Community level adaptation to climate change: the potential role of participatory community risk assessment

Community level adaptation to climate change: the potential role of participatory community risk assessment

Community risk assessment: a bottom-up approach to climate change adaptation

Community Risk Assessment (CRA) refers to participatory methods to assess hazards, vulnerabilities and capacities in support of community-based disaster risk reduction, used by many NGOs, community-based organisations, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. This paper reviews the evolution of climate change adaptation and community-based disaster risk reduction, and highlights the challenges of integrating global climate change into a bottom-up and place-based approach.

The authors analyse CRAs carried out by various national Red Cross societies, and show that CRAs can help address those challenges by fostering community engagement in climate risk reduction, particularly given that many strategies to deal with current climate risks also help to reduce vulnerability to climate change. Climate change can also be explicitly incorporated in CRAs by making better use of CRA tools to assess trends, and by addressing the notion of changing risks.

However, a key challenge described is to keep CRAs simple enough for wide application. This demands special attention in the modification of CRA tools; in the background materials and training for CRA facilitators; and in the guidance for interpretation of CRA outcomes.

A second challenge noted is the application of a limited set of CRA results to guide risk reduction in other communities and to inform national and international adaptation policy. The authors argue that specific attention for sampling and care in scaling up qualitative findings is needed. Finally, stronger linkages are recommended between organisations facilitating CRAs and suppliers of climate information, particularly addressing the translation of climate information to the community level.

(Adapted from author)

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.