Climate Adaptation Competency Framework

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Review the Framework
Competency Domains
 
Climate change is a catalyst for:
 

1) the growth of green jobs;
2) new workforce regulations;
3) education and training for green jobs.

The Climate Adaptation Competency Framework, developed by Adaptation Learning Network, provides: 

• a defined set of competencies to ensure that individuals and teams have expertise and abilities to perform climate adaptation job functions;

• a practical approach to identify skills gaps and monitor performance in organizations offering climate adaptation services;  

• terminology for those hiring and those applying for jobs to communicate the skills, behaviours and attitudes for climate adaptation work;

• a foundation for designing courses with relevant learning outcomes that align with climate adaptation competencies.

Review the Framework

Review the Climate Adaptation Competency Framework and provide feedback by April 30, 2021, using the feedback form

Video: Climate Workforce Readiness

Competency Domains

Competency Domains Diagram

Draws on climate science and Indigenous knowledge to analyse and interpret the impact of climate change on the built and natural environment, and on the economic, political, cultural, and social systems.

  • Applies scientific principles and core concepts of climate change science and climate resilience, distinguishing the relationships between weather and climate, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and climate change and climate impacts.
  • Identifies the complex interactions between climate and other systems (environmental, health, social, economic, and political) and integrates facts into climate systems analysis.
  • Accesses and uses climate information provided through regional climate service centres (e.g.,Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, Ouranos, etc.) and is able to interpret global and local climate change trends, impacts, challenges and concerns, and use this information to inform policies and practices.
  • Maintains a holistic (big picture) perspective that incorporates an understanding of the interdependent and interactive relationships between systems and within systems.
  • Describes and discerns appropriate uses for climate models, as well as the limitations.

Considers the rights and knowledge of Indigenous peoples, taking into account their unique cultural experiences and perspectives on the environment, climate change and adaptation, governance and ways of being.
  • Demonstrates understanding and respect for Indigenous rights and knowledge systems, including the value of collective processes and protocols, and their relationships to and reliance on the natural environment.
  • Demonstrates openness and appreciation for local and regional Indigenous history, culture, traditional knowledge and worldviews, and Indigenous scientific methodologies.
  • Adopts a relational approach to engaging and working with Indigenous peoples and communities.
  • Considers and takes into account evidence from both Indigenous and Western science-based knowledge systems, applying a holistic and systems-based perspective in decisions and practices.
  • Critically explores and integrates insights shared by local and Indigenous knowledge and rights holders to apply a holistic, relational lens to adaptation planning and actions.

Applies a theoretical and practical grounding in the core concepts of climate adaptation, drawing from both Indigenous and Western science approaches to analyse challenges and facilitate incremental and transformative measures.
  • Approaches climate adaptation from a multidisciplinary and holistic perspective, drawing from both Indigenous and Western science perspectives,concepts, and theories to leverage adaptation’s trans-disciplinary nature.
  • Defines and identifies different use cases, timeframes, and typologies of climate adaptationactions (e.g., transformative, incremental, proactive,reactive).
  • Describes and translates climate scenarios, current climate trends, and regional and global impacts to identify adaptation opportunities and informadaptation action.
  • Identifies and analyses social, political, and cultural impacts and consequences of climate change, with a consideration of populations who experience disproportionate climate impacts.
  • Applies systems thinking to identify connections between climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and vulnerability as the basis for building resilience on social, physical, and economic levels.
  • Describes and distinguishes the constitutive and behavioural properties of complex adaptive systems.

Critically reviews and interprets peer-reviewed and grey literature (e.g., government reports) to build linkages between scholarship and practice, contributes to climate adaptation research, and leverages these learnings in practice.
  • Assesses the importance, relevance and validity of climate change and climate adaptation research.
  • Draws on and applies evidence and lessons learned from Indigenous and Western sciences and knowledge systems, including research generated in diverse disciplines in the natural,social
  • sciences (e.g., climate science, environmental science, disaster management, health, economics,psychology, and business administration).

  • Communicates or translates complex or detailed climate and climate adaptation science and information for diverse science and non-science audiences.
  • Leads, contributes to, and/or participates in the generation of new knowledge and practices through applied research.
  • Understands and applies standard research protocols to ensure qualitative and quantitative rigour, reliability, validity, and ethical standards guide that research.

