Document / Publication
This paper explores key institutional barriers in preventing effective Flexible and Forward-looking Decision Making (FFDM) within development policy and programming. More specifically, it explores the influence of various institutional and sociopolitical drivers on the ability of district governance processes to adapt to change and uncertainty. To do this, it synthesises research findings from two phases of research conducted by the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA).
The research focuses predominantly on district government and INGO partners in three African countries – namely, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda. Numerous interventions focused on the delivery of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), social protection and sustainable livelihood approaches are examined to understand priorities and processes behind planned activities, and evaluate common barriers to long-term planning. This wealth of information allows a comparison across the three countries and covers a broad spectrum of sociopolitical contexts and hazards. It also provides an insightful snapshot of the complex and rigid arrangements that govern development policy and practice in Africa.
The paper points to the strong influence of institutional and sociopolitical barriers to FFDM at the local level. It highlights the benefits of using a political economy analysis (PEA), and points to four entry points for overcoming key barriers and promoting adaptive capacity. Finally, it argues that, while incremental changes to policy and programming can result in large gains, system-wide transformation (in terms of interest, motivations and incentives) is needed in order for FFDM to be effectively adopted across scales.