Enabling Adaptation: Priorities for Supporting the Rural Poor in a Changing Climate

This issue brief from the World Resources Institute is "formulated in response to an increasingly urgent need for articulating and agreeing upon a vision of effective adaptation - in part to inform the architecture for financing climate adaptation." The paper argues that the poor, and in particular the resource-dependent rural poor, must be a central concern in any effective adaptation funding effort, and that one of the major pillars of an effective adaptation strategy is support for an enabling environment that allows them to build their resilience through natural resource management.

The second half of the brief proposes specific governance investments that adaptation funding should support. These recommendations illustrate how basic governance principles can serve as the foundation for building adaptive capacity among the rural poor:

A. Support enabling activities at the national level - Funding policy reform and decentralization processes is critical to establish the foundations of good resource governance that can enable climate adaptation.

  • Promoting tenure reform for improved resource access and livelihood security 
  • Providing market access through regulatory reform to benefit small producers
  • Decentralizing authority to local levels
  • Providing access to information

B. Strengthen local institutions and governance practices on the ground - Building pro-poor institutions at the local level to manage ecosystems sustainably is as important as national-level actions. Specific efforts include: 

  • Promoting fair and effective natural resource institutions at the local level
  • Facilitating community participation, especially of vulnerable groups, in decision-making
  • Fostering local support organizations
  • Communicating success stories

C. Establish good governance metrics for adaptation - Maintaining high levels of funding for adaptation will depend on progress in strengthening governance in the sustainable use of ecosystems. However, the report suggests that metrics for assessing the presence and quality of governance in this context have yet to be widely agreed upon.




Publication Date: May 2009

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Manish Bapna
  • Heather McGray
  • Gregory Mock
  • Lauren Withey

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