On the 6th & 7th of March 2024, the TRANSCEND team held another workshop at the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Planning Authority (MMRDA). On the first day, we discussed the scenario narratives we developed for Mumbai’s socioeconomic development and the resulting challenges for adaptation under the respective scenarios, building on the draft narratives we co-developed in our first stakeholder workshop at MMRDA.

In this blog, I will focus on the second workshop day, which dealt with the evaluation of adaptation options and for which we used a live survey with the online platform “Mentimeter”. The goal of the day was to understand actor-specific viewpoints on the factors and dimensions that are / should be important when evaluating adaptation options. We kickstarted with a brief background on the current status and remaining gaps in the evaluation of adaptation options by Prof. Matthias Garschagen, followed by a description of the current multi-dimensional assessment framework used in the IPCC report (IPCC 2022) by Deepal Doshi. Our second aim was to understand how different actors perceived the importance of the different dimensions of the IPCC’s feasibility framework in reality vs normatively, for different time steps, i.e. now and in the future, as well as for different types of adaptation options such as physical infrastructure, natural/green infrastructure, institutional changes and hybrid measures.

The sessions were attended by 12 participants, mostly from civil society and academia (such as TISS, ORF, and YUVA), as well as one international development cooperation partner – the KfW development bank that works with MMRDA. The discussion between the participants raised interesting and important questions for such evaluations, for example, on the effectiveness of options in such an assessment, interactions and impacts on mitigation and potential maladaptation and capturing the potential of conflicting dimensions across different scales and actors. The Mentimeter survey revealed that participants identified certain factors that might currently not be included in the IPCC multi-dimensional feasibility assessment – such as longevity of the measure (as opposed to quick fixes), the potential of co-benefits of the measure (such as for mitigation) or the possibility of maladaptation. Further, the role of the different dimensions of the IPCC feasibility framework was emphasized to varying extents. For instance, while environmental dimensions were the strongest emphasized in normative terms, in reality, they were viewed to play a much weaker role. This revealed a wide gap between the participants’ expectations and perceived reality. One civil society actor also drew attention to the geophysical dimension and suggested that the lack of consideration might be attributed to a significant gap in data availability. Participants engaged in a detailed discussion on the challenges of data availability, collection and access.

Interestingly, participants found it difficult to gauge the importance of dimensions for 2050 as they found it to be too far in the future. A concerning finding was the gap between the desired consideration of social aspects and the expected consideration of the same in reality. The discussion revealed a mixed picture, with some slightly more optimistic than others. However, one participant from academia also shared that the dynamic development of social dimensions makes it hard to assess their importance in 2050. Finally, the workshop also benefited from input given by a representative from the KfW development bank who provided an international development partner’s perspective. In sum, the workshop sessions on day 2 provided valuable insights for future scientific evaluation approaches of adaptation options.