Adaptation is not fundamentally different fromdevelopment activities aiming at reducingvulnerability of people to current stresses (CIFOR 2009)
Adaptation reduces the impacts of climate stresseson human and natural systems and consists of amultitude of behavioural, structural andtechnological adjustments.Adaptation measures can vary in: Timing (anticipatory vs. reactive; ex ante vs. ex post) Scope (short-term vs. long-term; localised vs. regional) Purposefulness (autonomous vs. planned; passive vs. active) Adapting agent (private vs. public; societies vs. natural systems)
The need to adapt to changing environmental andclimatic conditions is not a new one.Societies throughout history have had to adapt tovariations or changes in their climate through avariety of strategies and by using knowledgeaccumulated through experience of past climaticevents. Is past experience with adaptation sufficient for dealing with the impacts of climate change?
Overlaps do exist between “business-as-usual”development strategies and adaptation.Decisions taken as part of developmentactivities can have considerable bearing onthe vulnerability of societies to the potentialimpacts of climate change.Better developed societies possess moreadaptive capacity than less developedsocieties and therefore have lowervulnerability to climate change.
While there are overlaps between adaptation and development, activities with an explicit focus on adaptation and climate change will also be required… Example: In the Nepal Himalayas, infrastructure and livelihoods could be catastrophically affected by glacial lake outburst floods and glacier retreat resulting from rising temperatures (Agrawala et al., 2004).In this case, adaptation would require more direct measures toreduce exposure to such risks, going beyond baseline povertyreduction and economic development !!!
Business-as-usual development does not include activities that specifically aim to address climate change andreduce its impacts or take advantage of any new opportunities. For such action, explicit adaptation activities need to be developed.(OECD 2009)