Category: Development

Becoming livable: Mandalay builds local capacity and completes landscape study

Becoming livable: Mandalay builds local capacity and completes landscape study

By Ian Hamilton

The Mandalay Building Urban Resilience (MBUR) project, financed with a $4 million grant from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF), has trained over 800 stakeholders in climate resilient urban planning and management since its inception in April 2018. 

The project is part of the Mandalay Urban Services Improvement Project (MUSIP) of the Asian Development Bank, a $60 million investment that will help the city build a new water treatment plant, upgrade and extend the existing water supply network, and construct the city’s first centralized wastewater collection and treatment plant. 

It is an ambitious drive to improve the urban environment and public health of Mandalay. At the moment, there is no piped sewerage system and no centralized wastewater treatment plant. Any discharge goes directly into canals and creeks, leading to waterborne diseases.  

In addition, the former royal capital of Myanmar has a rapidly growing population. Census data puts the city’s population at 1.46 million and it is expected to more than double by 2040. The agency tasked with urban service delivery and infrastructure development, the Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC), is in need of support. It currently is unable to effectively undertake all the responsibilities for urban planning and management due to lack of human and financial resources, limited skills, and planning information.  

This prompted MCDC to request for training activities—the MBUR project. They wanted capacity building interventions that would support the city government’s ongoing projects and which are anchored on practical issues rather than theory.  

To achieve this, the training activities under the MBUR project were designed to build MCDC’s capacity to implement current projects and address the city’s priority issues with the long-term view of building urban resilience. The training programs developed and conducted for MCDC staff centered on climate resilient urban planning and management. The MBUR project team is also closely working with other ongoing loan and grant subprojects of MUSIP, including the UCCRTF-funded Community-Based Solid Waste Management Project.  

On top of this, the project established an urban management database that will lay the foundation for e-governance and urban decision-making processes. 

As of mid-March 2019, the MBUR project has organized 39 sessions attended by 801 participants (81% female) comprised of government officials and students of Mandalay Technical University as well as other universities in the region. 

Image from Thingazar Creek Embankment Design Guide: Hard and Soft Banks by MBUR  

Transforming the Thingazar Creek 

Along with strengthening local capacity (which is also an aim of MUSIP), the MBUR project recently completed a study on comprehensive landscape improvement measures designed at enhancing the livability of the Thingazar Creek (TGC) area.  

The Thingazar Creek is a major priority project focus area under MUSIP, to improve wastewater and solid waste management, as well as raise the living conditions of residents along the creek. The study has been undertaken through capacity building with several departments within MCDC, contributing actively to data collection, analysis, and proposals.  

The study includes both hard and soft landscaping bankside proposals which incorporate sustainable urban drainage solutions in relation to local socioeconomic activities, accessibility, solid waste collection points, and the finalized sewer locations. The data collected and analysis undertaken will be used as inputs for a forthcoming training designed to promote the many historic buildings and activities in this part of Mandalay to both local and foreign visitors. 

This article was originally published on ADB’s Livable Cities Blog.
Cover photo of U Bein Bridge across the Taungthaman Lake, Amarapura from Wikimedia Commons.
Can mobile gaming help build climate resilience?

Can mobile gaming help build climate resilience?

By Emily Fox

Editor’s note: As the impacts of climate change become increasingly severe, new tools are needed to communicate how people’s actions affect the environment – and what we can do to respond. A powerful and underexplored medium for climate communications is video games, but game’s designers like Alan Scott-Moncrieff are looking to change all that…

With almost a third of the world’s population playing PC and handheld games, what better way to introduce the next generation to environmentalism than with a mobile game app? “Skookum’s quest” is being developed in the United States to entertain and educate children around the world to think “green” and simultaneously crowdfund real-world fixes for our planet.  

The game’s designer is artist Alan Scott-Moncrieff, a resident of Portland, Oregon. Born in Scotland to an American mother, his grandfather was the illustrator of Read with Dick and JaneThe Black Stallion and other renowned children’s books. Scott-Moncrieff studied fine art at Edinburgh then lived and exhibited as an artist for eleven years in Manhattan. Picking up a 16mm film camera in the mid-nineties he went on to shoot an award winning documentary on the Khmer Rouge before founding a leadership school in Cambodia for former street children. 

