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Transforming adaptation: Delivering lasting resilience through the Climate Action Review Tool

UNDP Uganda

With the impacts of climate change escalating over decades, countries are responding and planning for long lasting solutions. The most effective climate actions are engaging everyone – from national bodies to local communities and individuals. 

Sectors like agriculture, forestry and land-use remain the most vulnerable to climate change in most developing countries today because the systems within these sectors are near their limits of natural adaptation capacity. The situation will only worsen as the impacts of climate change become more intense and unstable.

To accelerate the change needed, Uganda and Mongolia’s climate action planning and implementation are shifting from incremental to transformative approaches, supported by using the Climate Action Review (CAR) tool.

The tool – which was jointly developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) as part of the pioneering SCALA programme – offers a five-step approach for assessing the transformative potential of adaptation actions in the agriculture and land use sectors. It also comes with an accompanying handbook for practitioners.

The CAR tool helps countries take high-level climate priorities outlined in their national climate plans – such as National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – assess their transformative potential and guide developing long-lasting and targeted climate solutions with a participatory approach, involving national and subnational governments down to farming communities.

Eleven counties in Africa (Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda), Asia (Cambodia, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand) and Latin America (Costa Rica and Colombia) have already used the CAR tool to identify, design and implement transformative climate actions in agriculture and land use. In the process, these countries have also supported FAO and UNDP in improving the tool to deliver more flexible and tailormade solutions for national climate action.


In Mongolia, the average temperature can fluctuate as much as 35°C in one day. There is a warming trend across the country with an annual average temperature rise of 2.1-2.7°C, in comparison to the period 1986-2005.  

While piloting the CAR tool, Mongolia first set about choosing the “system” of focus; with 30 percent of Mongolians being nomadic herders, the highest transformative potential to enhance resilience and adaptive capacity of agricultural landscape was found in the nomadic livestock production system.

Through the CAR tool, Mongolia identified a number of climate actions in this system that scored high on all the elements needed for transformative adaptation change. These actions included managing livestock numbers and land degradation (including pastures and forested land); and creating a forest strip on arable lands to shield wind, water and soil nutrient erosion. Other actions included promoting meat exports and products to limit livestock numbers and improving ways to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the livestock sector.

The results of the climate action review of Mongolia’s NDC Action plan pointed towards implementing more integrated nomadic livestock management in tandem with the country’s newly adopted Livestock Tax Law on herding practices.

The recommended next step is to create clear steps for better tracking rangelands’ livestock carrying capacity and stocking rates, as well as incentivizing more uptake of climate-resilient herding practices that meet the environmental, social, and economic goals of the nomadic livestock communities in Mongolia.


Uganda’s agriculture, forestry and other land use sectors (including livestock) account for 27 percent of Uganda’s total GHG emissions. Under the current business-as-usual scenario, climate projections show total emissions from these sectors will reach 122.2 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.

In response, the  calls for climate mitigation and adaptation measures in all sectors to bring about a 24.7 percent reduction in national GHG emissions compared to the business-as-usual trajectory in 2023.

As part of the country’s NAP adaptation priorities in the Cattle Corridor, the CAR tool was used to review areas with the highest prevalence of food insecurity and poverty and greatest exposure to climate risks and, therefore, the greatest need for adaptation investments in agriculture (particularly for smallholders and pastoralists).

Uganda used the CAR tool to identify the system with the highest transformative potential: the cattle corridor agricultural landscape (with its five mixed farming systems). The corridor is one of the country’s most vulnerable landscapes to climate change and yet serves as a food basket for over 7 million rural population. Uganda’s Cattle Corridor covering about 35 percent of Uganda's land surface, with a massive network of pastoralist communities.

Application of the CAR tool and the review of drivers of climate risks and vulnerabilities in the Cattle Corridor revealed a lack of assets and credit, green technology, limited human and technical capacity to undertake planning and implementation of climate actions, and limited financing for climate action as key drivers. Additional vulnerabilities included entrenched gender inequality and social exclusion.

The tool recommended more support for climate adaptation planning at subnational levels, particularly at the district level; and strengthening financial de-risking measures that catalyse private sector investments in climate resilient cassava, dairy, banana, and cocoa value chai development.  Uniquely, the application of the tool in Uganda used participatory methods, meaning that ministries, academia, private sector and development partners were involved.

Uganda is using the CAR tool’s recommendations to improve pasture and livestock management that can provide mitigation co-benefits for delivering on the country’s NDC GHG target. Additionally, the outcomes are feeding into gender-responsive district development plans in six districts and representing a basis for project pipeline development with the private sector.


The CAR tool helps countries assess climate priorities in land use and agriculture that have the potential to bring about transformation while implementing NDCs, NAPs and other national climate plans. Importantly, it also supports the realization of co-benefits such as gender and social inclusion, rural development, environmental stewardship, GHG emission reduction – across six elements and twenty criteria for transformative climate action.

Wish your country could reap the same benefits and co-benefits as Mongolia and Uganda? Find out how they could by following the links to the CAR tool and CAR tool handbook below.

CAR tool → 

CAR tool handbook → Coming soon


The SCALA Programme – funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) – is being implemented between 2020 and 2025 in 12 countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. The Climate Action Review tool was developed under the SCALA Programme and piloted during the inception phase in 11 countries for planning and implementing transformative approaches to NDC and NAP implementation in the agriculture and land-use sectors.