IIASA researchers present at Climate ExpO on the enablers and barriers to the practice of adaptation 

Adaptation © © Udra11 | Dreamstime.com

© Udra11 | Dreamstime.com

Each event day is dedicated to one of five conference themes: Green Recovery; Nature-based Solutions; Mitigation Solutions; Adaptation and Resilience; and Finance. On 20 May 2021, Adaptation and Resilience Day, IIASA researchers present in Climate Exp0’s virtual session on “Enablers and barriers to the practice of adaptation from mainstreaming to transformation” 

In this session, IIASA researchers and colleagues will discuss the development of practical transformational approaches for Clyde Estuary in Scotland for Clyde Rebuilt as well as organisational and institutional barriers to transformative adaptation through nature-based solutions in Europe. This session will explore what is required for successful mainstreaming, where this becomes limiting and the opportunities and barriers to the practical application of more transformational approaches. 

Transformative adaptation through nature-based solutions

Scolobig A., Pelling M., Martin J., Linnerooth-Bayer J., Deubelli T., Wei L., Oen A

In the presentation,

• We explore how claims for transformative adaptation toward more equitable and sustainable societies can be assessed. We build on a theoretical framework describing transformative adaptation as it manifests across four core elements of the public-sector adaptation lifecycle: vision, planning, institutions and interventions. For each element, we identify characteristics that can help track adaptation as transformative, as well as identify gaps in achieving transformation. The purpose is to identify how governance systems can constrain or support transformative choices and thus enable targeted interventions.

• We demonstrate and test the usefulness of the assessment framework with reference to three case studies of nature-based solutions (NBS): forest conservation (China), river restoration (Germany), and landslide risk reduction (Italy). Building on a desktop study and open ended interviews, our analysis adds evidence to the view that transformation is not an abrupt system change, but a dynamic complex process that evolves over time.

• While each of the NBS cases fails to fulfil all the transformation characteristics, there are important transformative elements in their visions, planning and interventions. There is a deficit, however, in the transformation of institutions. The cases show institutional commonalities in multi-scale and cross-sectoral (polycentric) collaboration as well as innovative processes for inclusive stakeholder engagement; yet, these arrangements are ad-hoc, short-term, dependent on local champions, and lacking the permanency needed for upscaling. For the public sector, this result highlights the potential for establishing cross-competing priorities among agencies, cross-sectoral formal mechanisms, new dedicated institutions, as well as programmatic and regulatory mainstreaming. 

The COP26 Universities Network

The COP26 Universities Network is a growing group of more than 55 UK-based universities working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference. The Network will create lasting partnerships and legacies that reach beyond this single event. The Network's mission is to ensure that the UK academic sector plays an active role in delivering a successful COP26, getting all players on track to deliver a zero-carbon, resilient world. We aim to do so by easing access to evidence and academic expertise for Governments, NGOs, and other actors and by taking action ourselves. As part of this work, six months prior to the COP26 meeting in November 2021, the COP26 Universities Network is hosting the Climate Exp0 conference to showcase UK and international research on aspects of climate change and climate mitigation in the run-up to COP26.

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03 November 2021


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