“We worked with MIT to develop a field lab for students to design and build oil-free innovations for impoverished farming communities throughout SE Asia,” explains Scott-Moncrieff. Forcibly shut down by regional oil interests in 2008, he returned to the United States to work with veteran non-profits addressing suicide prevention and homelessness. Asked if he was angry about the eventual fate of his collaboration with MIT, Scott-Moncrieff replies “no, just more determined. And wiser!” 

Since 2014 Scott-Moncrieff has been designing his mobile gaming app to empower children worldwide to fix the planet. The app will be coded by Seattle Software Developers in Washington and will establish proof of concept for a suite of planned eco-games. This initial game will combine an exciting adventure platform with actual touch points on current environmental hotspots, allow increased scoring through eco-heroism and green plot choices, encourage collaboration with other players to foil poachers and rescue endangered animals, and allow players to acquire validations from real life scientists, ecologists and game wardens in the field. 

A virtual passport will allow international travel and activism within the game, and the opportunity to speak at the UN and other world forums. Monthly winners of the game will gave away a 33% share to a cause of their choosing: within two years this could amount to millions of dollars each month. Scott-Moncrieff believes the opportunity of media coverage and mainstream fame for monthly winners will fuel global subscriptions and exponentially grow the game’s crowdfunding capabilities. 

 “One-in-three grade school kids believe the planet will be uninhabitable when they grow up,” says Scott-Moncrieff. “That’s a devastating fact. This game will serve to re-instil their hope in a healthy future for Earth and give kids the power to fund the fixes they want to see environmentally. Tomorrow’s adults will need to think differently and make greener lifestyle choices, and we can help them arrive at that mind-set through play.” 

“There is no time to wait for snail-like policy changes, government grants and labor-intensive private sector philanthropy. The planet needs immediate super-funding on a monthly basis if we are to assuage catastrophic climate warming.” 

After monthly game updates and enhancements have been paid for, the remainder of profits will be allocated to atmospheric carbon capture, ocean plastic retrieval and aggressive species protection. With over 1.4M students organizing for youth climate strikes across 130 countries over the past months, kids everywhere are clearly poised for engagement and many parents will likely get behind their child’s participation. Players will pay a $1.99/£1.50 subscription per month which Scott-Moncrieff estimates will crowd raise a mega fund of $200M-$400M annually within 3 years, in perpetuity. 

“That’s a lot of Earth-saving power,” he adds, with a smile. 

Scott-Moncrieff also brings many notable contacts to the table from his years in the art world and film industry, and is aligning a think tank of leading scientists, environmentalists, business luminaries and celebrities to help guide allocations and act as spokespersons for the game. Seattle Software Developers have been in the business since the early days of the internet and believes this could be the most important environmental cleanup instrument ever implemented using the most compelling world-crowdfunding mechanism possible. 

If you are interested in learning more, or if you’d like to donate/invest in the game, you can reach Alan Scott-Moncrieff at

Cover photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash.
Experts mobilized to support Central Sulawesi redevelopment

Experts mobilized to support Central Sulawesi redevelopment

By Joy Amor Bailey

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), through resources from the Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund (UCCRTF), was one of the first development partners to offer support for the recovery and reconstruction of Sulawesi in Indonesia after a combination of an earthquake and soil liquefaction left more than 4,000 people dead and more than 100,000 families homeless last September 2018. 

From November 2018 to February 2019, various experts were mobilized to support BAPPENAS, the national development planning agency, in the preparation of the Central Sulawesi Damage and Loss Assessment and the Master Plan of Post-Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment.  

Anchored on the principle of “Build Back Better, Safer, and More Sustainable”, BAPPENAS collaborated with various ministries and local stakeholders in the coordination of activities as well as the drafting of action plans. The experts financed through UCCRTF took advisory roles in the consultation workshops and report writing of five Key Working Groups:  

  1. Development of Disaster Risk Areas 
  2. Rehabilitation of Regional Infrastructures
  3. Socio-cultural and Economic Recovery
  4. Finance and Collaboration, and  
  5. Regulation and Institution

Steps are also being taken to ensure that the Master Plan is implemented effectively. Suprayoga Hadi, primary planner at BAPPENAS, is working closely with other government agencies to cascade the use of the Master Plan, such that it informs upcoming interventions. More recently, Hadi has requested ADB to engage monitoring and evaluation experts who will assist the central government in supervising the redevelopment of various sectors. 

