Towards mainstreaming of climate adaptation within the province Utrecht

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In order to prevent and overcome negative consequences of extreme weather events, it is critical that policymakers incorporate climate change adaptation objectives into their sectoral policies and plans. This process, called mainstreaming, has the potential to improve the resilience of development outcomes, to contribute to the more efficient use of resources, and to avoid investments that unintentionally lead to maladaptation. Because of regional variations in climate change impacts, the lion’s share of climate adaptation work will have to take place at the regional level. Despite the fact that mainstreaming of climate adaptation into existing regional sectoral policies is a key aim, empirical knowledge of how it works in practice remains scarce. This paper explores to what extent climate adaptation considerations are taken into account in the policy of the Province of Utrecht. The empirical research is based on an analysis of, a survey study and semi-structured interviews with policymakers from different provincial sectors and several policy documents. It shows that for various reasons, the extent to which climate adaptation is mainstreamed is moderate but is slowly increasing and it differs per sector. Besides that, it came forward that a number of barriers hamper the development and implementation of climate change adaptation into regional policy. Results of this study revealed that respondents considered lack of knowledge about climate adaptation measures, the most important cluster of barriers to adaptation. Other highly ranked barriers include conflicting sectoral interests; lack of financial resources; lack of legal regulations and uncertainty about societal costs and future benefits. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrated that sectoral topics matter in understanding the barriers to adaptation: some of the barriers consider the barriers as more severe than other sectors. Keywords: Mainstreaming, climate adaptation, policy integration, barriers, Netherlands
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen