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CRiSTAL Project Management Tool

The Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL) is designed to help project planners and managers integrate climate change adaptation and risk reduction into community-level projects.

The impacts of a changing climate—less predictable rainfall, more frequent droughts, rising sea levels, new pest and disease outbreaks, disappearing sea ice—are increasingly being felt by people living around the world. These changes have real implications for farmers, fishers, foresters and others who rely upon natural resources for their living. These groups suffer disproportionately from climate variability and change, particularly in developing countries. Community-level development projects can play a critical role in helping people adapt to the impacts of climate change through activities that, inter alia, restore ecosystems, strengthen local capacities for risk management and diversify livelihoods. But it can be difficult to exploit this potential and minimize maladaptation without some concrete understanding of how projects influence climate-related vulnerability and adaptive capacity. CRiSTAL helps project planners and managers do this.

CRiSTAL emerged from the Livelihoods and Climate Change project, an initiative of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Swiss Foundation for Development and International Cooperation (Intercooperation), the Stockholm Environment Institute – United States (SEI-US), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Livelihoods and Climate Change project examined how sustainable livelihood or ecosystem management and restoration projects reduced the vulnerability of communities to climate stress. In its second phase, the project aimed to develop a mechanism to help planners and managers of these types of projects take climate change into consideration.

Since its launch in 2007, CRiSTAL has been updated to incorporate its users’ needs and priorities as well as the latest thinking in the field of climate change adaptation. The current and completely revised version of CRiSTAL was developed between 2010 and 2012 based on extensive user experience and feedback.

Key questions addressed:

  • How could current and potential future climate hazards affect a project area and local livelihoods?
  • How can men and women respond to the current and potential future impacts of climate hazards?
  • Which livelihood resources are most affected by current climate hazards and which ones are most important for the response strategies?
  • How do project activities affect access to, or availability of, critical livelihood resources?
  • What project adjustments can be made to support climate adaptation and reduce climate risks?
  • To what extent can s project contribute to climate adaptation?

Sample data inputs:

  • Livelihood activities, key actors, gender and diversity aspects, and the ecological context
  • Resources that are important to local livelihoods
  • Current and potential climate change impacts
  • Community responses to climate impacts

Sample quantitative outputs:

  • Livelihood resources that are most affected by climate hazards and most important for responding to climate impacts
  • Proposed adjustments to existing projects
  • Prioritized new activities to support climate adaptation
  • Desired adaptation outcomes and important influencing factors to be monitored

View the tool here: CRiSTAL Project Management Tool.


CRiSTAL user’s manual

Summary of CRiSTAL

Presentation: Introduction to CRiSTAL.

Tool Summary

  • Free
Expertise Required:
  • Simple
Geographic Scope:
  • Local
  • Rural
  • Project
Impacts Assessed:
  • Environmental
    • Climate Resilience
  • Social
    • Energy Access
    • Gender
    • General