Models high standards of integrity, social responsibility, and ethical conduct through commitment to professional expertise, ethics, and adaptation standards.

  • Acts as a visible role model, embodying in actions and thinking the values and standards consistent with professional practice guidelines and standards.
  • Practices a life-long learning orientation, continuously upgrading knowledge and expertise in ways that respond to evolving climate and climate adaptation knowledge and practice standards.
  • Demonstrates a recognition of professional obligations to clients and society to more generally integrate climate change and climate adaptation considerations in all plans, projects, and actions.
  • Embodies a scientific mindset (i.e., curiosity, openmindedness, skepticism, and humility).
  • Identifies and is accountable for own actions, behaviour, and decisions in accordance with climate-informed ethical requirements.
  • Integrates and communicates climate adaptation concerns and opportunities in ways that support disciplinary bridging and cooperation.

Sets or supports strategies that drive progress and culture change towards climate adaptation objectives, creating an environment that fosters interaction, collaboration, and cooperation.
  • Leads from a foundation of emotional and relational intelligence, fosters a culture of honesty and transparency, and promotes ongoing learning (self and others).
  • Adapts personal leadership style to respond to changing contexts, cultures, circumstances, and challenges.
  • Fosters collaboration to forge and communicate a shared vision for and understanding of climate adaptation actions and initiatives.
  • Applies leadership processes and strategies that motivate, mobilize and empower existing and potential partners and teams to plan, design and implement climate adaptation measures.
  • Addresses conflicts of personality, interests, and power imbalances, and acts to support equality, fairness, equity, and inclusion.
  • Inspires engagement and optimism in ways that facilitate movement to action and the implementation of adaptation policies and practices.

Uses an organized, systematic application of the knowledge, tools, and resources of change management to support envisioning and implementing the changes necessary for climate action.
  • Applies a fundamental understanding of change management principles and models, and the drivers of and barriers to change in complex adaptive systems.
  • Demonstrates strategic readiness to initiate, advance and resource initial and iterative adaptive changes, anticipating and resolving barriers, and assessing short – and long-term effects of change across multiple systems.
  • Identifies and supports decision-makers and staff/ roles to enable the design and implementation of climate adaptation strategies, initiatives, decisions.
  • Acts as a catalyst for change by supporting cultural shifts and communicating alternative futures in a way that motivates, supports, and enables growth at multiple scales (individual, organizational, collective).
  • Anticipates and responds to the personal, social, organizational, and contextual factors that could undermine or derail change.

Applies evidence-based decision processes and synthesizes relevant data and domain knowledge to generate defensible decisions that support sustainable climate adaptation strategies/initiatives.
  • Analyses social, economic, cultural, and historical contexts to identify decision-making levers and processes that respond to the specific cultural and place-based context.
  • Identifies and questions assumptions and biases on the grounds of transparency, equity, and justice.
  • Applies a systematic, iterative approach to inform decisions, monitor, evaluate and learn from their consequences, and apply that learning in order to maximize the potential for co-benefits.
  • Engages in dialogue with rights-holders and stakeholders (individuals, communities, organizations and specialists) to inform and ensure decisions undertaken reflect agreed upon values, practices, and policies.
  • Draws on decision support processes and scenarios that are grounded in the needs of those affected by the decision, emphasize process over product, and that are responsive to the culture, capacities and capabilities of those directly and indirectly involved.
  • Generates decisions that address different planning horizons (short-, long-term), based on the current state of knowledge about climate risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities.

Shares information, ideas, and facts in ways that connect, inform, and shape climate adaptation understanding and spark collective climate action.
  • Applies effective oral, written, and digital communication strategies and principles using a range of communication styles, tools and media channels.
  • Works to develop authentic connections with diverse audiences, clarifying views and values, demonstrating interest in bridging differences, and enhancing individual and collective adaptive capacity and action.
  • Facilitates constructive and culturally appropriate dialogues with diverse audiences, using storytelling and other communication strategies to convey and motivate a response to the urgency of climate action.
  • Determines the strategic communication needs of diverse communities, partners, and professional groups to influence individual and collective climate action.
  • Links ideas, recommendations, and critical insights to specific priorities and strategies to support understanding and engagement.

