Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change Within Governance Systems in South Asia: An Analytical Framework and Examples From Practice

This paper focuses on the governance challenge of adapting to the impacts of climate change. Adaptation requires a shift in how governments ‘do’ development: they now need to consider the impacts of climate change when making investment, planning and policy decisions. This idea of ‘mainstreaming’ adaptation to climate change within development is well established, but the governance dimension of this mainstreaming process is often side-lined in practice. In contexts where governance is already a challenge, the capacity to effectively adapt to climate change is particularly limited. Governments across the worldare experimenting with different approaches to tackling climate change, supported by technical consultants, donors and civil society, but often with a piecemeal approach to addressing the governance dimensions.

The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, a UK Aid-funded programme, is focused on climate-proofing growth in five South Asian countries at the national and subnational levels, and is designed to transform systems of planning and delivery for adaptation to climate change. This paper is based on lessons from the experience of ACT on strengthening governance systems to deliver adaptation.

 

Climate-Resilient Agriculture in South Asia: An Analytical Framework and Insights From Practice

Agricultural systems are extremely vulnerable to climate change (CC), given their sensitivity to variations in temperature, precipitation and occurrence of natural events and disasters such as droughts and floods. The paper introduces a framework of practical entry points at the national and local level for addressing CC adaptation and resilience and maps them across the agriculture value chain and non- farming options. The entry points, which target exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity within the vulnerability framework, are as follows:

  • Policy and institutional entry points
  • Financial entry points
  • Information and social behaviour entrypoints
  • Technical entry points

The paper also identifies and discusses the critical challenges and knowledge gaps that currently exist in interacting and working with governments and organisations across these four main entry points.

 

RegionsAdapt 2017 Report: Regions Accelerating Climate Change and Adaptation

When RegionsAdapt was launched in December 2015, at COP21, its founding members shared a general feeling that bolder action was needed to shed light on the contributions of regional governments to climate change adaptation. Hence, the creation of this initiative aimed at balancing mitigation and adaptation within the scope of actions undertaken by regional governments on the international stage, as well as stressing the importance of these actors within the global adaptation agenda.

This document is comprised of two main sections. The first one outlines the essential information collected through CDP's states and regions platform in the context of RegionsAdapt́s most recent reporting process. The second section of the present report encompasses an assessment review of the initiative ́s first two years and briefly portrays its envisaged future.

A Window of Opportunity for Climate-Change Adaptation: Easing Tree Mortality by Reducing Forest Basal Area

Increasing aridity as a result of climate change is expected to exacerbate tree mortality. Reducing forest basal area – the cross-sectional area of tree stems within a given ground area – can decrease tree competition, which may reduce drought-induced tree mortality. However, neither the magnitude of expected mortality increases, nor the potential effectiveness of basal area reduction, has been quantified in dryland forests such as those of the drought-prone Southwest US. We used thousands of repeatedly measured forest plots to show that unusually warm and dry conditions are related to high tree mortality rates and that mortality is positively related to basal area. Those relationships suggest that while increasing high temperature extremes forecasted by climate models may lead to elevated tree mortality during the 21st century, future tree mortality might be partly ameliorated by reducing stand basal area. This adaptive forest management strategy may provide a window of opportunity for forest managers and policy makers to guide forest transitions to species and/or genotypes more suited to future climates.

Gulf TREE

Tool Overview: 

Gulf TREE was created to fulfill the need for guidance in climate tool selection. Stakeholders such as natural resource managers and community planners who understood the importance of incorporating climate resiliency into their projects struggled to find the right tool - the daunting process can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and very confusing.

Tool Description: 

To ensure that Gulf TREE would be relevant, workshops across the Gulf Coast were held both before and after development of the website. During the workshops, potential users gave input on current climate challenges, what they looked for when selecting a tool, and specific features they would like in Gulf TREE. When development finished, they tested the website and gave additional feedback which was integrated before the website publicly rolled out.

