The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has presented strong evidence that human-induced climate change is occurring and that all countries of the world will be affected and need to adapt to impacts. The IPCC points out that many developing countries are particularly vulnerable because of their relatively low adaptive capacity. Therefore it is seen as a development priority to help these countries enhance their adaptive capacity to climate change.The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Stratus Consulting organized a workshop in the fall of 2001 to develop an agenda for research on how best to enhance the capacity of developing countries to adapt to climate change. This research agenda is relevant for governments and institutions that wish to support developing countries in adapting to climate change. The workshop brought together experts from developing and industrialized countries, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral and bilateral donor organizations to discuss a number of important topics related to adaptation, adaptive capacity and sustainable development. A dozen papers were commissioned to cover these topics, both from a theoretical perspective and in the form of national case studies. The papers form the basis for this important book, which presents the latest interdisciplinary knowledge about the nature and components of adaptive capacity and how it may be strengthened.
From Adaptation to Adaptive Capacity and Vulnerability Reduction (B Smit & O Pilifosova); Social Aspects of Adaptive Capacity (W N Adger); Adaptive Capacity: What Does It Mean in the Context of Natural Hazards? (J Handmer); Lessons from Famine Early Warning and Food Security for Understanding Adaptation to Climate Change: Toward a Vulnerability/Adaptation Science? (T E Downing); Assessing Vulnerability in the Context of Changing Socioeconomic Conditions: A Study of Egypt (G Yohe et al.); Do We Have the Adaptive Capacity to Develop and Use the Adaptive Capacity to Adapt? (I Burton); and other papers.