2013 ADAPTool Application Strengthening Adaptive Capacity in Four Canadian Provinces: ADAPTool analysis of selected sectoral policies. A synthesis report

By Livia Bizikova, Stephen Tyler, Dimple Roy, Darren Swanson, Stephen Tyler on March 26, 2014

The Adaptive Design and Policy Assessment Tool (ADAPTool) is an Excel-based online tool developed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and partners as a structured guide through an assessment process that compares existing policies and programs to the characteristics of adaptive policies.

The ADAPTool assesses policies or programs in relation to a defined stressor or external change. It produces two kinds of assessments: 1) it gauges the ability of existing policies or programs to support adaptation measures undertaken in response to the specified stressor by the policy target groups; 2) it assesses the general adaptability of the policies or programs themselves, which is to say, whether they are likely to respond well under the influence of the defined changes as well as under unforeseeable changes in the future? The ADAPtool builds on IISD-led research on Creating Adaptive Policies.

In 2013, IISD partnered with four Canadian provinces—British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia—to apply and test the ADAPTool across a range of policies and contexts. The objective of the project was to test the ADAPTool in a broader range of contexts in order to refine and enhance the tool for wider application. Within each of the provincial ADAPTool pilots, or cases, provincial agencies sought to better understand the potential for the selected policies and programs to respond to changing climate conditions while still delivering their intended policy goals. In addition, the analysis was to help "mainstream" awareness and consideration of climate adaptation in policy processes.

The project resulted in a number of reports for diverse audiences. In each of the provinces, at least one analytical report was produced describing the results and the implications for policy adaptability. A list and links to most of these reports is available here. This synthesis report summarizes those results and presents aggregated analytical scoring results across all 27 of the policies assessed in four different provinces and four different sectors. The focus of this report is on the conclusions and lessons that can be drawn about how the tool worked in these applications, what it tells us about policy adaptability in these cases and what lessons we can draw from these diverse pilot cases using the ADAPTool.

In this assessment, 27 policies were analyzed, including programs, regulations and seven goals from a provincial Water Security Plan. The policies covered diverse sectors, including agriculture, forestry, water, and parks and protected areas management. The analysis studied regulations within a limited number of policies focused on economic instruments, institutional measures, and measure-focused information dissemination and expert advice. This report provides qualitative and quantitative synthesis of the analyses across these ADAPTool applications. It also highlights the value of the process of this sort of analysis that incorporates the perspectives of different provincial stakeholders. Specific insights on the value and shortfalls of the use of the ADAPTool are provided in this report.

Report details

Climate Change Adaptation
Focus area
Act Together
IISD, 2014