Important Note:

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: Implementing a Comprehensive Approach to Climate Change Response

Location

United States
45° 40' 31.7352" N, 88° 40' 34.1292" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Maria Janowiak, Chris Swanston, Linda Parker
Summary: 

Forests are a characteristic feature in many parts the country, and this is particularly true in northern Wisconsin where a mosaic of public and private forestlands define the regional landscape. This case study describes the activities undertaken by the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and other landowners in northern Wisconsin through the Climate Change Response Framework (CCRF).

Climate-Resilient Water Management: An Operational Framework from South Asia

The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has been actively working in five South Asian countries to help governments plan for, and manage, the impacts of climate change in the water sector. ACT has championed a Climate-Resilient Water Management (CRWM) approach as a way of increasing the resilience of water systems on which billions of people rely.

This learning paper outlines the core elements of the CRWM framework and provides examples from ACT’s work employing the framework across the region. The methodology has been deployed in South Asia, but will be of relevance to practitioners and policy makers working in water resource management around the world.

 

This framework is informed by these activities and within this water management interventions are sorted into three categories: 

  1.  Water resource management (including assessment, supply augmentation and demand management); 

  1.  Management of extreme events (floods and droughts); and, 

  1.  Creating an enabling environment for CRWM (including mainstreaming climate impacts in sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, among other governance instruments). 

A 60-second audio abstract can be accessed here.

Key Contacts 

 

Agroforestry: Enhancing Resiliency in U.S. Agricultural Landscapes Under Changing Conditions

The US Forest Service has published a new report that presents the first-ever synthesis on agroforestry as a mechanism to provide mitigation and adaptation services in the face of a changing climate. With contributions from more than 50 experts from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, this report draws upon recent science and shows how tree-based management strategies can improve agricultural production and resiliency.

A guide to selecting ecosystem service models for decision-making Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa

 

A guide to selecting ecosystem service models for decision-making

Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa

Ecosystems are essential to human life, livelihoods and wellbeing. Many national policies and international agreements include goals to protect ecosystem services. A new guide – commissioned by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme and written by Professor James Bullock of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and Helen Ding of World Resources Institute (WRI) – helps readers to assess how ecosystem service models could support policy-making in their countries.

Ecosystem protection features in several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – particularly those on terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity, and the marine environment. Some countries’ national climate action plans, submitted under the 2015 Paris Agreement, include ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation. To date, 127 countries have joined the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an international body to strengthen collaboration between scientific experts and policy-makers on biodiversity, long-term human wellbeing, and sustainable development. 

In order to manage ecosystem services sustainably, decision-makers need to understand the extent and condition of ecosystems. They must be able to predict the impacts of alternative policies or management decisions on the environment.

Frequently, there is not enough measured data on ecosystem services. In these situations, models can provide useful information based on assumptions from similar places. Modeling is especially useful in developing countries, where measured data may be scarce.

 

The guide is particularly suited to advisors and technical managers who are supporting policy-makers. It is based on results from the 2013–16 WISER project, which assessed several ecosystem service modeling tools in sub-Saharan Africa. Policy advisors from Malawi and Uganda contributed actively to the guide’s development.

The guide includes:

-          Advice on how models can inform different types of policy and programme decisions

-          Guidance on how to consider technical capacity and resource needs, when selecting an appropriate model

-          Case studies that draw on current policy issues and modeling experience in Africa.

The ESPA programme is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

 

Climate Change Field Guide for Northern Minnesota Forests: Site-level considerations and adaptation

Location

United States
48° 3' 4.1724" N, 92° 57' 6.5304" W
US
Tool Overview: 

This field guide is designed as a quick reference on climate change for northern Minnesota forests. The intent is to highlight key information that can be used during field visits or forest planning. We hope that this guide will help foresters consider climate change risks together with local site characteristics, and also that it will help people design adaptation actions that help meet management goals.