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Adaptation to climate change requires more resources than governments can provide. This is a tool to crowd-source adaptation strategies.



A community self assessment tool is a guided walk through the systems that the community depends - how basic needs are met, what the sources of employment are, how people interact, communicate, move around, learn, and prosper.  A "community" could be a population center or political unit, or it could be a business, a social group, or even a family.  The goal is to identify vulnerabilities, in order to consider scenarios in which a disruption occurs in the system.

The tool should be designed so that it can be used without any external help. Where available, external support could include models to use in scenarios, and neutral facilitators. 

The self-assessment tool can promote dialogue and deep thinking within a community about the systems that they depend upon, and potential vulnerabilities when a system is disrupted.  Users could include local governments, civil society organizations, and businesses.  

Disaster risk reduction and risk management will result from better problem identification. In addition, the tool may identify ways to improve the health and wealth of the community, and reduce its greenhouse gas footprint. 

Elements of the toolkit may include:

  • System mapping
  • Measurements of key indicators
  • Participatory mapping
  • Guidance on how to conduct multistakeholder dialogues
  • Models for use in scenario building


The interactive guidebook will include chapters or sections on key systems.  Each chapter will involve a process of multi-stakeholder participatory mapping or data collection and reflection on the implications.  

The behavior of complex systems will emerge from review of the interactions between various subsystems.

Category of the action

Urban adaptation

What actions do you propose?

Who will take these actions?

The work takes place in several stages.  In the first stage, an expert group would be identified, and if appropriate, a face to face meeting organized at a location and time yet to be identifie.

In the second stage, pilot communities will be identified to test the method.  Ideally this would be in a range of contexts. The results of the pilot would be used for further refinements.

In the third stage, the project will be mainstreamed, with outreach and training of facilitators.  A monitoring and evaluation component will be included.

In the fourth stage, we will evaluate the usefulness of the method, and (assuming that it is) create a knowledge base from communities that have undertaken the self assessment.  

Follow-on actions could include support for implementation of priority interventions identified by communities, and peer-to-peer networking of communities engaged in community resilience.

Where will these actions be taken?

The concept is intended to be highly scaleable and actions ultimately could take place anywhere.  

During a pilot phase, a range of diverse contexts should be identified for trials: a small island developing country, an arid or semi-arid site in Africa, a small or medium-sized town in an industrialized nation, and a montane community, perhaps in Latin America or Asia, etc.  

What are other key benefits?

In addition to disaster risk reduction activity:

  • Community empowerment to address climate change impacts, and increased community capacity
  • Improved food security through local value chains
  • Opportunity to improve economic opportunities
  • Opportunity to improve access to services, such as health care and education
  • Opportunity to create stronger bonds between community and surrounding landscape, e.g. through improved protection of ecosystem services
  • Potential for improved community cohesion


What are the proposal’s costs?

Initial estimates are:

$25,000 for experts consultation

$50,000 for pilot projects

$10,000 for knowledge management and outreach

$15,000 for monitoring and evaluation

Time line


3 months for expert consultation phase

6 months for pilot phase

3 months for evaluation and review

Subseqent activities would be addressed through separate processes

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