Unpacking Transformation: A framework and insights from adaptation mainstreaming

Uma Pal, Aditya V. Bahadur, Jesse McConnell, Prutha Vaze, Pankaj Kumar and Sunil Acharya
Created: 3/13/2019 -


This paper contributes to improving understanding of how funders, practitioners and other stakeholders can support and facilitate transformation in adaptation to climate change. It uses the latest academic literature, as well as learning from practice, to put forward a conceptual framework for determining the likelihood of an adaptation initiative delivering transformation. This framework unpacks the term ‘transformation’ into three components:

  1. Enabling environment factors: These are the factors that should be in place to be able to achieve meaningful, lasting and fundamental change. They include political will and the policy environment, evidence and information, and awareness and capacity.
  2. Transformational domains: These constitute areas within which transformational change takes place. They include public policy and governance, innovation, and social and behaviour change.
  3. Characteristics: These are indicators of transformation and therefore should be features of initiatives aiming to support transformation. They include catalytic, scale, sustainable, inclusive, and systemic.

The paper then applies the framework to examples of adaptation interventions being delivered as part of the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme.


Document Type
Adaptation Phase
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy