The project “Prácticas Útiles de Adaptación frente a Eventos Hidrometeorologicos asociados al cambios y la Variabilidad Climática en América Latina y el Caribe” is part of the IAI’s Training Institute Seed Grant program. Financially supported by the NSF (14,300 U$S), It has as main objective the improvement of the adaptation strategies and measures of the diverse sectors of the society to hydro meteorological events associated to the climatic variability and change in Latin America and the Caribbean. Different adaptation practices of Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba and Mexico, countries of origin of team’s members, are identified, systematized, analyzed and compared qualitatively and quantitatively. The quantitative analysis is developed through the “Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation Index (IUPA)”.
The IUPA is a prototype multi-purpose Index projected for utilize in the evaluation of the general Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation, with special regard to extreme hydro-meteorological events caused by climate variability and change. The IUPA index consists of an excel workbook which allows the user to assign weights and scores to a set of user-defined evaluation criteria. The evaluation criteria related with adaptation measures are: (i) Degree of solution of the problem, (ii) Time required for the implementation, (iii) Total economic value, (iv) Degree of restrictions that limit the decision freedom of the stakeholders, (v) Number of beneficiaries, (vi) Time span during which the adaptation practice keeps on developing itself, (vii) Level to which the adaptation measure makes sustainable use of the natural resources, (viii) Participation of the target population, (ix) Attention to the most vulnerable groups, (x) Integration with other policy domains, (xi) Repeatability and (xii) Incorporation of local/traditional knowledge.
Individual criterion scores are then aggregated into a final index value. IUPA is proposed for use by government institutions and decision-makers at the (inter-)national, regional and local level, for the evaluation of adaptation practices in the design, implementation and post-implementation phase. The index is flexible from 2 perspectives: (i) construction; (ii) use.
The project has allowed conforming and strengthening an interdisciplinary and multinational research network in the thematic of adaptation to climatic variability and change in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The popularization of the results and conclusions of the works carried out to the scientific community and decision makers in Latin America and the Caribbean is carried out through of scientific publications, books and a web page (http://climadapta.univalle.edu.co).
The project had the financial support of the NSF through the administration of the IAI. The initial budget of 9,900 U$S has been increased by a new amount of 4,400 U$S (total 14,300 U$S). In smaller grade, the diverse academic, administrative and not government institutions where the members of the team of the project work have contributed with financial resources considering work infrastructures and equipments, as well as the respective salaries.
Research Activities and Findings
The main objective of this investigation is associated with the identification and analysis of useful practices that allow increasing the adaptation capacity of diverse social sectors to hydro meteorological events associated to the climatic variability and change in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Particularly,
– To identify, to systematize and to analyze useful practice to increase the adaptation capacity to hydro meteorological events associated to the climatic variability and changes in LAC.
– To divulge the results and conclusions of the experiences studied to support adaptation strategies and measures to climatic variability and change to the scientific community and decision makers in LAC.
– To conform and to strengthen an interdisciplinary and multinational research network in the thematic of adaptation to climatic variability and change in LAC.
The researches activities relate to the objectives of the project were developed in the following steps:
– Literature review on concepts and methods: this stage allowed the homogenization of the concepts and ideas that will be used (vulnerability, adaptation, adaptative capacity, etc.) and the summary of scientific works associated to the construction and use of composite indexes.
– Development of identification and evaluation process for useful practices
The identification and analysis of qualitative and quantitative evaluation works of adaptation measures were carried out, in particular, the studies of applications of composite indexes. In this stage, the works of construction of the index Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation (IUPA) was started.
– Identification, preliminary selection and evaluation of useful adaptation practices already used or planned, by each of the members of the research group, in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Mexico y Panama.
– Joint and interdisciplinary presentation, discussion and analysis of the characteristics and usefulness of pre-selected practices. This activity was carried using the Internet and coordinated, periodically, for the different members of the group, responsible for periodic reports.
iii) Evaluation of Results
The analysis and discussion of the results obtained in the previous stages, as well as the application of the index Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation Index (IUPA) for the evaluation of the diverse adaptation practices were carried out from a multiple perspective that includes different disciplines and experiences (geography, hydrology, agronomy, climatology, and risks management). This happened in 2 workshops that took place in Buenos Aires (October, 2006) and Cali (November, 2006) (ANNEX A). These 3 days meetings allowed the direct interaction between the members of the group and the invigoration of the interdisciplinary work.
iv) Distribution of Results
Evaluated the results and conclusions of the project, the final stage of this project is associated to the presentation and distribution of the results obtained between the scientific community and the decision-makers through the elaboration of internal reports for the IAI, construction and update of web page, the publication of a book and of scientific papers in qualified journals.
The main findings and results of this project are an intense summary work, analysis and homogenization of last decades concepts associated to the vulnerability, adaptation and adaptative capacity thematic and the construction and application of a composite index ” Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation Index – IUPA”, that allows a simple way to quantify, to classify and to compare used or planned adaptation practices to the variability and climatic change in the region.
Follows, a brief summary of the publications resulting from the work called “IUPA: a proposal of an Index for the evaluation of the general usefulness of practices for adaptation to climate change and variability”
In the present paper, a prototype multi-purpose Index is proposed for use in the evaluation of the general Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation, with special regard to extreme hydro-meteorological events caused by climate variability and change. The IUPA index consists of an excel workbook which allows the user to assign weights and scores to a set of user-defined evaluation criteria. Individual criterion scores are then aggregated into a final index value. Guidance is given to the user by providing a list of suggested evaluation criteria & criterion-specific weight factors, which have been defined by a multidisciplinary panel of professionals and researchers working in the Latin-American and Caribbean Region. The usefulness of the method is demonstrated through the application of the index for the evaluation of 2 existing adaptation practices from the region. IUPA is proposed for use by government institutions and decision-makers at the (inter-)national, regional and local level, for the evaluation of adaptation practices in the design, implementation and post-implementation phase. The index is flexible from 2 perspectives: (i) construction; (ii) use.
