Role of policy and institutions in local adaptation to climate change: case studies on responses to too much and too little water in the Hindu Kush Himalayas
The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is predicted to be severely affected and socially vulnerable to climate change. This study delves into how political processes hinder or promote the adoption of sustainable and equitable adaptation strategies to water-related stress and hazards in the context of climate change in India, Pakistan, Nepal and China. It focuses on small-scale water management and the role of local institutions, agro-forestry diversification and intensification, mitigation infrastructure measures and livelihood diversification.
The study includes the following research findings.
- Markets and government policy have a greater impact on enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities than climate change awareness.
- A proper strategy to translate sectoral policies into planning will facilitate the development initiatives to address local adaptation needs.
- Structural disaster mitigation measures supported by non-structural measures, with the support and participation of local communities, enhance quick response and improve people’s adaptive capacity.
The study’s recommendations for improving the adaptation policy environment include:
- capture demands and ensure service delivery
- engage public participation and support community level responses
- develop effective institutional arrangements
- build capacity at various levels
- disseminate climate information to service delivering institutions.
The study concludes that communities in the region are already adapting to changes, but require an enabling policy environment in the context of the uncertainty and complexity of climate change.