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The roles of public and private actors in the governance of adaptation: the case of agricultural insurance in India

Listed author(s):
  • Susannah Fisher
  • Swenja Surminski
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    Climate change adaptation is an increasingly important field and will involve a range of actors from national governments to private companies, communities and households. There is a growing policy discourse supporting the involvement of the private sector in adaptation, however there is little empirical examination to show how the sector might be involved and how adaptation might be governed. This paper uses evidence from the field of risk governance and insurance and analytical frameworks from the wider governance literature to draw important findings for the governance of adaptation. We use the recently published Compendium of Disaster Risk Initiatives in the Developing World and a case study of agricultural insurance in India to argue that the role of the private sector is increasing but so far within a particular model of engagement. In the context of climate change, how the public-private relationships are constructed is key to how adaptation can be leveraged from such an arrangement. The evidence in this paper suggests that due to commercial viability and other concerns there will continue to be a role for the public sector alongside the private sector to ensure adaptation measures address vulnerability. In conclusion we argue that the type of relationship between the public and the private actors has a significant influence on the adaptation outcomes. The question is not purely about involving the private sector which is how this is currently framed within policy and academic work on adaptation, but how the private actors are engaged. Governments seeking to engage private actors need to build those relationships with the desired adaptation outcomes in mind.

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    Paper provided by Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in its series GRI Working Papers with number 89.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2012
    Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp89
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    1. Celine Herweijer & Nicola Ranger & Robert E T Ward, 2009. "Adaptation to Climate Change: Threats and Opportunities for the Insurance Industry," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 34(3), pages 360-380, July.
    2. Shardul Agrawala & Maëlis Carraro & Nicholas Kingsmill & Elisa Lanzi & Michael Mullan & Guillaume Prudent-Richard, 2011. "Private Sector Engagement in Adaptation to Climate Change: Approaches to Managing Climate Risks," OECD Environment Working Papers 39, OECD Publishing.
    3. Arthur Charpentier, 2008. "Insurability of Climate Risks," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-109, January.
    4. Clarke,Daniel Jonathan & Mahul,Olivier & Rao,Kolli Nageswara & Verma,Niraj, 2012. "Weather based crop insurance in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5985, The World Bank.
    5. Samuel Fankhauser & Ian Burton, 2011. "Spending adaptation money wisely," GRI Working Papers 37, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    6. Karin Bäckstrand, 2008. "Accountability of Networked Climate Governance: The Rise of Transnational Climate Partnerships," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 8(3), pages 74-102, 08.
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