Strömmar av vatten och politik - en studie om policyprocesser och anpassning

Authors:

  • Marie Åkesdotter

Publish date: 2008-04-09

Report number: FOI-R--2492--SE

Pages: 76

Written in: Swedish

Keywords:

  • klimatanpassning
  • policyförändring
  • windows of opportunity
  • kunskapsöverföring
  • adaptation to climatic change
  • policy change
  • research which becomes common knowledge

Abstract

One of the distinguishing features of successful societies is the ability to adapt to change, both social and natural changes like climate change. Climate change is a complex, dynamic, non-linear process with a great deal of uncertaninty concerning the time perspective, risks and consequences. A combination of factors like , The number of actors working to prepare the society for the expected impacts of climate change and variability is increasing. However, more than half of Sweden´s municipalities do not consider changing climatic conditions when planning, and often even allow the construction of new living areas in places that are known to be climatically vulnerable. Certain geographical areas in Sweden are characterized by environmental problems which enhange the predicted effects of climate change.The coast of Scania (Skåne) is one such area, where people for a long time have had to adjust to conditions like coastal erosion, recurring high tides, low lying areas and sinking land. The following study elaborates the politics of adaptive capacity. It is based on a comparative case study of two different plicy processes regarding adjustments to climate conditions in the coastal municipalities of Vellinge and Lomma in south-western Scania. In other words, this study explores the underlying factors that can explain what drives anticipatory measures to strengthen the ability and possibility to handle effects related to climate change. The theoretical framework consists of theories regarding policy changes in social ecological systems, and adaptation to climate. A structural actor based perspective, as well as system oriented and process oriented perspectives, have been applied. The results are based on 14 interviews with key politicians, officials and stakeholders from non--governmental organizations. The study is also based on reports, a citizen´s from Statistics Sweden (SCB), newspaper articles, municipal documents, web sites and literature. The results show that the municipality of Vellinge inplemented adaptation strategies years before Lomma municipality. The policy change was triggered by observed vulnerabilities in the ecological systems which affected the social systems. It resulted in an intense debate (a window of opportunity), which in turn opened a policy window. There are two driving forces in policy process: central actors and shadow networks with access to knowledge. The results show that knowledge and understanding of ecological systems is essential for policy changes in climate adaptations. More research is needed, but research by itself will not be sufficient; research and knowledge must be transferred to the decision-makers. Knowledge transferring is also important for officials and the public since an understanding of ecological systems is necessary for forming attitudes and for planning a society with the ability to meet climate change and the insecurities which are connected with it.

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