This article was originally featured on the Livable Cities ADB site.
Cover photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash.
Lessons from New Clark City: Can Ecosystem-based adaptation unlock urban resilience?

Lessons from New Clark City: Can Ecosystem-based adaptation unlock urban resilience?

By Lydia Messling

Ecosystem-based adaptation principles have governed the decision making processes in developing a brand new city on the outskirts of Manila: New Clark City. Without spending billions on large-scale technological fixes or man-made barriers, New Clark City’s greatest defence against natural disasters will instead come from nature itself. By using ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) measures, solutions have been devised to reduce vulnerability and build resilience to climate change and natural disasters, by using and enhancing the features that already exist in the ecosystem.

Currently under construction, New Clark City in the Philippines will be a centre for business and governance, accommodating up to 1.2 million people. Building such a large city is already an ambitious task, but the Philippines has the additional challenge of managing its exposure to many different types of natural disasters, from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to typhoons and flooding. Any new development needs to be resilient to shocks and stresses, particularly as climate change will make extreme weather events more severe.

The Bases Conversion Development Authorty (BCDA), assisted by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, have therefore chosen to apply EBA principles to ensure the city remains smart and disaster-resilient for years to come. EBA principles have informed different stages of the design and planning process, from choosing the location, the building materials, through to the buildings and street layout. Here’s how EBA principles have been applied:


Located in Carpas, Tarlac, the 9,450 Hectare development steers clear of fault lines, reducing the risk of destruction from earthquakes. Being situated at a higher elevation and further inland than Manila, New Clark City is less likely to be flooded, with a minimum elevation of 177ft about sea level. Nestled between two mountain ranges, the Sierra Madre mountain to the east and the Zambales mountain range to the west, New Clark is offered natural protection from typhoons. Whilst there may be some concern about the nearby active volcano Mount Pinatubo, responsible for the second largest eruption in the Twentieth Century, volcanologists say another big eruption is not due for few hundred years.

Building material

Ingeniously, developers are making use of one of the most devastating results of volcanoes – lahars. Lahars are a type of mudslide made up of volcanic material, slurry, and rocky debris. This unstable material violently flows down the sides of volcanoes, often reaching speeds of 22 miles per hour, destroying everything along the way. These lahars do not just occur when there is a volcanic eruption, but can be triggered by melting snow and ice, heavy rainfall, and earthquakes shaking the loose material. As the topography of the area is well known, volcanologists can predict where lahars are likely to flow. Whilst New Clark City will hopefully avoid these destructive mudslides, lahars will be central to its construction. Builders will combine local lahar material with cement to build the city. Removing lahar material can also enhance the profile of the stream and river beds that it flowed down, which further benefits flood resilience, irrigation and water quality. Manufacturing cement usually consumes a large amount of water and energy, meaning that the associated carbon emissions are very high. By adding lahar to the cement, the builders can reduce the amount of water and energy needed. 


Creating lots of green space is central to the design of New Clark City. The plans are to preserve the river and many trees that are already growing in the area, which will be ideal for helping build flood resilience, improving air quality, and temperature regulation. The addition of wide drainage systems and “no-build zones” means that when a flooding event does occur, New Clark City will be better equipped to respond and limit the impact of it. Instead of being one large block of concrete, the flood water will have controlled run-off and escape routes by using the natural features of the land. For example, the city’s design includes a large central park area that will also act as a flood basin.

Whilst following EBA principles drastically reduced the risk of damage from typhoons and earthquakes, they will not eliminate flood risk completely for New Clark City. In fact, there still remains the possibility that large earthquakes may affect the city, and flooding, despite the elevation and defence planning, may occur. However, the simple, pre-existing features of the ecosystem have helped identify ways in which exposure to risks can be limited and how to quickly and efficiently recover from a natural disaster, making New Clark City resilient.

Cover photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash.
Climate vulnerable countries are unable to access finance proportionate to level of need

Climate vulnerable countries are unable to access finance proportionate to level of need

By Will Bugler

study by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) titled, ‘Climate Change Adaptation Finance: Are the Most Vulnerable Nations Prioritized?’ warns that “the allocation of adaptation finance is not consistently aligned with the sentiment of the Paris Agreement.”

