Why is the tool called CRiSTAL?

CRiSTAL is the acronym for Community-Based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods.

Who may use CRiSTAL?

CRiSTAL targets project planners and managers working at the local or community level. However, a wide range of other actors may also use the tool (including policy-makers and decision makers).

Is the tool available for free?

Yes, the tool is available for free. You can download the CRiSTAL tool, the User's Manual and other documents by going to the Downloads and Links section.

Is the tool available in multiple languages?

Version 5 of the CRiSTAL tool is currently only available in English. Version 4 is currently available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. You can download them by going to the Downloads and Links section.

How can I learn how to use CRiSTAL?

You can learn how to use CRiSTAL by going to our Downloads and Guidance section and downloading the CRiSTAL User's Manual, and/or by attending one of our CRiSTAL training workshops. For information on completed training workshops, please consult our Training section. For information on upcoming training workshops, please consult our Upcoming Events section or contact the CRiSTAL team directly.

How does CRiSTAL deal with the uncertainty associated with climate change projections?

The tool uses the current climate situation as a basis for action, with a view to general longer-term trends. If the future is fuzzy, CRiSTAL allows users to focus on today's current climate hazards. If there is a general idea of what will happen in the future, CRiSTAL helps users keep these predictions in mind when making decisions for today.

How can CRiSTAL users reconcile short-term, project-related timelines with longer-term climate change-related timelines?

The tool helps users make adjustments to project activities in order to foster community-based adaptation to both current and future climate change. Community-based consultations and background research, which are part of the CRiSTAL process, allow the identification of current and projected climate hazards and linkages with local livelihoods and project activities.

How does CRiSTAL account for the heterogeneity of communities – i.e. there are many social groups within a given community that may experience climate stress differently or use different coping strategies. How will CRiSTAL account for this in its analysis?

It is possible, and often recommended, to use CRiSTAL with different groups (men, women, youth, elderly, different livelihood groups, different ethnic groups, etc.) within a community. This is especially important in areas caracterized by conflicts over natural resources due to climate variability. Users can make the analysis as general or as targeted as they want. When using CRiSTAL with different social groups, the user should be able to compare the results and:

  • Find synergies and potential conflicts
  • Propose further steps to account for the differences between social groups

How does CRiSTAL address the role of policies, institutions and power dynamics in shaping vulnerability and adaptive capacity?

Users should try to capture some of this under livelihood resources, and under opportunities and barriers. Alternatively, CRiSTAL can also be used to screen policies instead of projects.

Is a computer-based tool, such as CRiSTAL, appropriate for community-level work?

The tool is targeted at project managers, who tend to have computers. Besides, the CRiSTAL process itself is not computer-based. It is possible to only take the User's Manual out to the field.

Can CRiSTAL be used for policy analysis?

The tool is not designed for policy analysis, but it is possible to replace “project” with “policy”—i.e. understand the impacts that different strategies within a policy have on key livelihood resources. This is being done in Canada, where IISD used CRiSTAL to look at how agricultural policies affect the adaptive capacity of farmers.

Where exactly does CRiSTAL fit into the adaptation decision-making process?

CRiSTAL can be used after you collected the information needed to assess vulnerability and adaptive capacity—i.e. when you want to use this information to make actual project planning and management decisions that support adaptation.

Where can I get information about previous CRiSTAL applications?

For information on previous CRiSTAL applications, please consult our Experiences section.

Where can I share my comments, suggestions and experience with CRiSTAL?

To share your comments, suggestions and experience with CRiSTAL, please complete our Reporting Template (DOC - 74 kb).

Who can I contact to get additional information?

Please consult our Contact Us section.