New framework helps strengthen institutional capacity for planning and delivering climate adaptation
- A new paper released by the Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme, titled, “Building institutional capacity for enhancing resilience to climate change: An operational framework and insights from practice” shows how institutions can strengthen their capabilities to tackle climate change across different levels of government.
- The paper provides a framework and ten key lessons for strengthening institutional climate capabilities to guide those designing, planning and delivering other climate change programmes.
- The framework proposes a set of characteristics that institutions should possess in order to overcome the unique challenges involved in responding to climate change.
- The paper aims to reframe an understanding of capacity building away from the institutional architecture, policies and plans, to consider the actual performance and behaviour of institutions.
- The paper draws on ACT’s experience supporting national and sub-national governments in five South Asian countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
Institutions face many challenges in dealing with the complexity of climate change: Its urgency, its cross-cutting nature, how it interacts with other societal challenges such as social inequality, and how it can stymie existing development efforts. Even translating climate science into actionable information can be challenging. The capacity constraints that exist to respond to these challenges, particularly in the institutions of developing countries, are well documented.
The urgent need for governments to build resilience has frequently led to a reliance on short-term and ad-hoc efforts to boost capacity. International organisations are often ‘parachuted’ into developing countries to provide one-off training sessions and workshops. Such support has yielded limited impact and is often unsustainable. In such situations local institutional capacity to deal with climate change remains constrained.
There is a recognition globally, on the need for more and better approaches to support the strengthening of institutions. The 2015 Paris Agreement enshrines a commitment to building long-term, in-country capacity to address climate change. The Agreement also states that capacity building must operate through appropriate institutional arrangements and be an iterative process that is participatory, cross-cutting, and gender-responsive.
The new ACT learning paper details how this capacity building goal can be achieved. It introduces and describes a new framework for strengthening institutional climate capabilities to guide stakeholders in designing, planning and delivering other development and adaptation programmes and initiatives. It provides a comprehensive picture of the changes required, involving individuals, organisations, and the wider processes, resources, norms, and values governing institutions. The framework was developed using ACT’s experience in building institutional capacity, and is also informed by wider empirical literature on governance, climate change, and capacity development.
ACT is a £23 million UK government-funded regional programme managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) in collaboration with many consortium partners. It works in partnership with national and sub-national governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan to assist the integration of climate adaptation into development policies and actions while transforming systems of planning and delivery, including leveraging additional finance. Institutional capacity building is therefore one of the main purposes of the programme.
The full ACT learning paper “Building institutional capacity for enhancing resilience to climate change: An operational framework and insights from practice” and a learning brief can be accessed here
A 60-second audio abstract can be accessed here
ACT (Action on Climate Today) is an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK government and managed by Oxford Policy Management (OPM).