Adaptation governance: the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and beyond

Adaptation to climate change has for long been a stepchild of international climate and development politics. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has yet to develop institutional structures that facilitate the effective and coherent implementation of adaptation activities. This controversial issue constitutes a major challenge for the ongoing negotiations on a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Similar institutional deficits for the implementation of adaptation measures persist on regional, national and local levels.

Project Team:
Fariborz Zelli
Britta Horstmann

Time frame:
2009 - 2010 / completed

Project description

The project therefore addresses questions of governance and institution–building in the realm of adaptation to climate change – with a particular view to conceptualization, financing and technology transfer.

The question of how adaptation is conceptualised is crucial for institution-building and leveraging action across different scales, from the global to the local level. The project will therefore analyse different concepts of adaptation and their institutional implications. To what extent has the adaptation discourse changed in international climate change politics and how has it influenced institution-building, in particular the evolution of financing mechanisms? What does this imply for adaptation governance at the national level?

Technology Transfer
Delegates to the UN climate regime have so far largely discussed technology transfer with a view to mitigation, as this means common ground for industrialised and leading developing countries. By comparison, the transfer of adaptation technologies has been side-lined, notwithstanding the urgency of respective measures, in particular for least developed nations and regions. This includes ‘soft transfer’, e.g. with respect to know-how for risk and disaster management, yet also ‚hard transfer’, e.g. of irrigation equipment and crop varieties.
The study on ‘Technology Transfer for Adaptation to Climate Change in Latin America’ explores this institutional gap across different scales, putting particular emphasis on the regional, national and local levels in Latin America. Contrasting the identified gap with the actual needs for adaptation technology transfer in this region, the study seeks to devise policy recommendations for more effective institutional approaches.


Current Publications

The transition towards a green economy and its implications for quality infrastructure

Vidican Auktor, Georgeta / Tilman Altenburg / Andreas Stamm
Studies 102