Adaptive Capacity

In this screening stage, the user will score institutional readiness, that is, the institutional adaptive capacity of the key institutions in the country to address the potential impacts identified. In this tool, the ability to adjust to and cope with potential impacts is evaluated based on four key elements of an institution’s adaptive capacity:
  • Awareness of the potential impacts. Does the institution possess the knowledge and information on the hazards and their potential impacts that could affect the country’s development progress?
  • Ability to conduct risk assessments. Does the institution have the ability to assess risks from climate and geophysical hazards? Low skill levels in this area will undermine the institution’s understanding of future climate hazards as new information becomes available.
  • Ability to plan and implement adaptive measures. Without the ability to take action, risks may remain unabated.
  • Capacity to adaptively manage. Does the institution have the level of readiness needed to use its knowledge of potential impacts and risks to adjust in its planning, development and management? It will need to be able to make adjustments in the face of uncertainty in projections and long planning horizons.
The ratings for institutional readiness are done for the combined effect of all hazards, rather than hazard by hazard. This is primarily because the effects of institutional readiness are not hazard-specific. For example, when an institution enhances its procedures for infrastructure maintenance and risk management procedures, it improves its formal capacity to counter all physical impacts – whether they are temperature, precipitation or wind.
Time-frame: The ratings capture only current institutional readiness, because users could not possibly accurately predict future readiness. Planning processes and budgets change over time in a variety of ways. However, since institutional readiness can be improved over time through activities such as capacity building, education and training, the tool is designed to record ratings as the user revisits this stage.
National vs. Sectoral level: National adaptive capacity can both influence and reflect the capacity of individual sectors, so the tool guides users to provide ratings at both the national level and the sectoral level. For example, assessments of future climate impacts may be conducted by a national meteorological service and provided to sectoral institutions, which would raise the sectoral institutions ability to conduct vulnerability assessments.
The rating scale for institutional readiness looks like this:
0 = Absent. No evidence is available or capacity is nonexistent.
1 = Minimal. There is no formalized capacity. Hazard awareness and analytical abilities are very limited within the institution.
2 = Moderate. The institution has modest formal capacity. However, making hazard assessment is not a normal part of planning and implementation or a normal part of budget planning.
3 = Significant. The institution has strong formal capacity. Hazard awareness and the skills and resources needed to analyze hazard risks are a significant consideration in budgets as well as national planning and project development.
4 = Outstanding. Excellent formal capacity. Hazard awareness and analytical abilities related to hazards have been fully mainstreamed in national planning and project development in the institution.
This scale enables users to qualitatively score the level of institutional readiness. The ratings can be used in national planning to identify specific areas where capacities to address climate and geophysical hazards are weak and where specific capacities can be improved through targeted intervention. The scoring is also designed to provide consistent comparison as the user revisits this screening stage over time.