Reconstructing Noah’s ark : Integration of climate change adaptation into Swedish public policy
Sammanfattning: Due to expected impacts such as flooding, landslides, and biodiversity loss, climate change adaptation has become recognized as an inevitable part of climate change policy and practice. However, our understanding of how to organize the management of adaptation is lacking, and few concrete measures have yet been implemented. Knowledge gaps exist relating to constraints on and opportunities and facilitating factors for adaptation. This study aims to fill such gaps by analyzing how Swedish climate change vulnerability and adaptation management is integrated across issues, sectors, and scales in public policy. The analysis is supported by two interconnected sub-studies. The first maps the national and local institutionalization of adaptation through document analyses at different policy levels. The second analyses practical approaches to and perceptions of vulnerability and adaptation management in two case municipalities. In the latter sub-study, qualitative interviews and stakeholder dialogues were held with officials from various local sector departments. The results indicate that climate change adaptation is poorly integrated into Swedish public policy. Constrains on local horizontal integration include a lack of cross-sectoral coordination and knowledge, weak local political interest, and varying opportunities for sector departments to influence policy. These constraints result in climate vulnerability being considered late in municipal and regional strategic planning processes. They also reduce the possibility of identifying overarching municipal goals. At the national level, horizontal integration is negatively affected by a lack of government guidelines and by unclear division of responsibility. Constraints on vertical integration include poor fit between the national and municipal levels, due to a perceived absence of national goals, guidelines, and funding, and the lack of a sufficient knowledge base for decision-making. This makes it difficult to now what measures to prioritize and how to evaluate progress. The analysis of adaptation policy integration also gives insights into some general factors found to either constrain or facilitate implementation of adaptation. In Sweden, both horizontal and vertical integration has been facilitated by the few national and regional guidelines established to date, indicating that national steering would offer a useful way forward. Policy integration could be increased by formulating national adaptation goals, creating a national adaptation fund, creating municipal adaptation coordinator posts, and paying greater attention to climate change vulnerability in proactive economic planning.
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