This book has been compiled by a group of practitioners from South Africa, Ethiopia and Germany, and draws on our collective experiences in supporting local communities in adapting to increasing climatic variability and change. The authors have written this book to meet the widely expressed need amongst practitioners for a comprehensive tool that will support practical adaptation interventions. If you are engaged in supporting members of communities affected by rapid environmental or other forms of disruptive change, this book will provide you with useful insights and practical approaches and tools that can be used to enable them to adapt more effectively.
The approach taken in this book is rooted in Participatory Action Research (PAR), which recognises that the people who are affected (in this instance) by climate variability and change are not only primarily responsible for determining and implementing responses within their own enterprises and communities, but also have a right to do so. If they are enabled to do so with the benefit of suitable technologies, accurate information, state of the art predictions and supportive institutions, they are far more likely to do so in ways that are effective and appropriate. PAR enables people to engage in iterative processes of reflection, learning, planning and action that broaden and deepen their abilities to respond to change, and enable them to participate more completely in managing their own affairs now and in the future. As such, this approach to adaptation to climate change is not dependent upon external risk assessments, but rather seeks to enable people to assess and respond to the risks that they themselves perceive. In this context communication of information relating to changing climatic patterns and their likely impacts is a crucial input into local level adaptation processes. The book is organised into discrete sections to make it easy to access and use the information and tools that will be best suited to your needs and requirements at different stages of conceptualising, planning and implementing adaption processes and interventions.