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ADAM adaptation catalogue

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by Piotr Matczak, Darryn McEvoy, Ilona Banaszak, Adam Chorynski

Although our understanding of adaptation has improved in recent years, evidence (and more critically, evaluation and qualification) of the extent, feasibility, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of different options remains largely lacking. In response, the ADAM project undertook an examination of adaptation measures across the EU (and internationally where this adds value), with particular attention paid to innovative measures and institutions that either manage, reduce, or transfer the risks associated with extreme events - innovation being understood in the context of existing good practice, as defined by experts and key stakeholders, or otherwise as an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or organisation (though it is also recognised that traditional management practice in one particular context may translate as an innovative adaptation option when transferred to another setting).

This catalogue acts as an inventory of practical adaptation options and associated enabling institutional frameworks, and differentiates between options according to the form of adaptation (institutional structures and processes, planning and management practice, financial / legal, or technological), hazard, landscape type (urban, rural, coastal), economic sector, geographical region, responsible actor (highlighting whether public or private), and the scale of implementation (e.g. adapting to heat waves can involve action at the city, neighbourhood or individual building level; flood risk management can operate from the level of the catchment down to individual responses). Supporting analysis also includes an assessment of the potential feasibility and application of measures in different contexts, their associated costs and benefits (where such quantitative data are available), and the wider implications for sustainable development. Due to the nature of adaptation not all options are exhaustive.

The searchable database should not be considered comprehensive; rather the catalogue is intended to showcase good practice measures that are relevant to different hazards and applicable in different contexts, hence providing stakeholders with valuable knowledge that may assist their decision-making. References are included to enable further exploration, and where relevant the catalogue also acts as a gateway to external sites for additional information.

The presentation of options has been standardized and it contains five main categories (titles of these categories are in the left columns of each option's presentation):

1. "What" - presenting:

  • a sort general description of an option
  • type of option (whether it is technological, managerial, financial, institutional or other intervention)
  • sector of application - in general terms (rural, urban, etc.)
  • location - where information has been found on the application of an option

2. "Why" - presenting driving forces of an options implementation (basically according to thee categories: biophysical, socio-economic and policy related drivers)

3. "How and Who" - presenting scale of implementation, institutional context, and main actors involved (with emphasis on the role of private and public sector)

4. Implications for sustainable development in terms of environmental, social, economic aspects, and also other barrier are specified.

5. Resources - presenting links to websites, networks, and evaluations of options.  


Adaptation: responses to minimize the predicted impacts of climate change (response to actual or expected impacts of climate change, either through managing the impacts of the climate-related hazard, reducing exposure, or reducing the vulnerability of the element at risk).

Adaptation option (process and outcome): any adjustment aiming at decreasing of impact of climate change.

Extreme weather event: Weather phenomenon that occurs infrequently and can bring serious consequences (floods, droughts, heat waves, heavy rainfall, hurricanes, and tornadoes).

Institutions: formal or informal rules governing the behaviour of actors. These can be structural, agency-based, or relate to adaptive capacity.


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  • © 2009 ADAM, Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: Supporting European climate policy