Institutional initiatives and their drivers to adapt agricultural water management to climate change: Three cases from developed countries
Forschungsschwerpunkt: I. Politikreformen und institutioneller Wandel
Mit-/ Bearbeiter: Theesfeld, I., Schmidt, O.
Collaboration with: Waltina Scheumann, Elke Herrfahrdt, Chinwe Ifejika Speranza (German Development Institute (DIE), Bonn)
Initiator: German Development Institute
It is becoming apparent that with the immergence of climate change, adaptation in the governance of the agricultural water sector is of great importance (IPCC 2007). Thus, efforts to re-orientate institutional initiatives in agricultural water agencies are observed. The project aimed to supplement the vast amount of analytical work on adaptation to climate change with empirical material about innovative institutional approaches, describing the types of political, governmental and organizational solutions that can be found in the agricultural water sector, particularly within water agencies. The study aimed to identify and discuss potential best practices of innovative institutions and, in particular, of actions presently taken by water agencies to cope with climate change-induced challenges. In doing so, the project contributes to the German Development Institute’s conceptual discussion on “helping water agencies cope with climate change-induced challenges for agricultural water management in developing countries”.
As a result of an explorative phase, the project addressed three regional cases in which water agencies at different administrative levels have introduced a variety of innovative institutional approaches for adaptation to climate change: the state of Brandenburg in Germany, the Ebro River Basin in Spain, and the state of California in the US.
Themes of the project:
- The organisation and responsibilities of the agricultural water administration
- Elaborated or enforced adaptation strategies as a consequence to existing or predicted climate-change induced effects at the national, regional and local scale.
- Adaptations and reforms in the administrative system, which are triggered by existing or predicted climate induced-changes.
In sum, we find similar trends in all countries studied towards integrated solutions, such as interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-agency working groups. There are various horizontal collaborations, but more recently vertical collaboration comes into play. Both are necessary when taking the precautionary principle into account, which in turn the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change requires of its parties.
We observe institutional adaptation which does not constitute a conscious response to climatic stimuli alone, but is triggered by a multitude of factors. Follow up work on the project involves classifying the drivers of institutional change in relation to governmental level involved. The question arises which role the precautionary principle has to play for adaptation due to the irreversible and severe foreseen effects of climate change. In that respect, we continue to work on the question which duties the higher level administrative bodies and general-purpose governments should fulfill and how this is linked to a polycentric governance system.
Theesfeld, I. (2011):
"Polycentricity and climate change adaptation in agricultural water agencies"Vortrag präsentiert auf ESF (European Science Foundation) Conference: Water Governance: Meeting the Challenges of Global Change, Obergurgl/Oesterreich, 05.06.2011 - 10.06.2011
Theesfeld, I., Schmidt, O. (2011):
"Best practices to cope with climate change induced challenges in agricultural water agencies. The cases of California, Germany and Spain"Vortrag präsentiert auf 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons, Hyderabad/Indien, 10.01.2011 - 14.01.2011
Theesfeld, I. (2010):
"Linking the Precautionary Principle to Polycentricity: Investigating Climate Change Adaptation in Agricultural Water Agencies"Vortrag präsentiert auf Colloquium Series, Bloomington/USA, 30.08.2010 - 06.12.2010