A new report entitled Weathering the Storm: Options for Framing Adaptation and Development, released today by the World Resources Institute, reviews ways that adapting to climate change intersects with economic development.

The report analyzes 135 projects, policies, and other initiatives from the developing world that may help communities and nations adjust to the changing climate. A companion database makes the case studies publicly available online. The release is timed as part of “Development and Climate Days” here during the annual U.N. climate negotiations.

"Climate change threatens to undermine economic development, and its consequences will fall most heavily on the poorest and most vulnerable," said Jonathan Pershing, director of WRI’s Climate and Energy Program. "It is increasingly clear that we must build institutions and communities that can adapt. Any effective development and planning process will need to take climate change into account."

Weathering the Storm argues against attempting to draw a fine line between development activities and "additional" activities needed to adapt to climate change, since many adaptation activities achieve development ends, and vice versa. Instead, the authors propose a framework to assist in understanding different approaches to development and climate adaptation, and make recommendations addressing governance challenges, funding implications, and areas needing further analysis.

The cases analyzed in the report exemplify both the challenges and potential solutions. In Kenya, for example, where 10 million people have been exposed to drought, work is under way on better weather prediction, training in water and soil conservation, and better farm management techniques. In India, innovative insurance mechanisms provided by microfinance institutions help farmers understand and address climate risk. These and other actions illustrate how climate change can be “mainstreamed” into development policies.

As the world focuses on a new global agreement to address global climate change, support for such approaches will be critical to help the poorest and most vulnerable adapt.

The report and case database are available for free online.