Adaptation and development are inextricably linked. To the extent that they focus on the poorest and most vulnerable populations, they share many of the same goals. Failing to adapt to climate change can also derail development – but without coordination, development and adaptation can undermine one another.

A growing understanding of these dynamics has led many to call for “mainstreaming” adaptation into development planning, aiming to avoid policy conflicts, reduce risks and vulnerability, increase efficiency, and leverage larger financial flows, especially in sectors that are particularly climate-sensitive.

This policy brief draws on several studies sponsored by the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Knowledge Platform for Asia (AKP). Our primary source is a report based on a regional forum hosted by AKP and its partners in Bangkok in 2010. In addition, we draw on case studies in Thailand, Vietnam and Bhutan.

The brief identifies several promising entry points for integrating adaptation at the national level, including countries’ five- and ten-year development plans, poverty reduction strategy papers, disaster risk reduction strategies, water resource strategies, and conservation strategies.

The brief also notes that mainstreaming is an iterative process that can take years. New strategies and policy approaches need to be tested, and the lessons learned will then inform the next stage of planning and discussions. Inclusive and meaningful engagement with policy-makers, practitioners and vulnerable communities is crucial.

Download the policy brief (PDF, 898kb)