Principles in Practice: Integrating Adaptation into Long-term Strategies
Integrating climate change adaptation into long-term planning is key to securing social and economic development, as the impacts of climate change are already affecting development outcomes. We see this throughout the world as the number of floods and droughts increase in frequency and intensity, threatening livelihoods, human health, economies, and infrastructure. In order to adequately address these emerging climate risks, new ways of planning for the future are required. For example, coastal planning needs to anticipate the effects of sea level rise. Job-creation efforts in rural settings must take into account the impact of climate change on different parts of the value chain and on the resources that feed into the value chain. Take Cambodia and Niger, two countries expected to be impacted severely by climate change, where early steps have been taken to adapt. In Cambodia, agricultural planning is addressing inconsistent water access through promoting private sector investment and the diffusion of green technologies such as solar water pumps and water-efficient irrigation. In Niger, new varieties of drought-resilient seeds have been disseminated along with training and investment to promote the diversification of livelihoods. Moving forward, in addition to these important steps, countries need to transition from energy-intensive economic growth to low-carbon growth with climate resilience. If we do not address adaptation in development planning decisions in the context of low-carbon growth, the impact of investments will be lost.