Saturday, November 21, 2009

Knowledge for Governance of Climate Adaptation

Knowledge for Climate is a research programme for the development of knowledge and services that make it possible to climate proof the Netherlands. Governmental organisations (central government, provinces, municipalities and water boards) and businesses, actively participate in research programming through the input of additional resources (matching). The overall goal is to assess investments to be made in spatial planning and infrastructure over the coming twenty years in terms of their resistance to climate change, and for making changes where necessary.

Our Public Administration and Policy Group at Wageningen University has brought together a consortium with Utrecht University, VU Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen and Erasmus University Rotterdam, that has submitted the winning pre-proposal for research into the governance of climate adaptation. We are now very busy developing the full proposal, together with regional hotspot partners and our international academic partners: University of East Anglia, Stockholm Resilience Center and Oldenburg University.

The summary of the project pre-proposal reads as follows:

"Climate proofing the Netherlands is not only a technical issue but also a demanding matter of governance. The specific complexities of adaptation governance call for new advanced governance knowledge. This programme will develop and test forms of governance that can contribute to realizing adaptation options, and to increasing the adaptive capacity of society.

The program will be concentrated around four concepts and corresponding work packages:
- organizing connectivity
- (re)allocating responsibilities and risks
- coping with controversies
- normative principles for adaptation

To fulfil the dual ambition of developing practically relevant and scientifically sound knowledge, two supporting methodological work packages will be set up: collaborative action research and comparative analysis across regional and national boundaries. This interdisciplinary programme will result in new insights in climate governance; tested governance strategies, instruments and structures; innovative methods; and international comparison of adaptation efforts between Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and UK."

If all goes well, we could start setting up action research projects on climate adaptation strategies with a group of 8 PhDs, a postdoc and a number of senior researchers from the involved universities, as of March 2010. But first, the full proposal has to worked out, projects have to be defined and substantial co-funding needs to be committed by hotspot partners.