Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Institutional arrangements and systemic barriers for mainstreaming climate change adaptation

The importance of various institutions in achieving climate change adaptation in specific and sustainable development in general have been well recognized by various international conventions such as processes under UNFCCC and the Commission on Sustainable Development. Institutions play catalytic role in bridging gaps and linking opportunities with needs so that the agenda of climate change adaptation is fulfilled to its fullest extent (UNFCCC, 2007). However, there are systemic barriers that make these institutions less than ideal in delivering the expected deliverables by them. For example, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, 2005) has identified the weaknesses with many partner institutions to implement result driven development strategies, accountability, and transparency. Similar concerns appear to be the reason behind the slow progress in Millennium Development Goals (United Nations, 2010). These institutional limitations would also effect the adaptation activities since adaptation activities would also have to be financed and managed by the same institutions in most national circumstances.

Panel members discussion the role of institutions in promoting low carbon development in the Asia Pacific Region

In order to overcome some of these barriers, various international (e.g. UNEP Adaptation Network), regional (e.g. UNEP Asia Pacific Adaptation Network), and thematic networks (e.g. University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Adaptation Research of UNU, and Ecosystems and Livelihoods Adaptation Network of International Union for Conservation of Agriculture) have come into existence (Asia Pacific Adaptation Network, 2011; UNU, 2011; IUCN, 2011). These networks have the agenda of promoting collaborative research and understanding on climate change adaptation and link various stakeholders with the opportunities that exist to promote adaptation. Though these networks are largely successful in bringing together various stakeholders and sharing the information across boundaries, their effectiveness in addressing overarching barriers such as limited funds for adaptation (Srinivasan and Al-Amin, 2010) and means to measure progress in adaptation (Prabhakar et al., 2010) have been limited.

Substantive discussions on institutional arrangements for promoting adaptation could be observed under the Conference of Parties (Prabhakar and Srinivasan, 2009). The establishment of Adaptation Fund Board has been one important step in accelerating adaptation actions in resource constrained and highly vulnerable countries (Adaptation Fund, 2011). Nationally, few countries in Asia have established institutional mechanisms to govern adaptation. Notable to mention are the National Council on Climate Change and Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund by Indonesia, climate change resilience fund by Bangladesh, Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change by India, and National Leading Group to Address Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism Fund by China.

Adaptation Fund, 2011: Adaptation Fund established by the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Accessed 17 June 2011 at http://www.adaptation-fund.org.
Asia Pacific Adaptation Network, 2011: Climate Change Adaptation in Asia and the Pacific. Accessed 17 June 2011 at http://www.asiapacificadapt.net/.
IUCN, 2011: Ecosystems and Livelihoods Adaptation Network, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Switzerland. Accessed on 17 June 2011 at http://www.elanadapt.net/.
Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, 2005: Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness: Ownership, harmonization, alignment, results, and mutual accountability. Accessed 17 June 2011 at www.adb.org/media/articles/2005/7033_international_community_aid/paris_declaration.pdf.
Prabhakar, S.V.R.K., T. Kobashi, and A. Srinivasan, 2010: Monitoring Progress of Adaptation to Climate Change: The Use of adaptation metrics. Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management, 2 (3): 435-442.
Prabhakar, S.V.R.K. and A. Srinivasan, 2009: Financing and Governing Adaptation and Promoting Disaster Risk Reduction. Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Hyama, Japan. Accessed 17 June 2011 at http://enviroscope.iges.or.jp/modules/envirolib/view.php?docid=1856.
Srinivasan, A. and A.Q. Al-Amin, 2010: Financing Adaptation in Agriculture and Water Sectors in Asia: An overview. Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management, 2 (3): 427-434.
UNFCCC. 2007: Bali Action Plan. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its thirteenth session, held in Bali from 3 to 15 December 2007. Bonn, Germany: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
United Nations, 2010: Keeping the promise: a forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Report of the Secretary-General. Accessed 17 June 2011 at http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N10/238/02/PDF/N1023802.pdf.
UNU, 2011: University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Adaptation Research. UNU, Tokyo, Japan. Accessed on 17 June 2011 at http://isp.unu.edu.

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