Choose methodology and criteria


Different methods and approaches exist to assess options and rank them. They vary in time and effort required to perform the assessment, the level of involvement of stakeholders, etc. The selection of criteria does, to a certain extent, also depend on the methodology used. In this step, the user determines the methodology as well as the criteria to assess and compare adaptation options.


No previous knowledge is required.


The outcome is a preferred method (or combination of methods) and a list of criteria to use for prioritization of adaptation options.


Prioritisation method

The MultiCriteria Analysis (MCA) is known for being an appropriate method to prioritise options. The MCA is a framework able to deal with complex decision problems, to consider multiple different types of objectives and criteria, to process various types of information, both objective (adaptation option performance) and subjective (stakeholders´ preferences), and to integrate all into the decision-making process in a systematic and constructive way (Grafakos et al., 2010).

Other methods include the (social) Cost Benefit Analysis.

Prioritisation criteria

In order to evaluate the impact of each adaptation option, stakeholders should determine what they think are important aspects of options. In a session together with stakeholders, these criteria can be determined and specified. Keep in mind the previously defined requirements and constraints, as they can be included as relevant criteria at this stage. Experts might be able to provide in support in how to measure certain criteria.

Possible criteria are:

  • Effectiveness of the option in reducing the climate impact
  • Costs (investment and maintenance)
  • Affecting multiple (or: co-)benefits
  • Alignment with or contribution to local policy/needs
  • Addressing multiple climate risks
  • (technical) Feasibility
  • Flexibility/reversibility
  • Complexity (of the implementation) of the option
  • Social acceptability
  • Visibility
  • Social consequences
  • Ecological consequences
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Ability to link to windows of opportunity (e.g. road construction)

In addition, weights can be assigned to criteria, reflecting the importance of each criterion in relation to others. The weighting of criteria plays an important role in the ranking of adaptation options.



The methodological approach taken in the Strategy for adaptation in Bratislava was shaped by the knowledge transfer that occurred during the EU Cities Adapt project, in which Bratislava participated in 2012-2013. The Strategy for adaptation in the city of Bratislava does not follow one specific methodology. It is rather built upon a general structure –describe of past and future climate change scenarios, assess risks and vulnerability to climate change, identify adaptation goals and milestones and define options. It was developed by a project steering committee consisting of practitioners from the City hall, academia and non-governmental organisations. The Action plan for adaptation, a subsequent document adopted 3 years after the Strategy, is focused on the implementation phase of the Strategy for the next 4-year period. It defines the criteria and priority adaptation measures, sectors, responsible stakeholders, tools for implementation, financing and monitoring and evaluation. The criteria for choosing adaptation options were to provide multiple benefits, decrease vulnerability to climate change impacts, support sustainability and lastly have high effectiveness and efficiency.

Supporting tools and methods

Multi-criteria analysisi

Multi-criteria analysis is a generic method that allows assessment of options against different criteria.

Climact Prioi

CLIMACT Prio tool is a climate awareness, decision support and capacity building tool for the prioritization and assessment of climate mitigation and/or adaptation actions at a local level.  CLIMACT Prio utilises a multi-criteria approach to assist decision makers and urban planners to identify a wide range of decision criteria and set priorities among objectives while performing a analysis and assessment of climate change (mitigation or adaptation) actions.

EconAdapt multi-criteria analysis methodi

Multi-criteria analysis is a generic method that allows assessment of options against different criteria.

EconAdapt multi-criteria analysis of adaptation options tooli

This tool, developed as example how to perform the CLIMADA MCA method, can serve as a basis for creating your own MCA decision tool.

GIZ Multi Criteria Analysis Template IMACC 2012i

This tool, can serve as a basis for creating your own MCA decision tool.