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Overcoming barriers to urban adaptation through international cooperation? Modes and design properties under the UNFCCC


  • Oberlack, Christoph
  • Eisenack, Klaus


This study examines by which design properties international cooperation can effectively facilitate specific climate adaptation processes at the local level. First, a qualitative meta-analysis of empirical evidence from 23 cases is conducted to identify archetypal patterns of barriers and change factors for climate adaptation in urban squatter settlements and in municipal public sectors in low- and middleincome countries. Second, five modes of international cooperation for climate adaptation are characterized based on UNFCCC documents, process observation and literature review. Third, these results are combined to derive testable propositions about how selected design properties of international cooperation can facilitate local efforts to overcome barriers to urban adaptation in lowand middle-income countries. Findings indicate, first, that a major step to tackle adaptation barriers in squatter settlements is improvements of the status of urban poor in the public sector. Second, national or regional centres of competence are means to foster endogenous dynamics in municipal public sectors. Third, national adaptation policies are arrangements to enable and incentivise municipal adaptation. Fourth, flexible indicators of adaptation benefits are instruments to target international decision making and monitoring systems to local needs. It is finally discussed how these insights and methods can be used to advance the study of international cooperation, barriers and success factors for climate change adaptation.

Suggested Citation

  • Oberlack, Christoph & Eisenack, Klaus, 2012. "Overcoming barriers to urban adaptation through international cooperation? Modes and design properties under the UNFCCC," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 03-2012, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cenwps:032012

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Stine Aakre & Dirk Rubbelke, 2010. "Objectives of public economic policy and the adaptation to climate change," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(6), pages 767-791.
    3. Lybbert, Travis J. & Sumner, Daniel A., 2012. "Agricultural technologies for climate change in developing countries: Policy options for innovation and technology diffusion," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 114-123.
    4. Rübbelke, Dirk T.G., 2011. "International support of climate change policies in developing countries: Strategic, moral and fairness aspects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1470-1480, June.
    5. Kalikoski, Daniela C. & Quevedo Neto, Pedro & Almudi, Tiago, 2010. "Building adaptive capacity to climate variability: The case of artisanal fisheries in the estuary of the Patos Lagoon, Brazil," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 742-751, July.
    6. Boris Braun & Tibor Aßheuer, 2011. "Floods in megacity environments: vulnerability and coping strategies of slum dwellers in Dhaka/Bangladesh," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 58(2), pages 771-787, August.
    7. Oliver Schenker & Gunter Stephan, 2012. "International Trade and the Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability," Diskussionsschriften dp1201, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    8. Christoph Bals & Koko Warner & Sonja Butzengeiger, 2006. "Insuring the uninsurable: design options for a climate change funding mechanism," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(6), pages 637-647, November.
    9. 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.
    10. Nicolina Lamhauge & Elisa Lanzi & Shardul Agrawala, 2012. "Monitoring and Evaluation for Adaptation: Lessons from Development Co-operation Agencies," OECD Environment Working Papers 38, OECD Publishing.
    11. Benjamin Collier & Jerry Skees & Barry Barnett, 2009. "Weather Index Insurance and Climate Change: Opportunities and Challenges in Lower Income Countries," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 34(3), pages 401-424, July.
    12. repec:zbw:hohpro:334 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Monalisa Chatterjee, 2010. "Slum dwellers response to flooding events in the megacities of India," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 337-353, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oberlack, Christoph & Neumärker, Bernhard, 2013. "A diagnostic approach to the institutional analysis of climate adaptation," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 01-2013, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.


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