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Adaptation Database and Planning Tool (ADAPT)

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The Adaptation Database and Planning Tool (ADAPT) is a six-part module series designed to assist communities in preparing for the impacts of climate change. The structure presented in ADAPT is intended to guide local governments through ICLEI's Climate Resilient Communities (CRC) Five Milestones for Adaptation Planning process.

There are two core outputs from the ADAPT tool:

  • A Resiliency Study, which is specifically designed to walk users through the steps necessary to complete a climate resilience study, is a major output of the ADAPT Tool and is the sum of the following inputs:  climate change projections; adaptive capacity assessment; vulnerability assessment.

A Preparedness Plan, which is the written product which emerges from the sequence of developing preparedness goals in priority planning areas, developing a candidate list of preparedness actions, and subsequently prioritizing actions from that candidate list.

ADAPT provides ICLEI members with access to a streamlined adaptation planning process and relevant information developed by cities across the nation, while simultaneously allowing users the ability to track information about their adaptation efforts. By building ADAPT into ICLEI’s online data management portal, ICLEI is able to monitor, in real-time, the progress its members are making in adaptation efforts as well as their most immediate needs. This information will help ICLEI continually evolve its tools and form the additional resources, trainings, and partnerships needed to help local communities further build their resilience towards climate change.

ADAPT is a cyclical process that closely mirrors ICLEI´s Five Milestones for Climate Mitigation.

  • Milestone One: Conduct a Climate Resiliency Study (vulnerability assessment)
  • Milestone Two: Set Preparedness Goals
  • Milestone Three: Develop a Climate Preparedness Plan
  • Milestone Four: Publish & Implement Preparedness Plan
  • Milestone Five: Monitor & Reevaluate Resiliency

The later modules of ADAPT assist with more precisely defining what local impacts can be expected and how to plan for them, while the earlier modules stress identification of a limited number of relevant impacts to discuss amongst stakeholders.

To begin, and to help users compile a quick look at existing and potential future climate impacts, ICLEI has created a Climate Projection Tool. To use the Tool, users need only select their geographic region from the pull-down menu (i.e. Northeast, Southwest, etc.). The chart will auto-fill with a summary of current and projected future climate impacts by region, drawn from NOAA's 2009 Unified Synthesis Product: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report. After the chart populates with current and projected future impacts, each impact can be reviewed and the systems in a local government which are vulnerable to the identified impact can be indicated.

To begin, several worksheets are provided. The worksheets are different for each region of the USA, and require inputs into relevant fields which summarize the current and potential climate impacts within the region.

To facilitate the process of uncovering relevant climate impacts, ICLEI has created an online

survey template via ADAPT that can be used to survey government staff and local stakeholders to determine how resources, assets, and services are currently affected by climate and what actions have been taken to-date to respond to those impacts.

Step Three of the Getting Started Module of ADAPT provides a field where users can input their final opening climate statement. When preparing a draft opening statement, try to include: a statement on relevant current and future impacts in your region and why your community should engage in adaptation planning; a statement on what you hope to achieve through adaptation planning; and sub-goals for adaptation planning: specifics on which groups, systems, or resources will benefit from adaptation planning.

ADAPT takes users through the process of assessing vulnerabilities, setting resiliency goals, and developing plans that integrate into existing hazard and comprehensive planning efforts.

To make best use of the ADAPT Tool you will need to coordinate activities across departments, jurisdictions and levels of government. This coordination may be achieved through a climate change preparedness team and/or by designating a climate change “point person” within your government. This chapter will help create a climate change preparedness team by answering a series of common questions related to: when, why, and how to form a preparedness team; what characteristics to look for in team leader(s) and members; the typical work efforts and products required for launching a preparedness effort.

A community’s preparedness team can serve multiple purposes, but its primary responsibility is to guide how the government entity adapts to climate change. Ideally, the team will (over time) review all programs and services provided by the government organization, identify those potentially affected by climate change, and propose strategies for adaptation. Large governments might consider instituting teams on two levels: a senior-level team that coordinates preparedness activities for the government as a whole, and technical-level teams that coordinate activities within individual departments. For smaller governments, a single interdepartmental team may be all that is needed.

Considering this, the most pressing framework condition to use the ADAPT Tool is staff capacity. Additionally, staff will require working spaces for meetings, as well as a whiteboard/flip chart, writing instruments, and a computer so that minutes can be taken.  

The ADAPT Tool  is most relevant to the Climate Resilient Urban Development module of SUSTAIN, in that it provides training that will: provide an introduction to cities on issues relating to climate change (vulnerability, resilience framework, adaptation); provide skills training in how to mitigate climate impacts; and inform a resilient urban planning framework at the municipal level.