POLICY BRIEF: Driving, connecting and communicating: The many roles of national government in climate adaptation planning

POLICY BRIEF: Driving, connecting and communicating: The many roles of national government in climate adaptation planning

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Author: CDKN Global

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges to the Caribbean’s future prosperity. The impacts of climate change on economically important sectors such as tourism, agriculture and fishing threaten Caribbean nations’ ability to achieve their economic and social development goals. By 2050, the costs to the region are expected to reach US$22 bn each year; this represents 10% of regional gross domestic product, based on 2004 figures. Paying for recovery efforts after natural disasters causes significant budgetary pressures and diverts funds from other pressing development issues such as health and education. However, responding to climate challenges is highly complex. Climate change has cross-cutting impacts that span sectors and spatial scales, and involves multiple stakeholders. Delivering effective climate change adaptation is therefore a question of governance.

Bottom-up, community-level approaches are important in meeting the challenges that climate change poses, but in isolation they are insufficient. National governance frameworks must foster community action, but also provide the enabling environment for large investments and transformative change at scale. The challenge that national governments face is to coordinate adaptation interventions at both national and local levels by engaging multiple organisations and individuals.

Targeted primarily at Caribbean policy-makers, this Information Brief draws on the experience of three CDKN-funded projects that have taken place in the region over the last decade. It identifies ‘best practice’ lessons on governance, highlights examples from applied case studies in Caribbean countries, and recommends tools and methods that can be applied to make governance frameworks more effective at delivering climate compatible development. It is also a gateway to the reports and tools that have been produced under these CDKN-funded projects.

Key messages

  • Policy and governance arrangements at the national level are vital for climate adaptation. Local action is im­portant but is insufficient in isolation.
  • National governments provide stra­tegic oversight and access to climate finance, and have the capacity and authority to drive climate action.
  • Climate change considerations should be integrated into policies and plans across government departments. The CCORAL tool allows decision-makers to do this.
  • Institutional arrangements are vital to help translate government policy into action. Governments can use the ARIA toolkit to assess their institutional adaptive capacity as a first step to strengthening these frameworks.
  • Government institutions are vital in stimulating action at the local level. Networked governance arrangements can help to build movements for cli­mate resilience that translate national priorities into local action and inte­grate local needs into national policy.

Picture: Susan Hunt

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