The Dutch institutional framework and governance of adaptation strategies

This research was carried out in the context of the Climate changes Spatial Planning Programme. ESS CC Staff investigated, in a variety of ways, how Dutch society can adapt to climate change. Ecosystems and wildlife may need another type of National Ecological Network; more space is needed for water, and building plans may have to be moved to different areas. It is one thing to think of solutions, but will the Dutch authorities, companies and other organisations be able to carry them through?

The project was working on the concept of ‘institutions’, which was understand to mean the rules and principles for conducting public life. Institutions can be organisations, but also laws and informal codes of conduct. The study developed a framework for assessing the adaptive capacity of a system of national institutions, the Adaptive Capacity Wheel. It concludes that the Adaptive Capacity Wheel provides a good qualitative indicator of how institutions (policy and legislation) in a specific problem area score in terms of adaptive capacity; that different localities have different context relevant challenges, and that the experiences in the Netherlands could be relevant for other countries seeking to shift some responsibility for climate adaptation to individuals.

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