The findings demonstrate that:

  • The most vulnerable nations are the least likely to be selected as finance recipients by both bilateral and multilateral donors;
  • Multilateral donors are found to allocate more adaptation finance to SIDS, yet they are not observed to prioritize vulnerable nations in the selection stage;
  • Multilateral donors are less orientated towards recipient need than their bilateral counterparts; and
  • Countries that are most vulnerable to climate change receive smaller allocations of adaptation finance from bilateral donors than their less vulnerable counterparts.

The paper finds that bilateral donors allocate more adaptation finance to recipients with: a higher level of need, determined by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita; more strategic importance, for example with whom they share a larger amount of bilateral trade; and higher levels of good governance, where aid is presumed to be more effective.

Multilateral donors, the authors note, prioritize well-governed nations. In spite of targeting groups vulnerable to climate change, multilateral donors do not prioritize the most vulnerable within those groups. The study concludes that there are barriers that limit the ability of the most climate vulnerable countries to access a share of adaptation finance proportionate to their level of need.

Download the study here.

Cover photo by Sabin Basnet on Unsplash.
Climate poses direct risk to real estate investment says ULI report

Climate poses direct risk to real estate investment says ULI report

By Will Bugler

The known and growing risks posed by climate change to large-fixed asset investments, has done little to put off some lenders from financing real-estate in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas. Such actions are coming under increasing scrutiny, with many investors and forecasters calling them ‘insane’. In a recent report, the Urban Land Institute and real-estate investment management firm Heitman assess the potential impacts of climate change on real estate assets and give some direction as to what investment managers and institutional investors might do to understand and reduce their climate risk exposure.

The report shows that while although many assets held by real estate investors are in cities vulnerable to the effects of climate change, most still rely on insurance to guide their risk decisions. However, as premiums are based on historical events, they are not a robust guide to climate change risk to investments. The report shows that physical risks from catastrophic events and chronic climate risk from slower changes to weather patterns, pose direct risk to real estate investments.

Derived from a series of interviews with leading institutional investors, investment managers, investment consultants and others, the report also shows that a growing group of investors and investment managers are exploring new approaches to find better tools and common standards to help the industry get better at pricing in climate risk in the future. These include:

  • Mapping physical risk for current portfolios and potential acquisitions;
  • Incorporating climate risk into due diligence and other investment decision-making processes;
  • Incorporating additional physical adaptation and mitigation measures for assets at risk;
  • Exploring a variety of strategies to mitigate risk, including portfolio diversification and investing directly in the mitigation measures for specific assets; and
  • Engaging with policymakers on city-level resilience strategies, and supporting the investment by cities in mitigating the risk of all assets under their jurisdiction.

Such tools and methods are becoming necessary to reassure institutional investors and other lenders that their investments are secure. The report points to a series of resources, standards and guidelines that form part of a rapidly developing toolkit that can be used to better understand and manage climate risk.

It is becoming increasingly likely that investors will be expected, and indeed required, to ensure appropriate risk management measures are in place to protect investments from climate risk exposure, and to encourage more robust practices in real-estate construction and development.

A copy of the ULI report “Climate risk and real estate investment decision-making” can be found here.

Cover photo by Chuttersnap on Unsplash.
Webinar: How can EO data support climate resilient development?

Webinar: How can EO data support climate resilient development?

The European Space Agency’s Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SDClimate Resilience Cluster is holding a webinar to demonstrate the potential for Earth Observation to contribute to climate resilient development objectives.

The webinar “How can EO data support climate resilient development?”  will take place twice on the 11th June 2019:

  • 10-11 am CEST / 3-4 pm PHT
  • 3-4 pm CEST / 9-10 am EST.

Register for your preferred time. Download and share the webinar invitation.

Climate change impacts and sustainable development

The UN Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement, and numerous regional and national level development plans and strategies are explicit about the potential for climate change and its impacts to derail development efforts and reverse the trend of declining global poverty.

However, developing a picture of how climate impacts affect the environment and society can be difficult, especially in regions where data is missing, incomplete or inaccurate. Earth observation (EO) data helps in this regard by providing timely and accurate information in large quantities about the Earth’s atmosphere, landmasses, and oceans.

Combined with socio-economic data, EO data can provide useful information that can show potential climate risks and allow decision makers to develop strategies to build resilience. Since 2008, the European Space Agency has worked closely with International Financing Institutions (IFIs) and their client countries to harness the benefits of EO in their operations and resources management.

