The Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA) is an International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Challenge Fund project under the International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change (IRIACC) with funding from the Canadian Research Councils (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) and the IDRC.

Sea level rise has negative impacts on coastal ecosystemsThe methodology at the core of the ParCA is the Community Based Vulnerability Assessment (CBVA), as developed and tested by Smit and Wandel (2006) (PDF) and refined by others. The ParCA research program further modifies the CBVA approach in order to integrate governance dimensions, explicitly consider maladaptation and, in the case of developing countries, the contribution of adaptation to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Innovative features that will enable the ParCA research program to advance research, knowledge and understanding of climate change issues and processes of adaptation include:

  • Significant enhancements of the CBVA approach with increased focus on the role of institutions and networked governance arrangements for adaptive capacity
  • Improvements over past implementation of the CBVA approach with greater attention to integration of outcomes into community adaptation visioning and design charrettes to define culturally sensitive adaptation portfolios and strategies, as well as explore the novel challenges associated with adaptation for visitor based economy (i.e., the needs of international tourists)
  • Critical examination and evaluation of adaptation portfolios against maladaptation criteria to ensure feasibility and overall incremental benefit
  • Examination of opportunities to situate adaptation planning in context of need for more fundamental transformations in governance practices (adaptive, collaborative, multi-level and networked arrangements)
  • Integration of cutting edge natural science (LiDAR, ASTER satellite data) and downscaled climate change scenario outputs with participatory GIS and values mapping, to inform community adaptation visioning and design charrettes
  • Strategic emphasis on key tourism-fishery linkages of central importance to learning sites in the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada (and many other coastal communities worldwide)
  • Innovative knowledge mobilization strategies for a diverse set of audiences (including youth), such as an on-line Community of Practice, films and interactive media, and policy briefs.
  • The main goal of the ParCA research program is to utilize the CBVA framework to integrate scientific and local knowledge from comparative “learning sites” to understand the multi-scale socioeconomic, governance and environmental conditions that shape vulnerability and capacity to adapt to climate change within and between communities.

The specific objectives of the ParCA program are to: 

  • Erosion damage to coastal structureGenerate data (e.g., downscaled climate change scenarios, high resolution elevation data and sea level rise risk mapping, social/cultural values mapping, network analysis) in order to accurately assess the vulnerability to climate change of communities in the Caribbean and Atlantic Canada;
  • Incorporate primary data generation activities into participatory research and adaptation planning processes (i.e., CBVA, community adaptation visioning) and make data available for related national and regional research and policy processes (e.g., adaptation community of practice, and collaborations with other regional climate change projects and initiatives);
  • Establish scientific and professional networks (e.g., professional exchanges, community of practice) that advance climate change vulnerability research and practice to increase adaptive capacity in the communities and regions;
  • Deliver targeted training of highly-qualified personnel (e.g., university graduate student education and skills training, professional development) across the communities, countries and regions;
  • Develop and evaluate practical local adaptation portfolios (including technological, institutional, and regulatory options) that address community needs and cultural values and, where relevant, are informed by the adaptation needs of major external stakeholders (e.g., international tourists) and avoid maladaptation;
  • Facilitate the mainstreaming and scaling-up of adaptation into larger planning initiatives (local, national, regional scales) related to sustainable development (e.g., tourism planning, integrated coastal management, infrastructure and disaster management, fisheries and biodiversity) and incorporate local perspectives and values into governance arrangements, and national and regional adaptation planning;
  • Empower people in communities to effectively respond to climate change by strengthening institutional and governance structures through the advancement and mobilization of collective knowledge, and the dissemination and the communication of information.
ParCA is co-led by the University of Waterloo and the CARIBSAVE Partnership and has assembled an incredible team of scholars and community partners to accomplish this challenge.


Community and NGO partners