Understanding Adaptive Policy Mechanisms through Farm-level Studies of Adaptation to Weather Events in Alberta, CanadaBy:
Governments must operate in an ever-changing and uncertain world. We know for example that the climate is changing, but not precisely how or what the specific impacts will be–introducing yet more complexity to fields such as agriculture and water resources management. We know that energy prices are highly unpredictable and that international trade rules are in a state of flux–creating further challenges for development policy. The impact of our economic activity and our cultural connectedness today evoke types of responses in society and our ecosystems for which we have no prior experience.
Crafting policies in this setting to address acute issues, be they economic, social or environmental, is inherently complex and dynamic–this is the reality facing today‘s policymaker. The climate change issue is a case in point and has provided motivation for this research on adaptive policies. Higher variability in hydrology is projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their most recent report, evoking great concern in such areas as world food supply, power generation and irrigation, just to name a few.
Experience demonstrates that policies crafted to operate within a certain range of conditions are often confronted by challenges outside of that range. The result is that many policies don‘t accomplish their goals and have unintended or perverse impacts. Therefore, to help policies help people, policymakers need ways to craft policies that can adapt to a range of anticipated and unanticipated conditions.
The multi-year Adaptive Policies research project endeavours to identify mechanism that help public policies adapt to anticipated and unanticipated conditions. This report studies farm-level coping and adaptation measures for weather shocks (for example, flooding) and stresses (for example, drought), identifies policies which have aided these measures and studies these policies for their adaptive mechanisms. It is the premise of this research project that policies which have either aided or impeded a farmer‘s ability to cope with change, are also likely to contain mechanisms which have helped the policy itself adapt to changing circumstances.
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Recommended Document Citation
Swanson, D. A., Venema, H. D., Rust, C., & Medlock, J. (2008). Understanding adaptive policy mechanisms through farm-level studies of adaptation to weather events in Alberta, Canada. International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from CAKE http://www.cakex.org/virtual-library/1216