Overcoming the barriers to climate change adaptation

As adaptation moves from theory to practice, there is growing recognition that barriers may make it difficult for individuals, businesses and governments to plan and implement adaptation actions. These involve a variety of issues, especially for long-term decisions, and include economic, political economy and governance challenges. Addressing these barriers is critical to advancing climate compatible development. 

This guide highlights approaches that can help to overcome these hurdles. They include the consideration of possible barriers from the start of the adaptation planning process; interventions to address market, governance and policy failures; the use of iterative adaptation approaches that allow learning from experience; and the integration (mainstreaming) of adaptation into development. 

The guide draws from an extensive review of the literature on barriers to climate change adaptation previously undertaken. This review touched on the economics, political economy and behavioural science of long-term development decision-making and the possibility for integrating measures to deal with future climate change.