An innovative internet platform shares methods for adapting to climate change

Effective action to address climate change depends above all on information about its local, regional and national impacts. This information not only helps policy-makers to make climate policy decisions, but also provides the foundation for promoting measures for adapting to climate change. However, such information is scarce, especially in developing and emerging countries, as freely accessible, user-friendly and systematic overviews are rarely available.

Gathering information and connecting stakeholders

The International Climate Initiative (ICI) thus supported the Climate Impacts: Global and Regional Adaptation Support Platform (ci:grasp). In this project, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) created a freely accessible and interactive online information platform. This platform provides climate change data and uses climate parameters, such as temperature, extreme precipitation and rising sea levels, to identify the impacts on each region while taking account to socio-economic factors. Furthermore, it presents concerted adaptation measures for developing and emerging countries and provides links to projects that are already under way.

Users can enter information and continuously expand the amount of information on the website. Stakeholders are thus able to network with and learn from one another. The resulting repository of knowledge supplies decision-makers with the information they need for their climate policies and strengthens local capacity to analyse the consequences of climate change and to implement adaptation projects. The information provided by the platform helps to target the use of adaptation measures in places where they yield the greatest benefits.

Supporting decisions and developing methods

A follow-on project is developing an inventory of methods to identify, analyse and prioritise measures to adapt to climate change and is also using ci:grasp as a communication platform. This project is drafting user-oriented adaptation methods on the basis of scientific experience and practical challenges; it is also providing information about these methods online and in training sessions for stakeholders in partner countries. Moreover, the project is connecting decision-makers and experts in partner countries so that they can exchange experiences and advising them on the use of these methods in specific policy-making and planning processes.

Results and dissemination

The ci:grasp website had registered 315 projects from around the globe by January 2012. These projects conduct an intensive dialogue and present examples from the field. A variety of statistics provide information about the type, objectives and regional distribution of the different projects. In addition, visitors can consult more than 800 maps featuring climate change data, 125 maps showing the impact of climate change and 24 maps detailing emissions. Any interested user can thus gain information about the parameters and impacts of climate change, find out about corresponding measures and take action. The ci:grasp platform is thus making an important contribution towards knowledge management and the effective use of funds in climate change projects. 

Fifty decision-makers and experts from around the globe came together to launch a community of practice for adaptation methods in the run-up to the Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011. The delegates identified priority areas for work, such as national climate information systems, vulnerability assessments and climate risk indices, which will now undergo additional work at national level and by way of international exchange.