Among the main changes or “drift” in the objectives, that originally had been defined, resulting from the experience of the project, it can be mentioned:
– The necessity to use an important part of the initial period of the works in activities of ideas and definitions homogenization, in particular on the diverse existent concepts related with aspects like vulnerability, adaptation, adaptative capacity, etc., all of them key elements for our work.
– Agreed that the qualitative analyses were not enough to describe, to analyze and to compare the effectiveness of one adaptation practices to the variability and climatic change, they were also concentrated studies on the application of quantitative analysis, through of the construction and use of the index Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation Index – IUPA.
– Related with the objective of conformation and strengthen of a research network, it was not possible to achieve the establishment of a consolidated and permanent virtual forum, in function of internal problems of some institutions, and the difficulty of establishing norms of use. Therefore, the works have been developed using normal mail exchanges, phone contacts and workshop in group.
Contributions of Co-PIs
Specifically description of the contribution of each Co-PI to the project
The project asked and had the permission in order to change the numbers of Co-PI (ANNEX B).
Each one of the network members comes from countries, academic formation, scientific schools, and different type of experiences and professional activities. In consequence, ideas and work methodologies, such as the construction of the Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation Index – IUPA, were intensely discussed and improved with the exchange of opinions inside the network and through Co-PI co-operation,
As a result of the scientific works carried out in this project it was submitted for evaluation a scientific manuscript ” IUPA: a proposal of an Index for the evaluation of the general usefulness of practices for adaptation to climate change and variability” to the Journal “mitigation and adaptation strategies for global change” (Annex C).
As an outcome of the scientific activities of the project, a book is being elaborated and editing. The preliminary title is “Adaptacion al cambio y a la variabilidad climatica en America Latina y el Caribe” and it will be published by the Nucleus of Environment Sciences of the University Federal of Pará (Nucleo de Meio Ambiente – NUMA/UFPA).
The training and capacity building activity provided through the project was the “IV Encuentro RUPSUR 2006 Variabilidad Climática y Cambio Climático: Impactos en el Logro de las Metas del Milenio”, November 8-10, 2006, Cali (Colombia). Participants: Carvajal, Szlafsztein, Neri, Benzanilla and Celis (ANNEX D).
Some of the activities were carried out with the collaboration of under-graduate students trained inside the context of the project, like to following described:
During this year the members of the group have participated and presented scientific contributions in different events (ANNEX E)
This 1 year project contributed to regional collaboration and networking beyond the member’s institutions establishing contacts, participating in activities and constructing future cooperation with RUPSUR (Red de Universidades del Pacífico Sur)– a network of universities of the South Pacific, and CATHALAC (Centro del Agua del Trópico Húmedo para Ámerica Latina y el Caribe). Initial contacts with CRNII projects allow applying to the Small Grant Human Dimension Program (SGHDP) of the IAI.
The viability of the network beyond IAI funding is associated with such aspects as (i) changes in the professional activities of the members that are associated often to new and bigger responsibilities, and (ii) personal relationships aspects not considered initially when the conformation of the groups in the context of the training institute of Paraguay. However, overcome these obstacles the group or part of it are planned to continue joint activities through of the Application for the IAI Human Dimension Small Grant, and the elaboration of a scientific book.
One of the main results of the project is the construction of a composite index for analysis of success of adaptation practices to climate variability and change. This index is of easy use and simple adjustment to the local realities or particularities of the studied cases. Then, the project’s implication for decision-making processes is to offer a tool to support the decisions with respect to the implementation or not of a certain adaptation strategy. Considering the scarce time of the Project any results or products have not been distributed to policy sector or end-users yet; this situation will be overcome with the book presentation.
Adaptation strategies and measures are crucial to better understand and respond to those risks. The new challenge is how to introduce them into the agenda of policymakers. A tool for analysis and decision support could be a good way.
They were carried out advances in the creation of methodologies of analysis and comparison of adaptation measures and strategies to the climatic variability and change, especially characterizing the success of practices already existent in LAC by researches with a regional “vision” of the theme. The proposed IUPA index allows users to evaluate the global performance of adaptation practices based on a series of simple criteria.
The implications for future research are (i) To address the adaptation issue in the context of other policies those affect these regions, (ii) To establish parameters for the construction of a database on measures of adaptation in LAC, and (iii) The current version of the index is considered to be to prototype, and then the preparation of an updated version of the IUPA assessment tool is necessary. Particularly, to better study the thematic of the subjectivity in the weighting systems.
Future activities as a result of the initial IAI support through the TISG
Considering the intention of the total or partial research group to continue working togheter, after the end of the IAI financial support, it can stand out some points: (i) Application for the IAI Human Dimension Small Grant program and (ii) preparation and publication of a scientific book and papers in journals.
Summary for Non-Scientific Audiences
The several adaptation measures and strategies of individuals, communities and/or economic systems highlight among the policies to be adopted before a climate changes and variability scenario. This project, a net of 8 researches of 7 countries of LAC, builds a simple and of quick application tool that allows to identify and to analyze the grade of usefulness of adaptation practices in LAC. Therefore, a multi-parameter index is constructed, the IUPA (Usefulness of Practices for Adaptation Index).