaptation to Climate Change

OECD documents on Adaptation to Climate Change

OECD | December 19, 2011

Climate change poses a serious challenge to social and economic development in all countries, although developing countries are particularly vulnerable. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to move hand in hand with policies and incentives to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Nonetheless, there is less political awareness for adaptation and enabling environments for adaptation are generally less developed. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) supports governments by providing the analytical foundation required to develop efficient and effective policies that promote adaptation to climate change. As a coordinating forum for bilateral donors, the OECD also has an important role in facilitating the integration of adaptation into development cooperation activities. OECD’s work on adaptation has contributed to key international assessments of climate change including the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.

OECD work on adaptation to climate change focuses on three main areas: i) Economic Aspects of Adaptation; ii) Mainstreaming adaptation in development co-operation; and iii) Adaptation in developed country contexts.

** New Releases **

Private Sector Engagement in Adaptation to Climate Change: Approaches to Managing Climate Risks

Much of the recent attention to the private sector’s involvement in adaptation has focused on its potential as a source of climate financing. However, the private sector also faces significant adaptation challenges, and whether countries succeed at adaptation will depend on how well private actors adapt. This working paper contributes to a broader understanding of the private sector’s engagement in adaptation to climate change by considering how businesses are managing their own climate vulnerabilities. The analysis considers companies’ awareness, assessment and management of climate risks, as well as new business opportunities arising due to climate change. The report also examines factors which can affect companies’ engagement in adaptation, and ways in which governments can assist and encourage private sector adaptation to climate change.

Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptation: Lessons from Development Co-operation Agencies

In the context of scaled up funding for climate change adaptation, it is more important than ever to ensure the effectiveness, equity and efficiency of adaptation interventions. Robust monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is an essential part of this, both to ensure that the prospective benefits of interventions are being realised and to help improve the design of future interventions. This paper is the first empirical assessment of M&E frameworks used by development co-operation agencies for projects and programmes with adaptation-specific or adaptation-related components. It has analysed 106 project documents across six bilateral development agencies. Based on this, it identifies the characteristics of M&E for adaptation and shares lessons learned on the choice and use of indicators for adaptation.

Harmonising Climate Risk Management: Adaptation Screening and Assessment Tools for Development Co-operation

There are a growing number of tools available for screening climate change risks and integrating adaptation into development planning processes. This paper provides an overview and analysis of these tools in line with the alignment and harmonisation priorities of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. Building on the experiences of users and developers, it assesses the extent to which tools meet users’ needs. This paper provides options for reducing fragmentation and duplication: these include providing common guidance on specific topics and by clarifying the diverse terminology used.

Overview brochure: OECD work on Adaptation to Climate Change (pdf)

1. Economic Aspects of Adaptation

What do we know about adaptation costs and benefits?
Sectoral studies have shown that in certain sectors some adaptation actions, such as behavioural adaptations, can be implemented at low cost while others, such as infrastructural measures, will require significant investment. Aggregate multi-sectoral estimates, however, face serious limitations. In addition, the few available studies have tended to stack upon the assumptions made in preceding studies. Therefore, a consensus, even in order of magnitude terms, of global adaptation “price tags” may be premature.

From costing to incentivising adaptation

Beyond financing, public policy also has an important role to play in ensuring that private actors make timely, well-informed, and efficient adaptation decisions. A raft of policy instruments, such as insurance and environmental markets and pricing, are needed to establish the right incentives to influence such decisions. However, setting up the right incentive and partnership structures to promote adaptation will be a daunting task. Public Private Partnerships in particular would be key, not only for infrastructure but also for technology and innovation to facilitate adaptation.

Policy mixes of investments in adaptation and mitigation
Critical questions with regard to policy mixes of investments in adaptation and mitigation, and how they might vary over time, can be examined within global Integrated Assessment Modelling frameworks. Initial policy simulations show that to combat climate change in an efficient way, short term optimal policies would consist of a mixture of substantial investments in adaptation measures, coupled with investments in mitigation. In addition, ongoing increases in expected damages over time imply that adaptation is not only a short-term option but also a long term one, as both the challenges and benefits of adaptation increase.

2. Mainstreaming Adaptation in Development

Adaptation is closely intertwined with development activities and needs to be integrated within national, sectoral and local planning processes as well as at the project level. The OECD developed a Guidance to provide development co-operation policy-makers and practitioners in both partner countries and donor agencies with information and advice on how to mainstream climate change into development.


Flagship publication: Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation: Policy Guidance
This policy guidance provides essential information and advice on how to mainstream climate change into development. The objectives are to: i) promote understanding of the implications of climate change on development practice and the need to mainstream adaptation in development co-operation; ii) identify appropriate approaches for integrating adaptation into development policies at national, sectoral, project levels and at local contexts; and iii) identify practical ways for donors to support developing country partners in their efforts to reduce their vulnerability to climate change.
Summary in English: Integrating Climate Change Adaptation in Development Co-operation

Version française : Adaptation au changement climatique et co-operation pour le développement

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3. Adaptation in Developed Country Contexts

OECD countries will need to adapt to climate change as it will impact key economic sectors, such as health, agriculture, water resources and tourism. Recent OECD work within this context has assessed the progress made on adaptation at the domestic level across OECD countries, provided in-depth analysis of adaptation strategies in vulnerable regions (e.g. European Alps), and examined how adaptation could be incorporated in domestic policy frameworks in the water sector as well as in coastal zones.

4. Other work on adaptation to climate change:
5. Contact information

Michael Mullan: Michael.Mullan[at]oecd.org
Bookmark this page: www.oecd.org/env/cc/adaptation

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