CRiSTAL is a project planning tool that helps users design activities that support climate adaptation (i.e., adaptation to climate variability and change) at the community level. CRiSTAL stands for “Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods.”
“Community-based” – CRiSTAL focuses on projects at the local community level.
“Risk Screening” – CRiSTAL helps users to identify and prioritize climate risks that their projects might address.
“Adaptation and Livelihoods” – CRiSTAL helps users to identify livelihood resources most important to climate adaptation (i.e., adaptation to climate variability and change) and uses these as a basis for designing adaptation strategies.
While climate variability and change may not always be the most important stresses affecting a specific community, they should always be considered when designing and implementing a development project, particularly in communities characterized by climate-sensitive and/or natural resource-dependent livelihoods.
Indeed, any activity that does not account for present and future potential climate risks may inadvertently increase a community’s exposure and vulnerability. For example, a food security project may encourage dependence on a particular agricultural technology or crop species that may be negatively affected by climate change, thereby increasing local vulnerability in the longer term.
CRiSTAL seeks to systematically assess the impacts of a project on some of the local determinants of vulnerability and exposure, so that project planners and managers can design activities that foster climate adaptation.