Influencing adaptation policy: the role of policy entrepreneurs in securing ownership and climate action in South Asia

Research reports and studies
December 2018
Thomas Tanner, Rizwan Uz Zaman and Sunil Acharya

Addressing the causes of climate change by managing greenhouse gas emissions is vital to limit the impacts of climate change. However, there is now widespread understanding of the importance of also adapting development pathways to a changing climate. A central part of this process is the mainstreaming of adaptation concerns into government development policies, planning and sectoral decision-making. To date, many of the transferable lessons on adaptation mainstreaming have been in the form of technical approaches such as risk assessments and toolkits. In contrast, this paper provides an empirically informed review of some of the more tacit and informal approaches used to influence adaptation policy.

This review, produced by Action on Climate Today (ACT), highlights the particular role of policy entrepreneurs who work in policy-making arenas to promote policy change. They navigate the political complexity of both formal and informal systems of governance to promote successful adaptation mainstreaming processes, through brokering, advocacy and networking to influence policy. Building on previous policy influencing perspectives from the political science literature, the paper uses empirical examples from the ACT programme in South Asia to create a typology of influencing strategies. It suggests there are a number of ways to maximise the potential of a programme for policy influencing and entrepreneurship in order to mainstream climate change into development.