Strategic tools

Strategic tools

See also: Knowledge formation and knowledge ecosystems

Adaptation Learning Mechanism:  a collaborative knowledge-sharing platform, Global Environment facility and partners.

Adaptation to climate change is a growing priority for development agencies, governments and vulnerable communities. However, capacity and awareness are often limited, and experiences have yet to be widely shared. The ALM project will draw from experiences on the ground, featuring tools and practical guidance to meet the needs of developing countries. Seeking to provide stakeholders with a common platform for sharing and learning, the ALM will also complement the wide range of adaptation knowledge networks and initiatives already underway.

The ALM will develop tools and resources to support:

  1. Adaptation practices – what can be done to adapt to climate change on the ground?
  2. Integration of climate change risks and adaptation into development policy, planning and operations – how can policies and plans support adaptation over time?
  3. Capacity building – how can people be better assisted in becoming equipped for adapting to climate change?

Knowledge Materials, United Nations Development Program/Global Environment Fund.

Drawing on the wealth of experience embodied in its portfolio of nearly 1,000 medium to large-scale projects and the over 5,000 projects of the GEF Small Grants Programme managed by UNDP, UNDP-GEF produces a broad range of knowledge materials. The Knowledge Management in Support of the Global Environment: UNDP-GEF Initiatives (2004) document provides an overview. The aim of these materials is to extract lessons from past and on-going projects that can be applied, and to replicate successes.

Project Formulation Materials
Resource Kits
These kits are designed to help users to understand and apply standard GEF policies and procedures by providing in-depth guidance.

Programming Kits
These kits are designed to help users to understand what is eligible for funding under the GEF; they also clarify links with UNDP’s work in other relevant development practice areas.

Practitioner Guides
These guides provide detailed technical guidance on developing and implementing specific types of global environmental initiatives.

Monitoring and Evaluation Materials
M&E Lessons Learned Publications
These publications consolidate project learning by distilling and synthesizing GEF project evaluations, so as to improve future practices.

Power tools: for policy influence in natural resource management, International Institute for Environment and Development.

Many people’s lives involve the day-to-day management of natural resources. Such intimate interaction creates awareness of the technical, social and political obstacles to good management. Yet many of these people never have the opportunity to contribute to the definition of policies and institutions that govern their use of natural resources. The policy gap between the powerful and marginalised does not just involve the lack of available channels for participatory dialogue. Even when such channels exist, communication may fail due to fundamental differences in perception, expression and power between groups.

The Power Tools initiative set out to develop, test and circulate existing and new tools to bridge some of the key gaps in policy processes and content. These policy tools – tips, tactics and approaches – are designed to provide some practical help to people working to improve the policies and institutions that govern access to and use of natural resources.

A toolbox for our new climate, Climatools, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Climate change creates new conditions to which we must adapt. To assist social planners and decision makers in their adaptation measures, we are developing a set of tools. The tools assist in dealing with matters such as how to calculate the costs of adaptation measures and the resulting revenues, how we deal with conflicting objectives, and how we can highlight ethical issues. We develop the tools in preliminary form in the initial part of the programme and we then test and improve them in the second part. In the course of this process, we also gain new knowledge of the adaptation that may be necessary in Sweden a little further ahead in time.

The eight tools:

  1. Scenario-based convergence seminars that shed light on the ethical arguments for selecting action and strategies.
  2. Typical scenarios that facilitate the development of local scenarios for supporting decision.
  3. Methods for adaptability analysis based on vulnerability analysis methods.
  4. Manual for analysis of the health consequences of climate change.
  5. Guidelines for the economic analysis of climate change and adaptation to it.
  6. Checklist that can be used to detect and deal with ethical problems arising when society adopts measures for adapting to climate change.
  7. Handbook which describes methods that can be used for handling conflicts that may arise between the set objectives.
  8. Guide for dealing with gender and gender equality issues in adaptation to climate change.

Millennium Development Goals Tools and Research, Poverty Reduction, UNDP

The following tools and methodologies are available for countries to use during the preparation and implementation of MDG-based national development strategies.

The handbook prepared by the UN Millennium Project entitled “Preparing National Strategies to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals: A Handbook” provides a practical introduction to anyone interested in MDG-based national development strategies, and a resource for developing countries undertaking this work.

A library of presentations and costing tools have been developed to support the MDG needs assessment methodology. The presentations provide an overview to MDG-based planning and cover certain thematic areas. Each costing tool comes with a user guide and should be tailored to a country’s specific needs.

Presentations: Selected Thematic Needs Assessment Areas:

Environment Needs Assessment, (PowerPoint Presentation, February 2006)

Gender Needs Assessment, (PowerPoint Presentation, February 2006)

Health Needs Assessment, (PowerPoint Presentation, February 2006)

Hunger Needs Assessment, (PowerPoint Presentation, February 2006)


The Toolbook Collection, The Partnering Initiative.

  • The Partnering Toolbook offers a concise overview of the essential elements that make for effective partnering across the sectors.
  • The Brokering Guidebook illuminates the critical part played by brokers in multi-sector partnerships as both process managers and behind-the scenes leaders.
  • The Case Study Toolbook is designed to help individuals to create their own case studies more successfully. It is aimed at partnership practitioners worldwide, irrespective of their sector or their partnering role(s), whether they are working on partnerships at an operational or a strategic level and whether they are ‘internal’ or ‘external’ to the partnership being studied.
  • Talking the Walk takes a highly practical look at the realities of communicating in and about partnership.

Predict and Prevent,

This initiative will use information and technology to empower communities to predict and prevent emerging threats before they become local, regional, or global crises.’s initial focus will be on emerging infectious diseases, which are on the rise worldwide. Climate change, urbanization, and rising international travel and trade all contribute to this threat. This initiative supports two inter-related pathways from prediction to prevention. The first is vulnerability mapping and identification of “hot spots.” The second, creating systems to better detect threats to provide early warning and enable a rapid response.

Google’s Predict and Prevent, David Bray, 20 January 2008.

Enabling Strategic Intelligence on Energy and Environmental Security Impacts and Consequences, International Design Team Meeting, Glasgow, Scotland 8-9 November 2007, Executive Summary, December 10, 2007.

  • At the national level, decision-makers lack sufficient knowledge regarding how key energy and the environmental security relationships can affect regional and global stability.
  • A viable strategic intelligence capability for energy and environmental security issues does not lend itself to the traditional national security framework.
  • Today’s strategic environment features security-related challenges that are global in scale and systemic in nature, and can best be assessed with a strategic intelligence capability that is similarly global and systemic.
  • The Glasgow Group suggests building a new global commons security capability; i.e., an energy and environmental ‘knowledge ecosystem’ in which a broad diversity of entities contribute to knowledge creation, aggregation, filtering and sense-making.

Resilience Assessment, Resilience Alliance

The Resilience Alliance has developed two workbooks for assessing resilience in social-ecological systems:

1) Assessing and managing resilience in social-ecological systems: A practitioners workbook
2) Assessing resilience in social-ecological systems – A workbook for scientists

Decades of theoretical research and case study comparisons by members of the Resilience Alliance and other researchers, have contributed to a better understanding of the dynamics of complex social-ecological systems. A set of key concepts underlying resilience thinking provide a framework for assessing the resilience of natural resource systems and for considering management options to set the system on a sustainable trajectory. The practitioners workbook has been developed specifically to provide guidance to people engaged in natural resource management, through a set of activities designed to explore system parameters and management options for their own system of interest from a resilience perspective. A companion volume (Vol. 2) to the workbook for practitioners provides supplementary notes on the key concepts that are included in the assessment. The supplementary volume is still in a draft format but is being made available while work continues on its development.

Focus Topics, IDS Knowledge Services, Institute for Development Studies.

Focus Topics provides links to all the IDS Knowledge Services that cover a particular topic, plus extra resources from IDS. The focus topics are designed to help you navigate your way through the resources available. Topics include: Agriculture, Aid and Debt, Children and Young People, Climate Change, Conflict and Emergencies, Education, Environment, Finance and Economics, Food Security, Gender, Governance, Health, HIV/AIDS, ICTs, Livelihoods, Migration, Participation, Poverty, Rights, Rural Development, Tourism, Trade, Urban Development, Water and Sanitation.

Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
6 June 2008