New Levels of Climate Adaptation Policy: Analyzing the Institutional Interplay in the Baltic Sea Region
International policy development and expected climate change impacts such as flooding, landslides, and the extinction of sensitive species have forced countries around the Baltic Sea to begin working on national climate adaptation policies. Simultaneously, the EU is building both a central and a macro-regional Baltic Sea-wide adaptation strategy to support national policy developments. However, it yet remains unclear how these EU strategies will complement each other or national policies. This article analyzes the constraints and opportunities presented by this new institutional interplay and discusses the potential of the forthcoming EU strategies to support national policy. It does so by mapping how adaptation is institutionalized in two case countries, Sweden and Finland, and is organized in the two EU approaches. The vertical institutional interplay between scales is analyzed in terms of three factors: competence, capacity, and compatibility. R esults indicate institutional constraints related to: risks of policy complexity for sub-national actors, an unclear relationship between the two EU approaches, an overly general approach to targeting contextualized climate change vulnerabilities, and a general lack of strategies to steer adaptation. However, there are also opportunities linked to an anticipated increased commitment to the national management of adaptation, especially related to biodiversity issues.
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