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A framework for examining adaptation readiness


  • James Ford


  • Diana King



Adaptation readiness is proposed as a complimentary concept to adaptive capacity that captures the strength and existence of governance structures and policy processes which determine whether adaptation takes place. As such, adaptation readiness is concerned with examining actual experiences with planning for adaptation and seeks to characterize whether human systems are prepared and ready to ‘do adaptation.’ We propose a framework for evaluating readiness, identifying 6 overarching factors essential for adaptation taking place: political leadership, institutional organization, adaptation decision making and stakeholder engagement, availability of usable science, funding for adaptation, and public support for adaptation. For each readiness factor we identify potential indicators, data sources, and considerations for analysis, outlining approaches for quantitative scoring and qualitative examination. We briefly illustrate application of the framework using an example from the territory of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic, a region projected to experience some of the most dramatic changes in climate globally this century. The framework provides a systematic approach for assessing adaptation readiness, and can be used – in combination with other approaches – to inform the identification and prioritization of adaptation support, guide resources to areas where need is greatest, and serve as a proxy for adaptation tracking. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • James Ford & Diana King, 2015. "A framework for examining adaptation readiness," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 505-526, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:masfgc:v:20:y:2015:i:4:p:505-526
    DOI: 10.1007/s11027-013-9505-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pahl-Wostl, Claudia & Tabara, David & Bouwen, Rene & Craps, Marc & Dewulf, Art & Mostert, Erik & Ridder, Dagmar & Taillieu, Tharsi, 2008. "The importance of social learning and culture for sustainable water management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 484-495, January.
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    5. Helene Amundsen & Frode Berglund & Hege Westskog, 2010. "Overcoming barriers to climate change adaptation—a question of multilevel governance?," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(2), pages 276-289, April.
    6. Benjamin K. Sovacool, 2011. "Hard and soft paths for climate change adaptation," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 1177-1183, July.
    7. Barry Smit & Ian Burton & Richard Klein & J. Wandel, 2000. "An Anatomy of Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 223-251, April.
    8. Thomas G Measham & Benjamin L Preston & Cassandra Brooke & Tim F Smith & Craig Morrison & Geoff Withycombe & Russell Gorddard, 2010. "Adapting to Climate Change Through Local Municipal Planning: Barriers and Opportunities," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2010-05, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    9. Alistair Hunt & Paul Watkiss, 2011. "Climate change impacts and adaptation in cities: a review of the literature," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 13-49, January.
    10. Neeraj Vedwan & Sajjad Ahmad & Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm & Kenneth Broad & David Letson & Guillermo Podesta, 2008. "Institutional Evolution in Lake Okeechobee Management in Florida: Characteristics, Impacts, and Limitations," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 22(6), pages 699-718, June.
    11. Klaus Eisenack & Rebecca Stecker, 2012. "A framework for analyzing climate change adaptations as actions," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 243-260, March.
    12. Merylyn McKenzie Hedger & Richenda Connell & Penny Bramwell, 2006. "Bridging the gap: empowering decision-making for adaptation through the UK Climate Impacts Programme," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 201-215, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1192-:d:141179 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ella Furness & Harry Nelson, 2016. "Are human values and community participation key to climate adaptation? The case of community forest organisations in British Columbia," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 135(2), pages 243-259, March.
    3. Simon Tilleard & James Ford, 2016. "Adaptation readiness and adaptive capacity of transboundary river basins," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 137(3), pages 575-591, August.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:190-201 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:climat:v:143:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10584-017-2016-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13412-016-0408-3 is not listed on IDEAS


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