Metrics and Indicators to Assess Adaptation

8th March 2022
Author: Roz Price

The field of climate change adaptation metrics is complex and fast-changing. Given the highly contextual nature of adaptation and the array of applied definitions of adaptation and “success”, there is no single global set of adaptation metrics and indicators or definition of adaptation success. There is a burgeoning literature on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), how to measure it and adaptation metrics. However, the landscape is scattered and the subject is very complex. Climate impacts and the effects of adaptation measures themselves spill across national borders, although adaptation is still treated as a largely domestic issue despite the global rhetoric of the GGA. This makes an aggregate global goal extremely technically challenging and tracing the plethora of existing indicators and metrics difficult. Furthermore, there is relatively few specific literature directly on the topic of global measurement of adaptation. This rapid review provides information on some of the metrics and measurement approaches in use across national and sub-national government levels. It gives a brief discussion of the issues around measuring the GGA, flags some key resources in this area and also touches on some initiatives and guidance aimed at helping users to select metrics. This is not a systematic review and given the time limitations and the number of adaptation metrics approaches in use, it is only able to provide a small snapshot of current research.

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Suggested Citation

Price, R.A. (2022). Metrics and indicators to assess adaptation. K4D Helpdesk Report 1101. Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2022.050


8th March 2022


Continent: Global