About the EO4SD initiative

Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) is an ESA initiative which aims at increasing the uptake of EO-based information in regular development operations at national and international level. Over the past year, the ESA EO4SD – Climate Resilience Cluster – has been working with IFIs to develop an EO-based integrated climate screening and risk management service and build capacity in IFI client states so that stakeholders can use EO-based information for climate resilient decision making.

Regionalism, human rights and migration in relation to climate change

Regionalism, human rights and migration in relation to climate change

By Cosmin Corendea

In a recent research project supported by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and AXA Research Fund, I focused on the main two systems of law in the Pacific – state or national legislation and traditional, customary law – and how the differences between the two could create legal risks when implementing international law associated with climate change, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement. The final policy report, launched in November 2017 at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, produced a set of seven concrete recommendations for policy makers and negotiators when addressing migration and human rights in the context of climate change.

Some of the recommendations emphasise the need of an harmonisation between the two legal systems in the Pacific (state/national and traditional) so as to create a single coherent system that can fill in the gaps and help implement international law, such as Paris Agreement. Other recommendations express an acute need for the process of migration to be continuously recognised by the countries in the region and started to be addressed at both technical and political level.

However, there are two main conclusions of the research that are applicable on a larger scale, beyond the characteristics of one country or region in particular.

The importance of hybrid international law

The concept of hybrid international law, as developed since 2007, refers to environmental law, human rights, and refugee or migration law. It demonstrates an interrelation between the three, and shows that climate change cannot be addressed without referring to human rights or migration – as direct or subsidiary effects.

Today, based on a reciprocal cause-effect relationship, we can’t address environmental degradation – including climate change – without taking into account human rights and/or migration. This analysis applies to all environmental-degradation events and disasters, regardless of whether the process is slow (such as sea-level rise, salinization, etc.) or rapid (flooding, extreme storms, etc.). For example, the immediate consequence of a flood could be human-rights violations in the affected community – children could be unable from going to school (the right to education), elderly people may be unable to reach medical facilities (the right to health care), and so on.

Immediately after the human-rights violation (happening at state level due to its obligation to protect and ensure the access to different rights), decisions are usually made by families and individuals depending on the severity of the event: either to stay (adapt) or to flee (migrate). Research in my book Legal Protection of the Sinking Islands Refugees (2016) shows that almost 30% of the people worldwide decide to migrate, mostly due to the limited capacity of states to assist in the adaptation process.

The decision to migrate is not exclusively based on environmental reasoning. It can include limitations to human-rights access as well economic issues. Most importantly, migration may itself lead to human-rights violations, including the right to a clean and healthy environment and ultimately contribute to environmental degradation and climate change. This interlinked and interconnected view of environmental degradation, human rights and (forced) migration represents a change of paradigm, a concrete conceptualisation of the states’ duty to protect or common but differentiated responsibility application for both sending and receiving communities.

Reflected also in the decision of the households to migrate or adapt – or use of migration as an adaptive tool when affected by environmental degradation – this nexus enlarges any state’s immediate actions, including as the duty to rescue, to a medium- to long-term approach, which is much more complex.

Thinking and working regionally

Another core finding is that the regional approach, in general proves more effective when developing, initiating and eventually implementing a migration policy.

In September 2016, the UN General Assembly discussed issues related to migration and refugees. In adopting the “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”, the 193 UN member states recognised the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at global level. The Global Compact for Migration is framed consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which member states committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration and its scope is defined in Annex II of the New York Declaration.

However, it is clear that the actual migration process at UN level has unfortunately become quite political and, moreover, parties are not eager to address climate-related mobility. Although the number of climate migrants is rising every year and there are no global policies to respond, member states are very reluctant to recognise climate change as a threat. While the Paris Agreement created a sense of political momentum, the actual process has lost its shine and interest of some parties, even as they all continue to face concrete migration struggles around the world.

Residents of of the Lekehio Village on Tanna Island, Vanuatu in 2016. The community faced water shortages and environmental threats at the time. While they didn’t migrate, they consider it an option. Author provided

However, there are previous regional experiences that proven to be more effective than global ones such as environmental (bi- and multi-lateral) agreements with a greater impact in domestic legislation and a better reflection of the priorities countries find to be important in those particular cases.

