In March 2012 a two day symposium will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on “The governance of adaptation”. Topics to be discussed include: the framing of adaptation problems and goals, modes of governance and available instruments, agency and leadership in adaptation governance, science-policy interaction and adaptation.
One of the stark messages of the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report was that climate change was already having observable impacts and that due to time lags in natural systems, no amount of mitigation can avoid it entirely (Watson et al. 2001). This warning was reinforced in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (Klein et al. 2007). The projected impacts of climate change remain highly uncertain, but they will most likely to be spread unequally across regions.
Over the past decade the discussion on adaptation has truly started and measures are being taken across the world (see for instance Ford et al. 2011). Adaptation to climate change can take multiple forms, occur at different governance levels, and in different policy sectors, presenting governors with a range of possible actions. While governors and societal actors at a range of governance levels have started to develop adaptation policies (Swart et al. 2009; Ford et al 2011), it is still not clear what is the extent to which deliberate interventions need to be made by governors at national or supranational levels, and how far adequate responses will emerge independently amongst affected actors and communities at more local levels. This means that the concept of governance is highly relevant for adaptation.
Knowledge for Climate Research Program
The symposium takes place in the context of the Dutch government funded research program Knowledge for Climate, and more specifically the consortium responsible for the work on governance in that program.