Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL)

Anne Hammill
[email protected]

Posted on: 3/21/2010 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

Posted by

Jennie Hoffman


CRiSTAL is a project-planning tool that helps users design activities that support climate adaptation (i.e., adaptation to climate variability and change) at the community level. CRiSTAL stands for “Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods.”

  • Community-based – CRiSTAL focuses on projects at the local community level.
  • Risk Screening – CRiSTAL helps users to identify and prioritize climate risks that their projects might address.
  • Adaptation and Livelihoods – CRiSTAL helps users to identify livelihood resources most important to climate adaptation (i.e., adaptation to climate variability and change) and uses these as a basis for designing adaptation strategies.

While climate variability and change may not always be the most important stresses affecting a specific community, they should always be considered when designing and implementing a development project, particularly in communities characterized by climate-sensitive and/or natural resource-dependent livelihoods.

Indeed, any activity that does not account for present and future potential climate risks may inadvertently increase a community’s exposure and vulnerability. For example, a food security project may encourage dependence on a particular agricultural technology or crop species that may be negatively affected by climate change, thereby increasing local vulnerability in the longer term.

CRiSTAL seeks to systematically assess the impacts of a project on some of the local determinants of vulnerability and exposure, so that project planners and managers can design activities that foster climate adaptation.

New versions of the CRiSTAL tool and the User's Manual are now available in English and Spanish.


CRiSTAL targets project planners and managers working at the local or community level. However, a wide range of other actors may also use the tool (including policy-makers and decision makers).