Climate Change Adaptation

Now that there appears to finally be consensus that climate change is occurring, the international research and policy is shifting attention to climate change adaptation. While there are many varying definitions of climate change adaptation, the IPCC uses the following:

Definition of Climate Change Adaptation

“Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.”

Source: IPCC 2007

Regardless of current attempts to reduce the release of greenhouse gasses and slow the rising of average global temperatures, climate change is inevitable. Changes in climate are predicted to have wide-reaching consequences for many aspects of society, from availability of freshwater to agricultural productivity. These issues will have profound implications for human populations, particularly those living in already water stressed regions, like southern Africa, where high demand and growing development issues combined with near basin closures increase vulnerability.

What is clear from current work in this area is that society as a whole will soon need to make fundamental changes in order to deal with the predicted impacts of climate change; from the individual level to infrastructure and policy.

The diagram below provides a high-level outline of the process of adaptation. It is important for governments to acknowledge the potential threat climate changes poses and raise awareness of the issue through mainstreaming and education. Societal and political will must support the intent to act from national to local government level. Finally a range of adaptive actions must be taken, including a range of options that address demand, supply, culture and expectations.

The climate change adaptation process. Source: Schulze 2008


For further reading on climate change adaptation, please refer to the GTZ (2009) and InWent (2008), in the Document Centre

Current ongoing initiatives.

LIMCOM's current ongoing interventions being undertaken