Published | 5th October 2016

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Strengthening Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Practitioner Brief

There is a general recognition that adaptive capacity is an effective way of building people’s ability to prepare for, withstand, and respond to the impacts of climate change. But what does it really look like in practice, how can it be strengthened, and how can its contribution to resilience be measured?  Drawing on more than five years of learning on community based adaptation across four countries, the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) has produced several publications that attempt to address these issues. The fourth in ALP’s series of Practitioner Briefs explains why and how strengthening adaptive capacity is a key condition for effective adaptation.

Drawing on ALP’s community based adaptation work with vulnerable communities in southern Niger and northern Ghana, the brief explores the dynamic interplay between social processes and tangible adaptation options. It unpacks the concepts and demonstrates how strengthening people’s absorptive, adaptive and anticipatory capacities leads to more flexible, responsive and locally determined adaptation choices which contribute to greater resilience in the face of changing conditions. Through the lens of ALP’s practical experiences the brief provides useful learning for actors in adaptation, disaster risk reduction, development, and humanitarian action, including NGOs, local government institutions, researchers, donors, sectoral ministries and policymakers across Africa.

This practitioner brief is also available in French.

The rational provided in this brief supports the practical approaches outlined in the first and second briefs in the series as well as other key ALP publications listed below:

Adaptation Planning with Communities – Practitioner Brief 1

Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation to Climate Change – Practitioner Brief 2

Adaptation Strategies Compendium

Facing Uncertainty: the value of climate information for adaptation, risk reduction and resilience in Africa.

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