Climate Change Adaptation
. Climate change adaptation, as per the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), refers to “adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts.”Adaptation refers to changes in “processes, practices and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change”(see http://unfccc.int/focus/adaptation/items/6999.php). The purpose of these adaptations is to decrease vulnerability and minimize risks for humans and ecosystems. Common approaches focus on expanding resilience or “adaptive capacity”by people, groups, and institutions.
Vulnerability and resilience
are inherently social concepts and tied to social equity. Someone’s sex, socioeconomic standing, assets, age, education, ethnicity, and other variables strongly influence her/his relative vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and related risks. Adaptation to climate change is likely to be inefficient and inequitable if it does not consider the multidimensional and differentiated nature of poverty and vulnerability. Adaptation strategies are highly context-specific and culturally bound;they should build on capacity, assets, and traditional responses to climate variability and not erode long-standing adaptive capacities. While serving immediate needs is important, there is also a place for structural reforms to address vulnerability and its causes as well as incentives and capacity building for institutional and governance structures.
refer to the relations of power and dominance that influence the life chances of women and men. These relations impact individual and household vulnerability to climate-related risks, and also determine the acceptability of proposed CCA actions and their outcome.
The term gender
refers to how societies and specific cultures assign roles and ascribe characteristics to men and women on the basis of their sex. For example, many cultures share expectations that women and girls are responsible for water collection, family hygiene and sanitation practices, agricultural duties, and family care, whereas men are more involved in control over cash income and in household and community decisions.
, which are formal and informal beliefs about how men and women are supposed to behave, are learned. These roles, as well as the relations between men and women—referred to as gender relations
—are not static. They change, depending on societal values and social change in women’s status relative to men’s status. For example, women are not taught or allowed to swim or climb trees in many cultures due to modesty issues. These limitations proved fatal for many women during tsunami-caused flooding in Aceh and elsewhere.
The term gender equality
, as enshrined in international and national constitutions and other human rights agreements, refers to equal rights, power, responsibilities, and opportunities for women and men, as well as equal consideration of their interests, needs, and priorities. Advancing gender equality often involves eliminating formal and informal barriers and other types of discrimination that are based on someone’s sex. In insurance and loan schemes for CCA investments, women as individuals may have less access than men because they do not have land titles for use as collateral. Women own less land than men and have less secure access due to sex-based discrimination in formal and informal tenure systems.
refers to a variety of methods that are used to understand the relationships between men and women, relative access to resources, and the different constraints that they face. These analyses can address multiple levels, from intra-household to community to higher social, political, or institutional levels. Box 1 above highlights several key gender topics for the gender analyses for CCA project design. Gender analyses also consider gender balance
, which refers to the sex ratio of men and women, in terms of percentages, in various positions in societies, organization, and systems such as economic value chains. As part of gender analysis, other social differences (e.g., race, ethnicity, religions, culture, class, age, disability, and status) are considered to identify differences among women and differences among men. For example, both men and women from richer households are likely to be more resilient in the face of climate change and better able to adopt climate-friendly technologies.
refers to the art and science of interpreting gender data and creating tailored policy, program, or project strategies that are culturally appropriate, minimize negative social impacts, and advance gender equality while achieving other project objectives. Gender mainstreaming strategies are relevant to project design, implementation, and M&E. To this end, many projects and institutions develop gender equality principles
, gender policies
, and gender strategies
, as well as more specific GAPs, with commitments and delegation of responsibilities. In some cases, oversight is delegated to gender focal points
(GFPs), who serve as internal gender advocates and resource people for other staff. Examples of these mainstreaming actions can be found in the case studies (Section 8).
are a methodology employed during project preparation and implementation, which uses human rights as a framework to guide the development process. It starts from the assumption that people have a human right to achieve economic, social, and cultural development.
This sourcebook was originally developed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the USAID Adapt Asia-Pacific project. It is managed and hosted by the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network.