Climate Change Adaptation Programme for the Pacific (CLIMAP)

Sub-regional Level

Climate Change Adaptation Programme for the Pacific (CLIMAP)


09 March 2012




Capacity BuildingResearch and Development


Disaster Risk Reduction and Management


USD 500,001 - USD 1,000,000



Executing agency: Asian Development Bank (ADB),Implementing agency: Government of the Cook Islands; Avatiu-Ruatonga community; Private sector and Non-governmental Organisations,The project was hosted by Ministry of Works, allowing for reciprocal institutional strengthening and technical and administrative cooperation.


Government of Canada (funding provider); Maunse (New Zealand) Ltd (environmental and engineering consultancy); International Global Change Institute (IGCI), University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand; The regional technical assistance was funded under Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change (REACH) programme by the Canadian Cooperation Fund for Climate Change – Greenhouse Gas Abatement, Carbon Sequestration and Adaptation. The technical assistance was administered by ADB.

Supporters / Donors

ADB; Canadian Cooperation Fund for Climate Change (co-finance)

Description of Intervention

ADB’s Climate Change Adaptation Programme for the Pacific (CLIMAP) assists Pacific developing member countries to enhance their adaptive capacities and resilience to climate change and climate variability, including extreme events. It also assists these countries to prevent and address the adverse effects of global climate change, particularly sea level rise and changing climate variability in coastal and marine areas. This is achieved through risk assessment, adaptation planning, and policy development, by climate proofing infrastructure, and through community and other development initiatives. This assistance involves preparation/design of adaptation measures at the project level as well as capacity building, including institutional strengthening and human resources development for adaptation.

Problems to be Addressed

This risk-based climate proofing approach has been shown to be particularly relevant to small Pacific Island States and communities that are particularly vulnerable to the sea level rise and enhanced storm frequency and severity that are expected from climate change. Extreme climate events that are currently rare are projected to become relatively common as a result of climate change.

The climate proofing approach has shown that it is possible to avoid most of the damage caused by climate change to infrastructure projects in a cost-effective manner if "climate proofing" is undertaken at the project design stage. If climate change adaptation is mainstreamed in an integrated way from the beginning of the project development cycle, huge risk reductions and their likely costs can clearly be achieved at a low additional cost. This approach is superior to ignoring the predictable effects of climate change and then incurring huge costs to rebuild the infrastructure.

The overall goal of a risk-based approach to climate change adaptation is to manage both the current and future risks associated with the full spectrum of atmospheric and oceanic hazards. The case studies were chosen to highlight the range of levels at which adaptation takes place, and the linkages between them. The levels are: 1. Project 2. Regulation and compliance 3. Short- and mid-term policy making and planning at Sub-National level 4. National strategic development planning The studies demonstrated the importance of mainstreaming adaptation, including strengthening the enabling environment for adaptation, in order to increase the likelihood of successful adaptation at project and community levels.


The project focused on demonstrating and mainstreaming climate adaptation into development and planning in Pacific Developing Member Countries (PDMCs) and into ADB Pacific Department operations, on a pilot basis. The goal of the project is to ensure that PDMCs of the Asian Development Bank adapt to climate change and variability (CCV). The ultimate aim of the case studies was to show why and demonstrate how reducing climate-related risks is an integral part of sustainable development.


The specific objectives were
• To produce transferable and replicable methods and tools that support adaptation assessment and mainstreaming through risk reduction;
• To demonstrate, in the context of the Pacific Islands Region, how adaptation through risk reduction will enhance the sustainability of national development programmes and projects; and
• To assist the Cook Islands and FSM to mainstream adaptation in national development planning and decision making for their sustainable development. Another objective is to mainstream climate change adaptation through integrated risk reduction (CCAIRR).

How It Fits into the EbA Concept

Climate-proofing national strategic development plans enhances the enabling environment for adaptation, establishes the requirement for climate-proofing sector, Sub-National (e.g. state, island and community) development plans as well as individual development projects (i.e. mainstreaming adaptation) and helps to ensure that actions to reduce climate-related risks are an integral part of all sustainable development initiatives.

