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Policy Analysis

Is it Adaptation or Development? Revisiting the continuum 10 years later

In 2007, Anne Hammill and Heather McGray developed "the adaptation continuum" to tackle the question: "Is it Adaptation or Development?" Their intention was to provide a framework that proposed a range of what adaptation could look like. Read about what they found 10 years later.

By Anne Hammill, Heather McGray on March 8, 2018

"Is it adaptation or is it development?"

The question has bedeviled the adaptation policy community for well over a decade. Despite a more sophisticated understanding of adaptation, greater political recognition of its importance in responding to the climate crisis and, crucially, more resources than ever for its implementation, funders and practitioners continue to ask fundamental questions about what constitutes adaptation and how to distinguish it from other non-adaptive activities.

In this blog post, Anne Hammill and Heather McGray revisit “the adaptation continuum” they developed in 2007 to provide a framework that proposed a range of what adaptation can look like. On the left-hand side of the continuum lay “business-as-usual” development activities focused on addressing the roots of vulnerability. On the right were discernably “business unusual” activities, which are explicitly about addressing the impacts of climate change.

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