The emerging need for multi-model analysis has driven the creation of adaptation toolboxes, which both describe the steps to be undertaken for an adaptation risk management process as well as provide access and information on available methods and models to use in such an analysis. The number of tools and guidelines pertaining to climate change has skyrocketed, driven mostly by international aid agencies and NGOs, yet, there still is to be widespread use of a suite or toolbox of different methods. Instead, there are a myriad number of different tools that each performs well in some niche, with individual strengths (IISD 2007). MEDIATION incorporates a toolbox of methods and models for use in CCIAV studies, which integrates closely with the integrated methodology. In this way the project aims to create both a means of guiding a user through an adaptation assessment, and provide exemplary tools or recommend methods to be used, based on individual requirements.
An important facet of new risk management methodologies is the emphasis on combining the qualities of both top down and bottom up approaches. Initially, adaptation was examined from a top-down perspective; as climate change was seen to be a global issue, the focus was from a global level, using global climate models to estimate impacts on a system, which Burton et al (2002) assert results in an inadequate assessment of current risk and current and future vulnerability and adaptive capacity at smaller spatial scales, as higher level analyses of impacts are unable to properly incorporate complex properties of different human-environment systems. The use of scenarios and downscaling are seen as inadequate, as they usually result in simplified versions of local climate without taking into account factors which could substantially affect the localized impacts. Adaptive capacity is simplified to being a function of available technology and knowledge, another inadequate oversimplification, leading to the search for a more adequate method to represent local adaptive capacity.
Many indicators of social vulnerability and adaptive capacity are functions of social, cultural, and institutional characteristics, at small, localized levels, which can be lost in the large-scale analysis of a top-down methodology. Bottom-up analysis is much better equipped to characterize the nuanced details of this interaction at such small resolutions, through improved understanding of the local human-environment interactions (Jones and Preston 2011). After these concepts are understood, top-down analyses and downscaling can be introduced to improve estimates of the risks faced.
This emphasis on a combination of top-down and bottom-up methods brings about the first stages of an exemplary cyclical or iterative risk management process; identifying possible risks, estimating impacts, and evaluating risks based on local vulnerability and adaptive capacity. Following these initial steps, the next goal is to determine which adaption options are the most effective, through identification and appraisal of options. After implementing chosen options begins the phase of re-assessing and monitoring risks based on the adaption steps taken.
The PROVIA / MEDIATION Toolbox provides three types of content: