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New framework successfully mainstreams adaptation to climate change within governance systems

Source(s):  Oxford Policy Management (OPM)

New framework has successes integrating climate change into governance systems in South Asia

Climate change could cost South Asia 50% of its GDP by 2050.[1] In order to drive action at scale climate adaptation needs to be mainstreamed into all areas of decision making. The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has developed a new ‘governance framework’ for integrating climate adaptation into government systems, policies and plans has been successfully tested in south Asia.

Most traditional approaches to mainstreaming climate change emphasize technical issues, and often overlook the politics. This framework puts institutions and politics it at the centre. It has been applied successfully in four countries in south Asia: Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, and in six states in India.

Developed, and launched by a group of national and international climate change experts between 2016-2018, the framework identifies barriers and opportunities for climate adaptation mainstreaming and has already helped 10 national and sub-national governments change their investment, planning and policy processes to account for climate change.

One of the authors of the framework explains:

“Adapting to climate change could cost up to US$ 500 billion per year by mid-century.[2] A sizeable amount of money will necessarily come from government budgets, as investments are made in new infrastructure and other development. Governments, therefore have significant power to drive action on climate adaptation. To do this successfully they must integrate climate adaptation across their own programmes leveraging spending across departments to deliver climate resilience. The framework helps governments do just that.” With the help of this new framework, practitioners and policy makers will be able to understand how to mainstream adaptation within governance systems by focusing on three aspects:

  • Entry points: Opportunities for integrating climate considerations into the planning and policy process.

  • Enabling environment: The characteristics – people, institutions, resources etc - that help support the successful adoption of climate

  • change adaptation policies and practices.

  • Political economy drivers: The factors that influence and affect the enabling environment such as the interests and incentives facing different groups as well as formal and informal social, political and cultural norms.

Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change within development policy or planning involves governance at multiple levels, which is why ACT is working at the national and subnational levels across South Asia. The lessons from ACT’s work will be of interest for similar projects and programmes in the region and beyond.

Read the full ACT learning paper “Mainstreaming, accessing and institutionalising finance for climate change adaptation” and the learning brief.

ACT (Action on Climate Today) is an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK government and managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM).

[1] Ahmed, M. and Suphachalasai, S. (2014) Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia. Mandaluyong City: ADB

[2] UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) (2016) The Adaptation Finance Gap Report 2016. Nairobi: UNEP.



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  • Publication date 18 Apr 2018

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