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Case study

Nicaragua Pro-Poor Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Centers

Countries and regions
Nicaragua, Latin America and Caribbean
Action area


Case summary

Poor urban residents of Estelí, Nicaragua, are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts owing to inadequate physical infrastructure (such as sewers and drainage), land and housing vulnerability due to insecure tenure rights, socioeconomic challenges, and limited national-level climate assessments and planning specific to their needs. However, Estelí residents are engaged in small-scale, locally driven climate-resilience measures. Researchers from the World Bank and local research institutions piloted a method to identify climate vulnerabilities in poor urban areas of Estelí, understand how residents are coping with climate change, and assess how institutions and policies can better meet community needs in the future. Notable findings and good practices from this assessment are highlighted below.

  • Local climate science is often limited, but residents of poor urban areas often have a nuanced understanding of weather trends and their impacts, which can support resilience planning and activities.
  • Climate change policy is often framed as rural and in terms of disaster risk management, but this approach does not meet the needs of the urban poor. Instead, institutions should also recognize urban climate change vulnerabilities and the fact that climate change impacts typically develop slowly and incrementally.
  • A key action for reducing climate change vulnerability and increasing resilience for the urban poor is clarifying land tenure rights and developing coherent urban land policy frameworks.
  • Local governments and organizations can support urban poor resilience by building on grassroots adaptation efforts that are already underway.
Planning and implementation activity
Analysis and Data Collection, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures
Institutions involved
World Bank, Institute for Applied Research and Local Development (NITLAPAN) at the Central American University, Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Municipality of Estelí, local community-based organizations
Sectors and themes
Urban, Disaster Risk Reduction, Ecosystem Adaptation
Source details
World Bank

Results supported byUNDPWorld Resources InstituteTransparency partnership