Works respectfully with diverse cultural worldviews and perspectives, navigating historical and political dimensions of lived experience with sensitivity to create an environment of inclusion and collaboration.
  • Demonstrates openness, curiosity and appreciation for others and takes responsibility for own life-long learning even when that learning is uncomfortable.
  • Practices self-reflexivity about personal and/ or professional cultural biases, assumptions, and worldviews and the ways in which those shape understanding and orientation to climate change and climate adaptation measures.
  • Works respectfully, knowledgeably and effectively with diverse and culturally distinct individuals or groups in ways that demonstrate an understanding and respect for differences related to age, genders, socio-economic status, culture and history.
  • Puts into practice cultural style-shifting, modifying messages and approaches to create a sense of safety for all, minimizing power imbalances, and applying cultural understanding in climate adaptation measures.
  • Incorporates into practice, an understanding of how social and historical contexts, and structural and interpersonal power imbalances shape experience, and contribute to race, class, and gender-based discrimination or disadvantage.

Plans and manages group dynamics to optimize all members’ contributions in participatory, transparent, and accountable ways.
  • Employs a range of facilitation techniques and strategies appropriate to the stage of the process.
  • Champions and facilitates climate adaptation dialogues that maximize the benefits of common/ shared purpose, social (shared) learning, and collaborative decision making.
  • Applies an understanding of group dynamics, cultural norms, and collaborative decision making to empower rights-holders and stakeholders, including those impacted by climate impacts and adaptation decisions.
  • Employs processes designed to build consensus, improve social justice, and increase the legitimacy, fairness and uptake of decisions and actions.
  • Holds space for and helps manage contradictory opinions, difficult conversations and conflict.

Applies intentional engagement strategies with diverse interest groups, professions, and cultural groups, providing opportunities for full participation and the meaningful integration of their input into climate adaptation decisions and actions
  • Employs a consultative approach to design engagement strategies that reflect the varied orientations, values, needs, and mandate of relevant rights-holders and stakeholders.
  • Builds trust and rapport with diverse constituents (people, organizations, communities) by employing a multi-dimensional and intersectional understanding of their perspectives, needs, rights, capacities and concerns.
  • Elicits information in ways that clarify assumptions, concerns, and expectations. Explores views through questions and active listening, creating a greater understanding and commitment to change.
  • Engages partners in the design and implementation of decisions, encouraging and supporting the participation of groups typically less engaged and/ or empowered in decision making and consultation processes.
  • Fosters a sense of commitment and ownership that translates into action.

Engages cross-sector partners to co-develop shared vision and facilitate cooperation in planning and implementing climate adaptation actions.
  • Applies an understanding of climate adaptation’s interdisciplinary nature to develop alignment within partner networks and teams.
  • Leverages the diversity of values, motives, and attitudes and their implications for a group’s ability to tackle climate change.
  • Employs strategies to create safe, creative spaces that encourage observation, ideation, reflection, building and rebuilding of prototypes throughout the design-thinking process.
  • Creates and drives cross-functional interaction opportunities to build alliances that capitalize on collective resources and strengthen the shared commitment to objectives.
  • Enables and empowers groups to make joint decisions and manage conflict to achieve common goals and objectives.

Applies evidence-informed frameworks to identify, quantify and describe conditions, exposures, and impacts of hazards that influence a community’s susceptibility.
  • Applies systematic and accepted methods of vulnerability and impact analysis that support a comprehensive, participatory and iterative process of assessment of current and future vulnerability.
  • Identifies and engages relevant partners from different sectors, contexts, and communities to assess vulnerabilities.
  • Executes scenario planning and analysis of baseline conditions to provide a comprehensive picture of local, regional, and societal vulnerabilities to the direct or indirect climate-related hazards and impacts.
  • Identifies and interprets current patterns and progressions of the physical, social, economic, and environmental factors, root causes, ongoing pressures, and unsafe conditions that contribute to the vulnerabilities and resilience of affected communities and subpopulations.
  • Communicates the results of vulnerability and impact assessment to key audiences in ways that recognize what kinds of information they need and in what formats/media, using language that conveys uncertainty and levels of results.

Applies an iterative and climate-informed approach to risk management, integrating and responding to climate risks, impacts, vulnerabilities and risk-mitigation considerations.
  • Implements integrated risk assessments that identify, differentiate, and respond to simple, cumulative, systemic (cross-cutting, cross border, complex) and cascading risks and impacts.
  • Develops and uses relevant scenarios (problembased, solution-based, reflexive-iterative) to explore the problem and generate alternative solutions.
  • Applies and can explain a range of climate risk assessment processes, tools, techniques, strategies tailored to the identified risks and the corporate, institutional, and/or regional context.
  • Uses and/or develops scenarios to support assessment, inform decisions under uncertainty, and integrate knowledge from multiple sources and domains.
  • Interprets and communicates the short-, mid-, and long-term risk implications of downscaled data, climate scenarios and climate models.
  • Employs a system and social justice perspective when assessing cause and effect of climate change risk, engaging relevant partners from different sectors, contexts, and communities.
  • Implements integrated risk assessments that support prioritization and management of risks by relevant partners from different sectors and communities.

Analyses emerging patterns and short – and long-term adaptation options to identify and evaluate future risks and opportunities.
  • Applies systems thinking that leverages the synergies between disaster risk reduction, climate mitigation and climate adaptation and incorporates feedback loops and tipping points.
  • Identifies and differentiates patterns, events, feedback loops, and interconnections between various systems across multiple scales (individual, community, regional, social) and time.
  • Analyses patterns of risk and climate change to generate, evaluate and predict potential futures. Focuses on options best suited to identified vision and strategies.
  • Uses scenarios to describe possible futures and seed change, working with others to develop new perceptions and mental models.
  • Leverages and synthesizes information from existing data models and develops knowledge systems to address evolving corporate, institutional and/or regional information needs.

Evaluates and guides decision-makers on the financial and economic value, efficiency and feasibility of adaptation projects and strategies.
  • Applies foundational financial and economic concepts and metrics to the analysis of climate change adaptation initiatives, utilizing internationally accepted climate-related financial standards and principles as required (e.g., Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures).
  • Conducts financial and/or economic analysis of a range of adaptation measures, initiatives, and policy decisions, balancing environmental, social, economic, and cultural factors, and addressing short – to long-term planning horizons.
  • Applies multi-criteria and/or cost-benefit analysis of options that emphasize proactive rather than reactive adaptation and amplify where possible, cobenefits (adaptation and emissions reduction).
  • Identifies and communicates the subtleties and broader implications (local and global) when evaluating alternatives and making recommendations, including non-financial factors.
  • Promotes adaptation measures by identifying and leveraging national, regional, and local funding opportunities. Applies transparent mechanisms to prioritize climate adaptation investments.

Adopts a flexible, adaptable approach to navigating personal and professional challenges and opportunities to maintain psychological wellness and balance within the space of uncertainty and change.
  • Acknowledges the impact on individual and collective resilience of uncertainty, stress, grief, and other emotions in response to the disaster impact of climate-related events, loss of biodiversity and impoverished lives of future generations in the context of climate change.
  • Strives to maintain self, staff, and groups’ well-being by focusing on adaptability, openness to change, and maintaining a support network in times of uncertainty, stress, and disruption of systems and environment.
  • Recognizes times of challenge for self or team and calls upon personal and supportive resources to mitigate mental and physical health impacts.
  • Intentionally practices resilient coping strategies by being proactive and working on adaptive responses and skills.
  • Integrates creative and mindful approaches to remain positive while keeping a realistic assessment of challenges, stress, and loss.

Generates adaptation strategies, initiatives, and plans that maximize long-term social and ecological resilience, biodiversity, and financial viability.
  • Applies nationally and internationally recognized climate adaptation planning processes (e.g., Building Adaptative and Resilient Communities, ICLEI Canada), standards (e.g., ISO 14090 – Adaptation to Climate Change; Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures).
  • Builds from and leverages existing sustainability, climate adaptation, energy and emissions reduction, and biodiversity research, plans and goals.
  • Translates strategic goals and visions into outcomebased plans and strategies.
  • Employs a risk reduction and climate resilience lens to identify opportunities for and barriers to incremental and transformative adaptation measures.
  • Integrates an interdisciplinary, cross-sector orientation to adaptation that further acknowledges the potential need for cross-boundary (geographic, political, disciplinary) strategies, initiatives, and solutions.
  • Champions the value and significance of ecosystem-based, sustainable adaptation measures and strategies that address multiple planning horizons and co-benefits.

