As shown in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global climate is changing at rates unprecedented in recent human history and will continue to change. The associated climate change impacts and risks are global in their nature, geographically diverse and are increasingly being felt and recorded across a range of regions, communities and ecosystems.
Current and projected climate change will exhibit impacts on numerous systems and sectors that are essential for human livelihoods. An increasing numberof countries, regions and communities are embarking on adaptation activities. This strengthened demand for adaptation efforts necessitates access to a range of robust and transparent assessment approaches to enable decision makers to efficiently allocate scarce resources. For adaptation to be successful, it should ideally be undertaken within a comprehensive and iterative process of social, institutional and organizational learning and change. Assessing the costs and benefits of adaptation options is an important part of this process, assisting adaptation planners and practitioners to identify the most appropriate interventions for reducing vulnerability, enhancing adaptive capacity and building resilience.