Why do we need RAPTA?

There are many tools and approaches for adaptive management and systems analysis. Likewise, much effort is put into developing and applying the concepts of resilience and adaptation in a wide range of situations. However, different communities of practice define these concepts differently and employ different approaches, which can cause confusion for those seeking to apply the concepts to project development and implementation. There is a need for tools that bring together the concepts of resilience assessment with adaptation planning, and provide practical guidance to project developers.

Recognising this gap, the Scientific Technical and Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (STAP) commissioned CSIRO to review and advise on leading practice methods for embedding resilience, adaptation pathways and transformation into the design of projects. The Resilience, Adaptation Pathways and Transformation Assessment (RAPTA) framework is the result of this commission.

RAPTA has been developed to bridge some of the divides between different tools and approaches to resilience, adaptation and transformation, and to support effective, durable planning by embedding these concepts at the heart of a project.

RAPTA could help project design teams to:

  • determine if a project has any hope of achieving its stated objectives
  • increase the chances of success through a clearer understanding of the factors that control resilience. This
    • helps untangle the complexity, helps to focus on root causes, and assesses the likelihood of a community’s continued well-being despite shocks
    • supports intentional transition to desired systems
    • reduces the probability of unplanned transitions to undesired systems
    • distinguishes cases where transformational social–ecological change is needed from cases where smaller, incremental actions can suffice
  • determine where achieving the desired state is impossible or unrealistic with existing project resources.

RAPTA cannot deliver certainty about the future any more than existing project appraisal and design methods, but it has the potential to help projects to deliver better outcomes with greater certainty. It achieves this by helping planners, practitioners and communities build strategies that cope with risk, shock and uncertainty in projects. RAPTA is especially designed to support the active planning of pathways towards sustainable goals, and to embed the practices of learning and acting on that learning. It also reduces the risk of investing in support for livelihood systems that are likely to fail when shocks occur.