In general, regional documents have an important characteristic that is significantly lost in global agreements, conventions or any other legal forms, and that is represented by identity. Regions have common and distinctive cultural, social and even legal individualities. These spring from communities and define the countries in an idiosyncratic manner, and can include common historical ties, traditions, social structures or cultural and religious manifestations that are better preserved and protected at regional level than globally. In relation to the environment, regions do have specific approaches that are quite difficult to be conserved in global negotiations, but much easier at regional level, as it is very probable to be shared between countries and even define an entire region.

States not only have to address present migration humanitarian crises, but they also must regulate and enable future mobility impacts due to environmental-rights breaches.

Human mobility is a positive process that has taken place for more than 2,000 years, and because of significant environmental challenges and continuous presence of conflict, it will continue to increase in the future. States should not be surprised by the increasing number of migrants, but instead start regulating mobility taking into account environmental components with a strong rights-based approach, in a preventive mode to assure that basic rights are respected, including that to a clean environment, migrants rights, and human rights.

Cosmin Corendea: Migration, Human Rights and Climate Change in the Pacific.

New project supports climate adaptation and resilience for Pacific Islands

New project supports climate adaptation and resilience for Pacific Islands

By Will Bugler

Fifteen Pacific island countries are part of the newly launched Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) project under the Intra-African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) Programme funded by the 11th European Development Fund’s (EDF). The EUR 12 million project aims to strengthen adaptation and mitigation measures at the national and regional level and support partner countries in climate negotiations and in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Jointly implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Pacific Community, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the University of the South Pacific, the project will also have a disaster resilience component. Some of the activities of the project, according to SPREP, include knowledge sharing, strengthening of networks, and trainings and research opportunities.

An inception and planning meeting for the project was held from 1-3 April 2019 at the SPREP Campus in Samoa.

The Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu participate in the project.

Photo Credit: Gemma Longman

Unpacking transformation: A framework and insights from adaptation mainstreaming

Unpacking transformation: A framework and insights from adaptation mainstreaming

As the impacts of climate change become increasingly severe, there is mounting evidence that successful adaptation requires transformational changes to social, human, physical, financial, and political systems. 

Despite this, there is no consensus on what constitutes ‘transformational change’, nor how it can best be achieved. A new paper released by the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, addresses this by providing evidence of transformational change from its work in South Asia.

The paper “Unpacking transformation: A framework and insights from adaptation mainstreaming” draws on five case studies from South Asia and demonstrates the ways in which technical assistance programmes on adaptation can support and facilitate transformational change. 

Designed for development and climate practitioners, the paper also provides a conceptual framework for assessing progress towards transformational change in adaptation. 

ACT is a is a £23 million UK government-funded regional programme that has been supporting national and sub-national governments in five South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.  

Even under the most ambitious climate scenarios, the consequences of climate change and its impacts will be severe.1 Storms, heatwaves and flood events are all expected to increase in frequency and intensity, and seal level rise will put coastal settlements at risk. Countries in South Asia are especially vulnerable, and the scale of ambition on climate change resilience building must increase to ensure they are able to meet their development objectives. Given the scale of the challenge, it has become clear that applying piecemeal adaptation measures will be insufficient: there is a need for transformative change. 

However, despite the realisation that transformative change of social, human, physical, financial, and political systems is required, there is little consensus about how to achieve it. To address this the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, has released a new learning paper, that addresses this by providing evidence of transformational change from its work in South Asia.  

The paper, titled, “Unpacking transformation: A framework and insights from adaptation mainstreaming”, provides a conceptual framework for assessing progress towards transformational change in adaptation. It consists of three components:  

  1. Transformational characteristics – the indicators of transformational change; 
  2. Transformational domains – the route by which transformational change is achieved; and  
  3. The enabling environment – the factors that predate and support transformational change.  

The framework can be used by practitioners and policy-makers to understand, strengthen and monitor the likelihood of transformational change in adaptation. 

ACT is a £23 million UK government-funded regional programme managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) in collaboration with many consortium partners. It has been working since 2014 in partnership with national and sub-national governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to assist the integration of climate adaptation into development policies and actions while transforming systems of planning and delivery, including leveraging additional finance. 

The full ACT learning paper “Unpacking transformation: A framework and insights from adaptation mainstreaming” and a learning brief can be accessed by clicking here.  

A 60-second audio abstract can be accessed here:  
Action on Climate Today (ACT) is an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK government and managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM). 
Key Contacts 

Cover photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash.