The Knowledge to Act


Innovative tools help communities, development practitioners and government officials build food systems resilient to climate change

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WINNIPEG—April 15, 2014—As the potentially disastrous effects of climate change become more apparent, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has developed two innovative tools to help communities and decision-makers around the world measure and safeguard the resilience  of their food systems in the face of such change and uncertainty.

CRiSTAL Food Security (Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods) is a decision-support tool for local governments, development practitioners, and communities. It is designed to help users understand the key elements of their food system; assess how sensitive these elements are to climate variability and change; identify options for improving the resilience of the food system; and design indicators to help monitor the food system’s climate resilience over time. The tool itself is Excel-based, allowing users to organise and record information in a systematic way and automatically generate a series of summary reports. CRiSTAL Food Security, and its accompanying User’s Manual, is available in English and Spanish.

The Food Security Indicator & Policy Analysis Tool (FIPAT) targets national and sub-national government decision-makers who want to build a policy environment that supports climate resilient food systems. It provides a logical sequence of analytical steps that help these users identify resilience actions to strengthen vulnerable food system elements and select indicators to monitor changes in food system resilience over time. The tool also helps to assess the extent to which public policies support the implementation of the necessary resilience actions; the capacity of actors to reduce risk and promote resilience; and the creation and maintenance of food system resilience. FIPAT, and its Guidebook, is also available in English and Spanish.

Both CRiSTAL Food Security and FIPAT tools were developed and pilot-tested by IISD and its partners through the Climate Resilience and Food Security in Central America (CREFSCA) project, which aimed to improve climate resilience and food security at different scales in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

CRiSTAL Food Security was developed from IISD’s original CRiSTAL project-planning tool that helps users design activities and projects that support climate adaptation (i.e., adaptation to climate variability and change) at the community level. CRiSTAL has seen great success: it is used in more than 50 countries, across Africa, Latin America and Asia.

The policy analysis portion of FIPAT was adapted from IISD’s original ADAPTool. The ADAPTool was developed to assess the adaptability of policies or programs in relation to any defined stressor or external change, such as climate.

For more information please contact Sumeep Bath, media and communications officer, at or +1 (204) 958 7740.


About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank that delivers the knowledge to act. Our mission is to promote human development and environmental sustainability. Our big-picture view allows us to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today – ecological destruction, social exclusion, unfair laws and economic and social rules, a changing climate. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, Toronto and New York, our work impacts lives in nearly 100 countries.

For more information, please contact: Sumeep Bath at or +1 (204) 958 7700 ext. 740