Adaptation Approaches

Adaptation is the action or process of adapting or being adapted.

Adaptation is a process to cope with the changing environment. It is the adjustment in natural or human system in the response to actual or expected climate stimuli or their effects with moderator’s harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. Adaptation is the action or process of adapting or being adapted.

Why mainstream ACC? (Adaptation due to Climate Change)

The OAS (Organization of American States) DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) and ACC Mainstreaming policy has a three-fold objective:

(1) financial gain;

(2) addressing root-causes outside traditionally identified underlying causes; and

(3) providing a common issue across the hemisphere as the basis for Inter-American Dialogue.

The increasing competition over scarce financial resources among the various agendas, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and the many development issues such as health, education, energy, etc. demands integrated approaches that are capable of addressing the root causes of disasters, while providing solutions to other pressing issues of development. In turn, this approach will allow for finding long-lasting solutions, addressing issues not traditionally identified in the DRR and ACC agenda.

Based on the definition established in Part 1 of this document, it is understood that, while natural hazards –such as tropical storms, earthquakes and Tsunami, storm surges and volcanic eruptions, among others, cross international boundaries, disasters do not; as the impacts vary based on the vulnerability of the affected system, states and communities. Yet, in an increasingly economic and physically integrated region, where economies are inter-dependent, the impacts of disasters often spill over and across international borders. Hurricane Katrina best illustrates this fact as it affected 95% of the refining capacity of the State of Louisiana, which represented a 30% reduction in the US’ refining capacity. And with only 1% of the work force, it accounted for about USD$ 150 billion of country’s external trade in oil, steel, grain, etc., impacting not only the fiscal accounts of the entire US, but also GDP growth in Latin America and the Caribbean as exports to the US were reduced.

Thus, disasters are not a problem of a few OAS member States, but a problem of all. Furthermore, these inter-dependencies demand joint actions and strategies, making DRR and ACC a central issue for Inter-American Dialogue.

Upon further examination of the root causes of disasters, we find that the attainment of human rights for all, particularly women and children, elders and people with disabilities, indigenous people and other marginalized segments of the society becomes critical to any attempt to reduce the vulnerability of these segments of the society to disasters. Strengthening democratic institutions can facilitate the active participation of civil society in the decision-making processes, as well as in good governance –timely access to information, and timely flow of information and decision-making. And hemispheric

security provides additional channels for cooperation and assistance, not only during and immediately after an emergency, but also in preparedness and prevention.

General Guidelines and approaches for Mainstreaming DRR and ACC

These guidelines apply to governmental organizations responsible for formulating and implementing public policy, as well as to non-governmental organizations, international cooperation organizations, and other organizations dealing with DRR and ACC. Given the mission, values and main pillars of the OAS, these guidelines inform particularly the formulation and execution of programs and projects of the General Secretariat of the OAS.

The following framework guides the integration of DRR and ACC in documents and proposals, programs and projects, presentations and concept papers:

  1. Language: integrate DRR and ACC considerations in program descriptions, project proposals, presentations and speeches;
  2. Institutional Mapping: identify and classify all pertinent institutions and stakeholders –including governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations, private enterprises, and all other organized groups of the civil society;
  3. Data: integrate DRR and ACC data in all research, studies and all databases, breaking down socio and economic data by age groups, gender and special groups, such as people with disabilities and indigenous people;
  4. Publications: integrate DRR and ACC considerations in all publications, and whenever applicable, include specific chapters;
  5. Knowledge Transfer and Sharing: share all relevant activities with existing networks, think tanks, and research and educational institutions, so that knowledge and practical experiences can be shared and exchanged. Integration of these practices and knowledge into the Inter-American Network for Disaster Mitigation (INDM) Good Practices on-line database will further facilitate the identification of opportunities for inter-institutional collaboration, within national territories and across international borders. The GS/OAS facilitates Virtual Forums and Expert Round Tables at the OAS Headquarters for wider distribution, sharing and exchange; and
  6. Multi-disciplinary Expert Groups: support the facilitation of multi-disciplinary groups involved in DRR and ACC. INDM supports an expert segment for Hemispheric-wide expert discussions.