How Does Better Governance Improve Resilience to Climate Change?
A new report explores the benefits of building climate resilience through good governance.
Climate change will disrupt many systems that we have depended on to be relatively stable. Changing rainfall patterns will affect agriculture. Higher temperatures will impact infrastructure and ecosystems. Rising sea levels will challenge coastal regions with flooding. More powerful and frequent storms will threaten lives and livelihoods.
No matter how much progress we make on addressing the causes of climate change—such as reducing fossil fuel usage, slowing deforestation, and changing land use patterns—communities worldwide will have to adapt to these disruptions. How well a community is able to adapt is determined, in large part, by its legal, political, and economic systems. These overlapping systems comprise a society’s governance structures.
Good governance is therefore essential for increasing the resilience of communities and societies to a changing climate. A new report explores the benefits of approaching resilience through a good governance approach, focusing on goals like economic development and community empowerment.
Using input from the 2014 Climate Change Resilience: Governance and Reforms Summit in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the report draws on the voices of experienced leaders in government, industry, academia, and other sectors to provide insights into addressing resilience challenges. The report offers nine policy recommendations for improved governance that can increase resilience to not only a warming climate but other social challenges too. The hope is that by fostering dialogue and collaboration, we can find shared solutions to the cross-sector, multi-level, contentious, and political challenges that society must confront if we are to adapt and thrive.