Organizational and institutional issues in climate change adaptation and risk management: Insights from practitioners’ survey in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mali

Catherine Ragasa, Yan Sun, Elizabeth Bryan, Caroline Abate, Atlaw Alemu, and Mahamadou Namori Keita 
International Food Policy Research Institute 

Climate change places demand on existing governance structures to reform and work more effectively than in the past. In response, greater attention to and funding for climate change adaptation - including the efforts of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), the Least Developed Country Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund, the Adaptation Fund, and the E.U. Global Climate Change Alliance - provide an opportunity for institutional, organizational, and human capacity strengthening. This study was conducted to explore the challenges and opportunities for building human, organizational, and institutional capacity for more effective climate change adaptation in developing countries. It is part of a larger research project titled “Enhancing Women’s Assets to Manage Risk under Climate Change:
Potential for Group-Based Approaches, which is being conducted to help organizations better understand ways in which development projects can assist rural households in adapting to and managing the effects of climate change.

This report provides some reflections and insights on the level of awareness, practices, and organizational and institutional issues being faced by countries as they adapt to climate change, based on interviews with 87 practitioners working in government agencies, local organizations, international organizations, and think thanks reporting involvement in climate change adaptation. Data were collected in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mali using both an e-survey platform and face-
to-face interviews.

Responses reveal active work within these organizations on climate change adaptation and emphasize their important role in the countries’ efforts to address and adapt to climate change. Responses also reveal strong awareness among these organizations of different aspects of climate change adaptation along the different stages in a climate change adaptation project cycle, which may be a reflection of the active discussions and awareness campaigns during NAPA development in these countries. However, despite the awareness and presence of national strategies and action plans, there seem to be no explicit and clearly defined policy and strategy within these organizations outlining their role in and contribution to the national and collective efforts and, more importantly, no explicit and measurable targets and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to track progress and outcomes over time. Reported capacity gaps can be grouped into two categories: training needs and institutional challenges.

In many organizations, there is limited awareness of and emphasis on the need for participation of target groups and beneficiaries during design and planning of climate change adaptation projects. In addition, many respondents reported a need for greater attention to issues related to profitability, financial sustainability, and market access from climate change project design to M&E. Finally, respondents emphasized that climate change projects should pay greater attention to gender, social, political, and cultural issues in their design and implementation. Reflections of respondents also highlighted the need
for organizational capacity strengthening for those local organizations working in and providing services to rural communities, and for promoting a culture of impact and M&E within these organizations, in addition to the reported training needs in climate change management and in gender and social analysis.

While this report provides some insights, further empirical analyses are needed to discover more details on strategies that could help trigger mind-set and organizational culture change and to capture the complexity of organizational and institutional issues hindering climate change adaptation efforts that aim at reducing vulnerability and contributing to development outcomes.

Publication date: 
1 Juil, 2013 
Source / Citation: 

Ragasa, C., Y. Sun, E. Bryan, C. Abate, A. Alemu, and M. N. Keita. "Organizational and institutional issues in climate change adaptation and risk management: Insights from practitioners' survey in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mali," IFPRI Discussion Paper No. 01279, July 2013.