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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation & Livelihoods (CRiSTAL)

IUCN, IISD, SEI-US and Intercooperation have developed and tested a project planning and management tool called CRiSTAL (Community-based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation & Livelihoods). The tool seeks to help project planners and managers to integrate risk reduction and climate change adaptation into community-level projects. CRiSTAL was developed in response to the outcomes of Phase 1 of the Livelihoods and Climate Change project, which examined how ecosystem management and restoration (EM&R) or sustainable livelihoods (SL) projects reduced community vulnerability to climate stress.

Appropriate Use CRiSTAL can be used by local communities, project planners and project managers.
Scope CRiSTAL is intended to promote the integration of risk reduction and climate change adaptation into community-level projects. By focusing on community-level projects, CRiSTAL promotes the development of adaptation strategies based on local conditions, strengths and needs.
Key Output List of project activities that protect/enhance access to and availability of resources that are strongly affected by climate hazards or important to coping.
Key Input Relevant (regional, national, eco-zone) information on climate change (if available/accessible), as well as information on local climate hazards, impacts, coping strategies, as well as livelihood resources, and project information.
Ease of Use User-friendly
Training Required Training shouldn't be required to use CRiSTAL, as there is a User's Manual available.
Training Available Training is currently being provided. A training session was held in Mozambique earlier this year for project planners and managers based in Eastern and Southern Africa, and preparations are currently underway for a West Africa version of the training. More is planned for 2008.
Computer Requirements

The self-extracting CRiSTAL file can be downloaded from If you run this file, the program (and all related files) should be installed on your C: drive in a folder you create named, “CRISTAL”.

In order to run the program, you simply open the "Session-Setup.xls" file in the CRISTAL folder. You should also make sure your security settings in Excel are set on medium in order to enable the macros to run. This can be done by accessing the Tools menu, then clicking on Options > Security > Macro Security.

Documentation CRiSTAL tool, field reports and presentations available at:

In an effort to render this tool as useful as possible, IUCN, IISD, SEI-US and Intercooperation conducted a series of field tests on planned or ongoing natural resource management projects in Mali, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka. Project team members travelled to the field sites to work with local project managers and community stakeholders in gathering relevant information, applying the tool and developing recommendations on how to adjust project activities so they take into account local adaptive capacity.

Results from the field tests provided constructive feedback on the design and application of CRiSTAL, while the testing process itself has raised awareness of climate change issues in vulnerable communities. The tool provided an entry point for discussing local observations of climate variability and the impacts of climate change in a participatory manner, encouraging communities to look for opportunities to enhance their adaptive capacities. For project planners and managers, CRiSTAL provided a useful framework for understanding the links among climate, livelihoods and project activities.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Anne Hammill

Livelihoods and Climate Change Project Manager, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD); e-mail:

Cost Free