ANALYSIS STEP 4: Analysing the institutional and policy context related to climate change
Success of adaptation efforts at individual, household and community levels relies heavily on the existence of an enabling environment for adaptation. These factors also influence the other challenges facing a community or households and this analysis can feed into Step 5. An enabling environment means that government and civil society institutions (at all levels) have the capacity to support local-level adaptation, and that appropriate policies are in place to facilitate action. As well as identifying the relevant institutions at the national and local level you also need to understand their policies and plans, institutional capacity and the effectiveness of policy implementation to get an accurate picture of the enabling environment for the project. This step in the analysis is about trying to better understand the institutional and policy context and on this basis to decide what the design of the project should seek to address.
Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) Handbook
The CVCA is based on the CBA framework which includes important issues for consideration at local/community and national level. It also includes direction on undertaking institutional mapping (p. 14). The venn diagram tool (p. 41) helps you to understand which institutions are most important to communities, the kind of engagement different groups have in local planning processes and to evaluate access to services and availability of social safety nets.
Analysis Step 4.1: Identify key institutions working on climate change at national level
Climate change is often placed under the responsibility of the environment ministry. Signatories to the UNFCCC have to indentify a national focal point which is a good place to start. However, the cross-cutting nature of the challenge means a wide range of actors in different sectors need to be involved in addressing it. Fisheries, forestry, agriculture, disasters and health are also important agencies with which to engage.
Analysis Step 4.2: Identify key institutions at local level in the target area
As well as national and regional level institutions, local institutions play an important role in shaping the context in communities. This may include the local government authority, local or regional offices of key ministries (such as agriculture, water or environment), traditional authorities, civil society organisations, community-based organisations and women’s groups, among others.
Analysis Step 4.3: Analyse relevant policies and plans at national, regional and local levels to determine opportunities and barriers for adaptation
Reviewing local, regional and national policies and plans will help you to identify openings and barriers for adaptation. In some cases, existing policies may provide clear opportunities to build adaptive capacity, while others may prioritise actions which actually increase vulnerability to climate change (e.g. high-input agriculture which may increase exposure to risk from climate events). Barriers may represent targets for advocacy efforts, while openings can yield opportunities to partner with other organisations in planning and implementing adaptation.
However, the existence of good policies does not necessarily translate into action at the local level. The links between policies and local implementation must be analysed to understand the challenges faced by local actors. In many cases, the primary challenge is resource allocation, suggesting that an understanding of how decisions are made on funding and human resources is important for planning strategies that support local institutions and communities. It is important to also assess relationships between various institutions and local communities in the project area. Often policy documents present an optimistic scenario which is quite different from the reality of implementation. The CVCA Handbook identifies key informants (p. 15) who can provide information and analysis on the implementation of relevant policies.
Analysis Step 4.4: Assess capacity of relevant institutions to support CBA
Using Step 4.1 and 4.2 the key activities of the institutions identified and their strengths and weaknesses should be done. Additionally, make an assessment of their capacity to undertake their current work and their potential capacity to respond to climate change. The capacity assessment should examine the level of awareness and knowledge on climate change, the level of climate change integration into organisational policies and plans, and the amount of resources allocated towards supporting climate change-related initiatives. Given the implications of climate change for extreme weather events, capacity for disaster risk reduction is also an important consideration.
Analysis Step 4.5: Identify sources of support for adaptation-related activities at national, regional and local levels
Effectively tackling climate change requires a wide range of expertise, including scientific expertise to analyse climate data, socio-economic research skills to understand the dimensions and underlying causes of vulnerability, and economic appraisal to determine the costs and benefits of different adaptation options. A single organisation is unlikely to possess all of these skills so tackling climate change through CBA will benefit from working with partners and seeking support from organisations that may not be traditional partners. An understanding of existing capacity in institutions involved in planning and implementing adaptation actions is helpful for identifying partners and planning capacity development efforts in CBA projects. The results from Analysis Step 4.2 may help with this.
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