Adaptation and Governance
Johan Schaar, Patricia Caffrey
This technical report reviews the challenges faced by decision-makers when it comes to climate change adaptation needs and building resilience in communities. It takes readers through the process of understanding institutions and building awareness about the capacity of societies to adapt.
A majority of developing countries face uncertainty about climate changes because climate services and information are often under-developed and don’t provide reliable projections. According to the report, “how societies respond largely will be determined by their governance characteristics”.
The development practitioner has certain implications to consider including: 1) What is the relevant governance structure in the project’s environment, and who makes decisions? 2) Does the project’s design match the adaptation problem? and 3) Is the project set up for learning and change?
Due to the complexity of climate change, it is most often not obvious to development practitioners and decision-makers when to pursue a different track to have the most successful outcome from climate change adaptation investments. Climate change is an interdisciplinary challenge that should incorporate varying knowledge systems and participatory practices to enable learning. Good governance that incorporates climate considerations should be transparent, legitimate and inclusive, accountable, equitable, and efficient and effective.
Excerpt from the report:
“Grand Design” or “Muddling Through”
- Engage for the long term, on-the-ground
- Adapt constantly to changing challenges, opportunities, and societal needs
- Build human capacity and institutions, including capacity to engage with the process of change
- Broaden and diversify the range of conservation options
- Embark on a long‐term and comprehensive approach
- Sequence reforms logically and deliberately
- Foster participation among stakeholders
- Renounce rigid adherence to blueprint models
Flexible Adaptation Pathways
- Recognize and address the long-term and uncertain nature of climate change
- Use a risk-based decision framework based on levels of risk
- Identify when critical thresholds are likely to be reached
- Identify alternative adaptation pathways should thresholds be reached
- Utilize pathways consisting of robust adaptation actions
- Incorporate low- and no-regrets actions while research is conducted to enable the establishment of informed, flexible pathways for the longer-term
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