- National institutional arrangements can be designed to enable local-level adaptation and can make a significant difference in outcomes on the ground.
- The choice of government institutions to lead and coordinate national adaptation efforts can dictate outcomes; fostering leadership can have a similar effect.
- Institutional mandates, supported by capacities to implement them, can be better designed for climate risks; they can include, for example, long-term planning horizons and mechanisms for rapid response and regular updates.
- Coordination among national-level government agencies and with other stakeholders and governments at local, sub-national, regional and international levels greatly strengthens countries’ adaptation efforts.
- Establishing or strengthening an institution responsible for national emergency and disaster response is an important first step toward incorporating climate risks into the structure of government.
- The ideal design of an institution will vary depending on the type of climate change it seeks to address.
- It can be easier and more effective over the long run to integrate climate risks into existing practices than to create new frameworks.
- Meteorological institutions, boundary institutions, and independent scientific arms of government can play a critical role in strengthening information management systems required for climate-resilient societies and ecosystems.
In this report, we focus on national-level decision making for a changing climate. However, the efforts of central government institutions charged with adaptation planning and policymaking must also inform, and link closely with, efforts by each country’s provincial (or state) and district (or local) authorities to enable tangible, locally appropriate action to address climate risks.
By creating enabling environments for local-level action, national institutions play an important role in shaping outcomes on the ground. Likewise, national governments also have a role to play in regional and international adaptation policymaking and financing. The risks that climate change poses can undermine the future development of the world’s poorer countries, but this urgency is not yet reflected in the institutional arrangements of many developing country governments.
In this chapter, we focus on the ways that institutions can be designed or modified specifically to support adaptation decision making. To this end, we define institutions quite narrowly and limit our discussion to governmental organizations, such as cross-sectoral and sectoral ministries, legislatures, national cabinets, and local councils.