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Assessment of Adaptation Practices, Options, Constraints and Capacity

W. Neil Adger, Shardul Agrawala, M. Monirul Qader Mirza, Cecilia Conde, Karen O’Brien, Juan Pulhin, Roger Pulwarty, Barry Smit, and Kiyoshi Takahashi
Created: 10/31/2007 - Updated: 3/22/2018


From the Executive Summary:

This chapter is an assessment of knowledge and practice on adaptation since the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR). In the TAR, adaptation and vulnerability were defined, types of adaptation were identified, and the role of adaptive capacity was recognised (Smit et al., 2001). Notable developments that occurred since the TAR include insights on: a) actual adaptations to observed climate changes and variability; b) planned adaptations to climate change in infrastructure design, coastal zone management, and other activities; c) the variable nature of  vulnerability and adaptive capacity; and d) policy developments, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international, national and local initiatives, that facilitate adaptation processes and action programmes (Adger et al., 2005; Tompkins et al., 2005; West and Gawith, 2005).

This chapter assesses the recent literature, focussing on realworld adaptation practices and processes, determinants and dynamics of adaptive capacity, and opportunities and constraints of adaptation. While adaptation is increasingly regarded as an inevitable part of the response to climate change, the evidence in this chapter suggests that climate change adaptation processes and actions face significant limitations, especially in vulnerable nations and communities. In most of the cases, adaptations are being implemented to address climate conditions as part of risk management, resource planning and initiatives linked to sustainable development.

Published On

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Sector Addressed: 
Disaster Risk Management
Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Salinization / Saltwater intrusion
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Conduct / Gather additional research, data, and products