Measuring Progress on Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons from the Community Well-Being Analogue

Bryce Kennedy Palmer Gunson


While research on assessing climate change adaptation (CCA) activities is in the nascent stage of development, measuring similar endeavors within the community well-being (CWB) field is well established across Canada and internationally through the use of indicators and associated measures. CCA activities are an important part of building resilience to climate-induced natural disasters, and reducing secondary hazards arising from damage to critical infrastructure and other essential facilities. This study evaluated the CWB analogue to provide lessons for the measurement of progress and adaptation to climate change at the municipal level. Since the impacts of climate change are experienced at the local scale and effective CCA is thought to require local scale engagement and targeted action, municipal scale measurement is key to understanding CCA progress.

Research involved an extensive review of CWB models and key informant interviews conducted with key Canadian municipal and international authorities who are leaders in spearheading CWB initiatives. In the paper we outline the major CWB models, our findings from the CWB analogue and the lessons learned for CCA measurement. In particular, we suggest that early engagement and participative processes, flexible and adaptable measurement tools, careful consideration of data requirements, ‘mainstreaming’ CCA measurement into ongoing activities and the “de-siloing” of expertise will be important for the success of CCA measurement activities at the municipal scale.


Community well-being, climate change adaptation, climate change indicators, municipal adaptation.

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