The Implementation of Adaptation: Flexible governance arrangements: obstacles and opportunities

The climate is changing. The awareness that adaptive measures are required is becoming increasingly widespread among government authorities, NGOs and market players. Obstacles such as a lack of urgency, budget cuts and conflicting interests do not play a role only during the exploratory phase of climate adaptation strategies. It is precisely during the implementation phase that implementation agencies face these challenges. As strategy is being implemented, those involved often have a tendency to tie up the future in robust agreements. Every party tries to reduce its risks to a minimum. The cases examined in this study show that adaptation measures are not very flexible, even though this is an important principle for adaptation policy. There is also little or no focus on monitoring, let alone on reflexive monitoring (that is to say, participative monitoring focusing on joint learning).

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Implementation of adaptation strategies or measures

In this project, the consortium (Deltares, Alterra/Wageningen University and Research Centre, Erasmus University Rotterdam, VU University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, the Provincial Authority of North Brabant) teamed up with parties involved with policy practice to develop guidelines relating to the question of how adaptation strategies can be implemented flexibly and what role reflective monitoring can play in that respect. To this end, a method has been developed that supports the decision-making progress leading to the implementation of adaptation strategies or measures.

Method: questionnaire, serious game and policy-arrangements canvas

This method consists of a questionnaire, a serious game and a policy-arrangements canvas that has been developed on the basis of action-based research in two cases and using a range of additional interactive sessions. This method involves describing possible arrangements that can be deployed in more, or less, flexible ways in combination with forms of reflexive monitoring.

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