Reporting on Climate Change Adaptation


UNESCO, Nairobi, Kenya

Journalists can find many stories if they track progress and report on the effectiveness of their governments’ adaptation plans. To report on adaptation in action, journalists may need to travel to rural areas to find stories about what climatic threats people face and how they are adapting to them. When information is lacking, journalists can look to other countries that face similar climate impacts to see if there are adaptation activities there that are relevant to their local audiences.

Questions to ask

• Is the adaptation project really helping people to adapt to climate change or is it just an example of ‘good development’?

• How will the project monitor and measure success? • How sustainable is the project? Where does the funding come from and what happens when it runs out?

• When adaptation projects are funded by donor agencies, how much of the money actually reaches the people who are adapting to change? How accountable is the project to the community?

• Is this a one-off project or something that can be scaled-up and replicated elsewhere? What would it take for that to happen?

• What are the alternative ways people could adapt to the same climatic threat?

• What projects are in your government’s National Adaptation Programme of Action or its National Adaptation Plan? How much progress have they made?

• What happens if adaptation fails? 

Sources of information

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II ( covers impacts, vulnerability and adaptation.

The UNFCCC website has a database of local coping strategies, which journalists can search by hazard (e.g. drought) and impact ( It also has details of the National Adaptation Programmes of Action in each of the Least Developed Countries, as well as the newer National Adaptation Plans that all countries are encouraged to develop.

The UNDP Adaptation Learning Mechanism includes country profiles for each African nation (http://www.

The Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network shares knowledge between researchers, civil society, policymakers, etc., (

The Eldis dossier on adaptation includes detailed information organized by theme and region, as well as a comprehensive listing of organizations that work on adaptation and are good sources for journalists (http://www.

The Community Based Adaptation Exchange, which is an online network with hundreds of members who are sharing information on adaptation (

The WeAdapt website ( also includes contact details of experts in this field and has a Google Earth layer with information on adaptation around the world (