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.