Prioritisation of adaptation in the development context: Zanzibar

Context

This document presents insights from a case study on different options to adapt seaweed farming in the Zanzibar islands to the impact of a changing climate. Seaweed is a main export product of the Zanzibar economy, and seaweed farming a major source of employment in rural coastal communities, particularly for women. In fact, seaweed farming represents one of the only income sources for women in coastal villages. A recent government census estimates over 20,000 farmers currently active in Zanzibar.

Analysing trade-offs between development and adaptation

Context

Decisions about adaptation strategies necessarily involve assumptions about the future – both assumptions about factors that cannot be influenced by decisions makers (such as future climate change impacts), and factors that are under control of decision makers (such as spatial planning, which influences the value at risk from climate change). These assumptions are necessarily fraught with uncertainty, which makes it necessary to incorporate uncertainties into the decision making process in a transparent way.

Treatment of future learning: Acceptable Risks Analysis

Context

Adaptation must be dynamic because preferences may vary with time and new or improved climate information and technologies may become available. Taking into account flexibility (e.g. of infrastructure design) and future learning (e.g. improved knowledge) into adaptation strategies can be very valuable to support decision-making under uncertainty (Chambwera et al., 2014).

Integrating distributional objectives in the cost:benefit analysis of adaptation options

Context

In adopting measures to adapt to climate change, adaptation options need to be based on robust assessment approaches which allow for the allocation of scarce resources. An important part of this process involves determining the costs and benefits of adaptation options in order to reduce vulnerability, enhance adaptive capacity and build resilience.

Applying alternative discounting rules: The equivalency principle

Context

Discounting is especially relevant in the context of climate change as it requires addressing long term and intertemporal decision-making. From an economic perspective, intertemporal choices have been assessed during the last 80 years using the discounted utility model, formulated by Samuelson (1937). The discounted utility model is based on the assumption that people make decisions by assessing its (positive or negative) consequences in a similar way to how the market evaluates gains and losses.

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