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Frequently Asked Questions


When designing and implementing a CBA project, how can we deal with the uncertainties associated with climate projections?
In view of the uncertainties associated with climate change projections, it is important to identify the range of short- to long-term climate scenarios that may occur in your CBA projectís geographical area. The project team should design the CBA project to address the impacts of current climate variability, while at the same time preparing communities to effectively deal with medium to longer term climate impacts. Given that climatic conditions might change in ways that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, the team should develop contingency plans that would enable them to adapt the project to other climate scenarios. For example, a project in a drought prone area that could get wetter with climate change could put in place contingency plans to deal with increased rainfall and possible flooding. In this example, the contingency plans should clearly outline activities that the project would implement to take advantage of increased rainfall and deal with floods. In addition, the plans should identify resources that would be required, indicate what resources are currently available, as well as potential sources of additional support that could be leveraged in the event of increased rain and floods.

How long does it take to apply this Toolkit?
The duration of the application of this toolkit will vary, depending on various factors including: the composition of the project development team (especially the number and technical expertise of the team members), the technical and financial resources available for the analysis and design of the project (including access to required information and technical support), the organisation and coordination of the analysis and design processes, donor requirements (for example the level of flexibility in donor requirements, deadlines for submission of project design documents to donors, the duration of donor commitment to fund the project) among other factors. The duration of project implementation is normally determined during the design stage.

Can we use large scale climate projections to design and implement CBA projects? How can we complement this information?
Yes, we can use large scale climate projections to design and implement CBA projects. The large scale climate projections provide an indication of the general changes in the areaís climate over time. This information can help project teams to identify important broad climate-related issues that the project could address. The project should be designed to minimise negative impacts of climate change and take advantage of opportunities that the phenomenon may present. This can be done effectively if there is a good understanding of potential climatic changes and their impacts. Since impacts of climate change are location and context specific, it is also important to obtain information on the impacts of climate change on the target area. This can be done using climate change vulnerability assessment tools such as the Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) tool. These tools would enable the project team to collect information on climatic changes experienced in the projectís target area. In addition, they would get a better understanding of the impacts of these changes on the community, how vulnerable the community members are and the factors that contribute to their vulnerability to these changes. For example, climate projections for the larger area may indicate that temperatures and precipitation may increase. The attendant impacts could include increased droughts and floods. The CBA project could be designed to address these impacts. However, when CVCA is applied among the target community, it may be realised that in addition to droughts and floods, the project may need to also adapt to shifting rainfall seasons.

Do I need to be a climate change specialist?
You do not need to be a climate change specialist to conduct an analysis on climate vulnerability and develop a CBA project. However, it would be important to engage climate change experts in your project development. You could either seek to engage with, and obtain advice on scientific and technical aspects of climate change, e.g. climate analyses and its implications for your projectís target area from meteorological experts. Alternatively, you could contract a consultant with the relevant expertise to support the team during the analysis and design stages. The project team should endeavour to build their capacity in climate change adaptation as much as possible.

What if the development and implementation of the project costs me more?
The costs of properly developing and implementing a CBA project may appear to be higher than the cost of a comparable development project. However, a good quality CBA project may yield good returns on investments and even result in cost savings in future. Such a project will also build the required capacity to adapt among various stakeholders, contribute towards reducing disaster risks, enhance the practice of climate-resilient livelihoods, and effectively address the underlying causes of vulnerability. These elements would make the CBA project optimally beneficial and sustainable. For example, an agriculture-focused CBA project that invests in crops and seed varieties that can grow under changing climatic conditions such as in shifting rainfall; incorporates water efficient irrigation technologies; builds community capacity to add value to, and preserve food; introduces economic activities outside the natural resources sector; and uses seasonal weather forecasts and early warning information for disasters to plan activities, is likely to succeed in the face of climate change impacts.

What are the specific skills that CBA project teams need to identify, select, implement, monitor and evaluate suitable adaptation options?
The specific skills that staffs need to identify, select, implement, monitor and evaluate suitable adaptation options include skills in: weather and climate analysis, including its translation to the local context; the analysis of climate-livelihood linkages and vulnerability; community mobilisation and facilitation; gender and diversity; disaster risk reduction and disaster management; capacity building, advocacy and policy influence at different levels; economic analysis e.g. cost-benefit analysis of community-based adaptation; project design, implementation and management (including financial and adaptive management); monitoring and evaluation; and information and knowledge management (including synthesis of lessons).

What are the roles of project target groups and local institutions in community-based adaptation?
Project target groups and local institutions should play a leading role in steering the process of CBA. Ideally, they should identify impacts of climate change on their livelihoods, identify priority areas of need and focus, identify a range of potential adaptation options, mobilise available resources such as appropriate indigenous technologies and human resources, and actively engage in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of adaptation strategies. They should also play a role in capacity building, applying the learning by doing approach in the implementation of new adaptation options, and, as appropriate, engage in information and knowledge sharing as well as policy influence.