New Future Climate for Africa guide on overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation

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A new guide from Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) explores the barriers to climate change adaptation, and possible interventions to overcome them.

As adaptation moves from theory to practice, there is growing recognition that barriers may make it difficult for individuals, businesses and governments to plan and implement adaptation actions. These involve a variety of issues, especially for long-term decisions, and include economic, political economy and governance challenges. Addressing these barriers is critical to advancing climate compatible development. 

This guide highlights approaches that can help to overcome these hurdles. They include:

  • Planned interventions to address governance, policy and market failures. For example, this could include considering future climate risks in the appraisal of new investments (such as the African Development Bank’s climate safeguard system) as well as national government medium-term planning.
  • Iterative adaptation processes that allow learning from experience. One example is ‘Low-regret’ interventions that provide immediate benefits and address the impacts of current climate variability, while also building future resilience (like early warning systems). Iterative adaptation can also include early planning and preparation for future major risks, such as activities that provide information to improve adaptation decisions in the future and help to keep options open (e.g. research, monitoring and piloting).
  • The integration (mainstreaming) of adaptation into development. A FCFA case study documents the integration of climate information into decision-making in Rwanda’s tea and coffee sectors. By building on underlying activities and budgets, mainstreaming can reduce some of the additional costs of adaptation (transaction and implementation costs), and has the potential to promote adaptation at a large scale.

The guide draws from an extensive review of the literature on barriers to climate change adaptation. This review touched on the economics, political economy and behavioural science of long-term development decision-making and the possibility for integrating measures to deal with future climate change. 

The guide was written by Federica Cimato and Paul Watkiss of the Global Climate Adaptation Partnership.


Overcoming the barriers to climate change adaptation English

Document links last validated on: 16 July 2021

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