ICTs and Climate Change Adaptation: Enabling Innovative Strategies

Author and Institution: 
Angelica V. Ospina, University of Manchester
Richard Heeks, University of Manchester

As  the  impacts  of  climate  change intensify,  developing  countries  must  implement  innovative strategies  to  adapt  to  changing  climatic  conditions  and  uncertainty.  Information  and communication  technologies  (ICTs)  can  play  a  key  role  in  strengthening  adaptive  capacity. This  Brief  identifies  ICTs'  contribution  to  national  adaptation  strategies  (e.g.  NAPAs)  and  to specific sectoral adaptations in developing countries.

It argues that ICTs provide generic support to the process of information­gathering, decision­ making, implementation and evaluation for national­level adaptation. Specific ICT applications enable  delivery  of  particular  adaptational  actions  for  the  vulnerabilities  that  climate  change effects including poverty, water, agriculture  and food security, human health, terrestrial  and marine ecosystems, and disaster management among others.

The  Brief  concludes  by identifying guiding principles  for use of  ICTs  in  adaptation  processes, suggesting  that  their  role  goes  well  beyond  the  use  of  climate­ specific  applications.  The informational, productive  and transformational  potential  of  ICT tools must  be harnessed and designed with  a holistic,  integrated view  of  adaptation;  one that  looks  at  the  complete 'info­ system'  of  mobile  phones,  Internet  applications,  telecentres  and  mass  media  to  foster
adaptation at the national, sectoral and community levels.