Results / Outputs

• Preparation of a climate risk profile for Rarotonga
• Convening of a National Climate Dialogue
• Guidance for ‘climate proofing’ the design and construction of the breakwater for the Western Basin, Avatiu Harbour
• Assessment of current and anticipated climate risks facing Avatiu-Ruatonga and identification of effective and efficient methods for managing those risks
• Preparation of adaptation mainstreaming guidelines for the Cook Islands, subsequently approved by Cabinet
• Preparation of guidance for ‘climate proofing’ the Cook Islands National Development Strategy subsequently approved by Cabinet
• Building of knowledge, enhancement of skills, raising of awareness, strengthening of institutions and empowerment for action
• Highly cost-effective adaption measures identified for the Sapwohn coastal community in Pohnpei (FSM)
• The extra cost of climate-proofing roads under the Kosrae road infrastructure project (FSM) was shown to give an 11% rate of return from lower maintenance and repair costs regardless of risks of more extreme climate events; • National Strategic Development Plan''s health and environment elements (FSM)
• Western basin breakwater design at Rarotonga takes into account both higher wave heights and higher sea levels than previously considered
• Several no-regrets voluntary and regulatory approaches to reduce risks were identified for the Avatiu-Ruatonga inland community, and major sea wall construction was shown to be highly cost-effective against sea urges, regardless of any increase in sea levels due to climate change
• Development of Cook Islands national development strategy mainstreaming adaptation to climate change is underway in the National Sustainable Development Strategy
• Six case studies designed to assist Pacific developing member countries (PDMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to adapt to current and future climate risks were prepared, by using the Climate Change Adaptation through Integrated Risk Reduction (CCAIRR) framework and methodology, to demonstrate a risk-based approach to adaptation and its mainstreaming. Two PDMCs (the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Cook Islands) were selected to show how to mainstream this risk-based approach at three levels: national development planning, sector programmes, and project activities.
• In addition to the six case studies, eight country climate risk profiles have been prepared and 19 Project Adaptation Briefs have been completed for projects identified as climate sensitive.

The project has also developed a novel Climate Change Adaptation through Integrated Risk Reduction (CCAIRR) approach that is proving to be very useful and is being applied at three levels:
(1) Project activities level
(2) National development planning and sector programme level
(3) Country strategy and programme level.

Lessons Learned

• Follow-up to the case studies has already been conducted, including plans to seek funding from the GEF and other sources to cover the incremental costs of ‘climate proofing’ the completion of the circumferential road in Kosrae and the protection of assets on the north coast of Rarotonga
• Project sustainability (e.g. lifetime) can be threatened by climate change, but “climate proofing” a project at the design stage will normally require an investment that is small relative to the additional maintenance and repair costs incurred over the lifetime of the project
• Many adaptation options qualify as ‘no regrets’ adaptation initiatives, besides being cost-effective
• Governments should reflect these findings by ensuring that all projects are “climate proofed” at the design stage, making this part of good professional practice
• Governments should also determine the incremental costs and benefits of all major development projects and request that developed country donors and other agencies fund these incremental costs
• National and Sub-National level regulations should be ‘climate proofed’ as this will allow enforcement of policies and plans which should, themselves, be ‘climate proofed’ in accordance with the National Guidelines for Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change

• ADB should show leadership with respect to adaptation to climate change by:
- enhancing enabling environments at national level, consistent with the National Guidelines for Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change
- maximising the synergies between the ADB’s sustainable development initiatives (e.g. poverty alleviation) and its climate change initiatives, and ensuring that all development projects with which it is associated comply with best professional practices, including climate-proofing in order to reduce to acceptable levels the risks that should be described in national climate risk profiles
- ADB is encouraged to prepare climate risk profiles for all its developing member countries, using as examples those already prepared for the Cook Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia

• Many lessons have been learned and demonstrated in preparing the case studies, including showing that:
- a risk-based approach to adaptation is both desirable and practicable;
- adaptation is a process with many dimensions;
- a result a framework and associated methodologies are essential;
- CCAIRR provides such a framework as well as relevant methodologies;
- decision support tools such as SimClim facilitate prioritisation of adaptation options;
- Most barriers to the successful application of a risk-based approach to adaptation relate to the existence of, and access to, information;
- Numerous recommendations arose from in-country discussions; arguably the most significant relate to advocating the use of the risk-based approach to adaptation, both within the regional and internationally; and
- A deficiency of the current project and community-focused case studies is that they all relate to high islands and, with one exception, to islands on which the national capital is located; additional case studies are required both in Asia and the Pacific.

Upscaling / Outreach Activities

• Adaptive capacities and resilience to climate change and variability;
• Awareness raising and institutional strengthening; and
• Enhancement and application of data, tools and knowledge.

Contact Details

Emma Ferguson
Tel:  +679 331 8101