Rural communities get 'hands-on' with climate adaptation planning

Asking farmers what really matters to them helps frame a discussion about climate adaptation. Photos: N. Palmer (CIAT). Click for more photos.

by Chase Sova

Understanding the cost associated with climate change adaptation interventions in agriculture is important for mobilizing support and providing timely resources to improve resilience and adaptive capacities of small scale producers.  In the latest CGIAR Climate working paper, Community-Based Adaptation Costing: An integrated framework for the participatory costing of community-based adaptations to climate change in agriculture (PDF), we see that the economic analysis of climate interventions is more than a game of numbers. 

The Participatory Social Return on Investment (PSROI) framework introduced in the report aims to lay out a pragmatic, local-level adaptation (and mitigation) planning and costing approach.  PSROI takes into account local challenges, historical responses, locally available assets and resources and community visions of the future  to identify appropriate adaptation interventions and applies community perspectives to evidence and value the anticipated outcomes; economic, social and environmental. Check out his link to the New Agriculturalist for their take on the PSROI approach.

Community involvement in the adaptation planning and costing process creates the type of robust economic analysis that can complement top-down, high-level cost estimates. It also creates a strong sense of ownership over the identified adaptation strategy, improving the likelihood of adoption, identifying local barriers or incentives to implementation and creating and environment for the sustained management of the intervention.

 Maurice " the madman" Kwadha, local hero from the first PSROI pilot in Kochiel, showing off the fruits of his labor in the Nyando basin. Photo: N. Palmer (CIAT). Click to read more about Maurice.

The working paper, resulting from a collaboration between the CCAFS group working on adaptation to progressive climate change, and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute (ECI) provides a summary of the key results from the framework's application at two sites in Kenya and a third in Senegal plus a discussion on the framework's overall performance.  Check it out and let us know what you think by contacting one of the authors!

Finally, a continuation of the PSROI case studies is currently ongoing in Southeast Asia (SEA), with local partners and government agencies in Vietnam and Lao PDR implementing the approach themselves, adding this useful tool to their climate change repertoires.  The SEA studies are being managed by International Center for Tropical Agriculture's (CIAT) regional office in Hanoi. Contact C [dot] Corner-Dolloff [at] cgiar [dot] org (Caitlin Corner-Dolloff) for more information.

Read more about this work

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What really matters to people experiencing climate change effects?

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Working Paper no. 16. Community-Based Adaptation Costing: An integrated framework for the participatory costing of community-based adaptations to climate change in agriculture by Chase Sova, Abrar Chaudhury, Ariella Helfgott, Caitlin Corner-Dolloff

Chase Sova is a visiting researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).