Prioritization and selection of climate change adaptation measures: a review of the literature


36th IAHR World Congress, Delft, Netherlands, 28 June - 03 July 2015, pp.5330-5335 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Delft
  • Country: Netherlands
  • Page Numbers: pp.5330-5335


Adaptation to climate change is key to reduce associated risks and develop climate resilient communities. Adaptation measures should be designed for both current and future impacts of climate change. Nevertheless, the inherent uncertainty in climate change and its impacts, and also the intrinsic complexity in climate change adaptation process present challenges in developing, planning, and effective implementation of appropriate adaptation strategies in many countries. Despite the improvements, it is due to these challenges that the planned adaptation to climate change still has not reached the desired levels. In particular, there are key issues and knowledge gaps associated with climate change related decision-making. For example, although generic frameworks for the assessment of climate change risks and vulnerability are available in certain EU member countries (e.g., United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway), there is a gap in developing a common methodology for the prioritization and selection of adaptation measures. The methods which are most widely used for prioritizing (and selecting) adaption measures are Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA), Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA), Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA), and expert judgment. While each method has its advantages and disadvantages, their applicability in inter-regional, cross-sectoral, cross-border, multilevel, and multi-actor cases are rather limited. At present, a systematic and comprehensive methodology which is capable of taking into account the characteristics of the case-of-concern in terms of the constraints at hand such as insufficient local resources or site-specific vulnerabilities is absent. The principles of no-regret, low-regret, and win-win are often employed in identification of appropriate adaptation measures as a first step. The purpose of this study is to provide a critical review of the current primary approaches and methods for prioritization and selection of climate change adaptation measures.