OECD Environment Working Papers

1997-0900 (online)
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This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies on environmental issues prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal authors are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language English or French with a summary in the other if available.

National Adaptation Planning

Lessons from OECD Countries You or your institution have access to this content

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Michael Mullan1, Nicholas Kingsmill1, Arnoldo Matus Kramer1, Shardul Agrawala1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

10 Apr 2013
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Since the first OECD country published its national adaptation strategy in 2005, there has been a marked increase in national planning for climate change adaptation. This paper provides an overview of national adaptation planning activity across OECD countries and identifies some of the emerging lessons that have been learnt from their experiences.

The analysis draws on three main sources of information: a survey of countries’ national communications to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); three country case studies (Mexico, England and the United States); and the results of a Policy Forum on Adaptation hosted by the OECD in 2012. It finds that twenty-six OECD countries have developed or are currently developing strategic frameworks for national adaptation and seventeen of those countries have also produced or are working on detailed national adaptation plans. Countries have made significant investments in building an increasingly sophisticated evidence base to support adaptation, and to build adaptive capacity. National governments have commonly established policies to mainstream adaptation into government operations and regulatory systems, and established co-ordination mechanisms to ensure action across government. Local and regional governments have also played significant roles in adaptation efforts, though less progress has been made in establishing systematic approaches to co-ordination between national and subnational governments.

The development of strategies and plans has occurred recently, with implementation still at an early stage. Nonetheless, the case studies and OECD workshop revealed three key challenges faced by countries as they have started to implement their strategies and plans: overcoming climate information shortcomings and associated capacity constraints; securing adequate financing; and measuring the success of adaptation interventions. Action to address these constraints will be vital to ensuring that progress in planning translates into improvements in outcomes.

Also available in French
risk management, national planning, adaptation, climate change
JEL Classification:
  • H10: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Structure and Scope of Government: General
  • H12: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government / Crisis Management
  • Q54: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming
  • Q58: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environmental Economics: Government Policy
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