Background information

Adapting to the possible impacts of climate change presents a demanding challenge within the existing governance structures and arrangements. It raises normative questions (e.g. who should be responsible?) and may require innovative experiments, leadership approaches and process designs. Furthermore, governments may need to reconsider the economic instruments and governance structures that allocate risks and responsibilities between public and private partners. To complicate matters even further, climate change is surrounded by uncertainties, contested knowledge and differences in stakeholders' perspectives. Hence, the specific complexities of adaptation governance call for new advanced governance knowledge. In that sense, the governance of climate adaptation also poses a new scientific challenge.

This programme aims integrate existing knowledge from the fields of public administration, economics, political science, spatial planning, law, environmental studies and psychology. Through close cooperation with hotspots, this programme will add new empirical evidence to test innovative theoretical propositions about the governance of climate adaptation.

In short, this unique interdisciplinary programme will develop and test governance arrangements that will contribute to:

    1. developing and implementing adaptation options
    2. increasing the adaptive capacity of society so that future climate changes can be confronted

Read the summary (pdf), the scientific aspects (pdf) and the societal aspects (pdf) of this research.

The work packages in a few sentences
Within our research programme we have defined six work packages (WPs). We set up two methodological WPs. WP1 (pdf) deals with setting up a collaborative action research programme that facilitates and directs the interactions between hotspots and research projects. WP6 (pdf) will set up an international comparative research and exchange of learning experiences across regional and national boundaries. Four key WPs address the following research questions:

    1. How can we organise connectivity within the existing structures through innovative experiments, leadership approaches and process designs? (WP2 pdf)
    2. Which economic instruments and governance structures to allocate risks and responsibilities between the public and the private are promising, and how can they be implemented in the Dutch situation? (WP3 pdf)
    3. What are the consequences of uncertainties, stakeholders’ perceptions and contested knowledge, and which methods help to cope with them in decision-making processes? (WP4 pdf)
    4. How can the principles of legitimacy, effectiveness and resilience be elaborated and what are the implications for the governance of adaptation? (WP5 pdf)

Governance of Adaptation Work Packages