Applies an iterative, adaptive, outcomes-based approach to the design, development, and implementation of adaptation plans and actions to identify and capitalize on opportunities that are themselves adaptive.
  • Uses iterative and human-centric processes of inquiry and problem solving and real-world experimentation with an appreciation of the value of feedback cycles for refining and improving ideas.
  • Employs a diversity and inclusion approach that respects the rights of affected communities or subpopulations and taps into their creative potential to visualize alternative futures and generate solutions.
  • Seeks out relevant details and interconnections; considers multiple factors and implications within and beyond the existing situation, such as multiple planning horizons, multiple beneficiaries, crossboundary solutions, etc.
  • Navigates ambiguity and uncertainty while engaging in processes that allow for observation and information gathering, ideation, reflection, creation, and iterative prototyping (i.e., design thinking).
  • Proactively deals with problems, issues, and questions working to reduce ambiguity and address resistance to change.

Applies an integrated approach to interpreting and applying climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction international, regional, and local policies, standards, agreements, and precedents in plans, strategies, projects.
  • Identifies and is accountable for acting in compliance with relevant local, regional, national and policies, procedures and standards related to climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
  • Respects the rights and title of Indigenous peoples and nations and their implications for adaptation
  • Applies governance structures that facilitate accountability, transparency, and equity in all phases of a project/plan/initiative from strategy development to implementation.
  • Interprets complex policy documents to provide relevant information to partners, collaborators, and decision-makers.
  • Provides strategic and tactical governance advice to decision-makers in the domains of climate preparedness and adaptation, sustainability, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, health, and social justice.
  • Contributes collaboratively with organizations and legislative bodies to generate, influence, or revise adaptation initiatives and policies.

Contributes to knowledge and capacity development through the design and delivery of community and climate adaptation education, training, and professional development.
  • Assesses learner needs and offers learning options to address different levels of understanding and capability.
  • Incorporates principles of instructional design that empower learners and create impactful education, training, and professional development options.
  • Applies a range of situated learning strategies (e.g., use cases, social or group learning, action learning) that encourage and drive the uptake of climate action and sustainable behaviours.
  • Prepares and delivers learning experiences that engage and empower participants, support the acquisition of adaptation competencies, and foster inter – and trans-disciplinary thinking.
  • Creates a safe learning environment that supports the active participation of all learners.
  • Contributes to knowledge sharing and climate adaptation learning and action networks.

Supports the development and implementation of adaptive strategies and plans in collaboration with identified partners, groups, and communities to achieve defined program objectives.
  • Strives to incorporate an interdisciplinary orientation and collaboration in strategic and tactical planning and implementation of climate adaptation programs and initiatives.
  • Designs and integrates an ongoing learning strategy to generate new information and track progress on adaptation and adaptive capacity as part of project/ program scoping and development.
  • Implements project-specific and/or institutional mechanisms for incorporating and acting on new information to shape project cycles and ensure adaptation strategies and actions are flexible, responsive and address a range of futures.
  • Identifies and differentiates immediate (prioritized) and deferred adaptation strategies and actions, and an approach that is responsive to relevant policies and policy limitations.
  • Reviews and evaluates established metrics, data, and enabling conditions to identify and communicate relevant issues, opportunities for improvement, and monitor the impacts on, vulnerability, and resilience of those directly and indirectly impacted.

Promotes the integration of climate adaptation considerations into all objectives and decisions across programs, projects, operations, policies, procedures, financing, and training.
  • Creates synergies between organizational and/or community strategies and objectives, and relevant international frameworks(e.g., UN Sustainable Development Goals, Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris Agreement), national, and regional emissions, adaptation, and resilience targets and standards.
  • Leverages existing policies, legislation, and capabilities to enable and amplify current and future climate adaptation.
  • Applies climate adaptation lens to the development, implementation, and evaluation of decisions, goals, strategies, policies, and procedures.
  • Identifies and engages diverse partners to maximize social learning, engagement, and empowerment of rights-holders and stakeholders.