What is ECA?

Already today, extreme weather events present a significant risk to ecosystems, societies and their economies. Climate variability and change have the potential to aggravate these risks, becoming one of the most serious threats to the development prospects in many countries around the globe. The approach taken under the “Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA)” framework provides decision makers with information about potential climate-related damage to their environment, economies and societies. It can foster comprehensive adaptation strategies by analysing and proposing a variety of specific adaptation measures in a systematic way. Well targeted, early investments to improve climate resilience are likely to be less cost intensive and more effective than complex post-disaster relief efforts, both locally and on an aggregated global scale.

ECA addresses the following key questions to develop an effective climate adaptation strategy:
What is the potential climate-related damage over the coming decades?
How much of that damage can be averted, using what type of adaptation measures?
What investments will be required to fund those measures – and will the benefits of these investments outweigh the costs?
What does ECA provide?

Climate change creates cascading risks in physical systems, ecosystems, the economy and society. Assessing climate risks across domains, and in a manner meaningful to decision makers, is therefore a major challenge. Promoting resilience through the assessment of weather and climate risks and the integration of appropriate climate change adaptation (CCA) measures are essential steps, and supports governments, businesses and individuals with the following:


Conduct an identification of climate risk in a defined region (e.g. urban area), identify areas and people at risk, spanning all significant climate hazards and the full range of possible impacts for different sectors


Calculate the expected damage across multiple climate and economic scenarios


Determine strategies, including a portfolio of specific measures with detailed cost-benefit assessment


Ensure local involvement in order to create a long-term and transparent adaptation strategy

Why should I use ECA?
  • Long-term investment planning
    ECA allows extension of investment portfolios, e.g. in a given country or sector. Depending on the volume of the investment, a detailed study for CCA measures might be meaningful.
  • NAPs development
    Numerous governments are looking into developing their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). ECA supports countries in formulating detailed NAPs and assists in decision-making processes for further implementation. The level of detail depends on the volume of the project and the prospect of an investment in CCA measures.
  • Risk transfer
    In some cases, governments or businesses might be interested in completing already existing CCA measures and looking into potential for risk transfer for low-frequency hazards.
  • Strategic planning
    ECA provides a prospective assessment of measures that are best adapted to certain conditions in a well-determined area. The level of detail can be high locally or moderate when going beyond the country level.
  • Pre-feasibility
    ECA provides a prospective CCA assessment in order to identify efficient measures and areas most at risk. This approach is embedded in an iterative assessment prospect if deemed meaningful.
ECA Step by Step

The ECA methodology is set out to develop a practical framework allowing national and local decision makers to carry out a comprehensive assessment of climate risks facing their economies while minimizing the cost of adaptation through cost efficient strategies. Special emphasis is placed on a robust and integrated approach based on sound scientific facts. The ECA framework comprises 8 phases to facilitate a practical implementation of the methodology.

Defining Research Area

The main output of this phase will be a specifically defined research area, with its associated risks and assets. It shows how to assess the initial situation of your analysis, define – according to the objectives – what risks should be considered and what assets are relevant (people, areas, type of houses, commercial activity, etc.). In addition, it offers guidance in integrating stakeholders and decision makers at the earliest stage of the process.

Data Acquisition & Management

This phase outlines the essential steps for identifying what data are needed for your CCA assessment. It shows how to assess what data are available and how to identify the right institutions in a timely manner. It helps define, based on the outcome of Phase 1, what data are of first order and what information remains optional. In addition, it offers guidance in data collection, database construction and storage.

Defining Scenarios

This phase outlines the essential steps for defining your climate and socio-economic scenarios. It shows how to assess the current situation and decide what scenarios are relevant for your objectives. It assists you in defining a time horizon relevant for the CCA measures, hazards and financial/economic scenarios you have considered in Phase 1. In addition, it provides guidance in obtaining and developing scenario relevant information for hazards, assets and economic scenarios.

Modelling Hazards

This phase outlines the essential steps for modelling hazards selected in Phase 1. It will assist you in using the data gathered in Phase 2 and include scenarios developed in Phase 3. In addition, it will provide you with guidance on how to create hazard impact maps using CLIMADA for selected hazards.

Valuating Assets

This phase outlines the essential steps towards a sound valuation of the asset categories selected in Phase 1. It will provide you with guidance on how to best value different categories of assets and how to insert them into CLIMADA. In addition, it will provide you with tips on how to value assets without monetary values or assets with low monetary values. Particular emphasis will be placed on a pro-poor approach dedicated to developing and emerging countries/economies.

Creating Damage Functions & Risk Analysis

This phase outlines the essential steps for creating damage functions for the different classes of assets and for the different types of hazards. It will give you information and guidance in order to organize an expert workshop to gather information on past disasters in your region/country. In addition it provides guidance on how to develop damage functions from historical observations and insert them into CLIMADA. At the end of this phase, you will have performed your risk analysis.

Identifying & Simulating CCA measures

This phase outlines the essential steps for selecting and simulating your CCA measures. It will assist you in creating a long list of CCA measures and provide information on how to create a short list of CCA measures using a multi-criteria selection. It will assist you in parameterising your short list of CCA measures into CLIMADA and calibrating them in order to provide sound results.

Illustrating Results

This phase will show you how to summarise and present the findings of your analysis. For this task, it is important to keep in mind whom these results are targeted at. According to your objectives, what was the target audience, who are the stakeholders and the beneficiaries of your CCA assessment? Which outcomes are important for subsequent tasks (for instance adaptation planning or strategy development)? What is the best format to convey your results?