Climate Change Adaptation through Multi-level Governance: Perspectives from Coastal Areas of Bangladesh

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Multi-level governance/hybrid governance and proliferation of actors in Environmental Governance can address the multi-scalar (spatially, socio-politically, and temporally) character of environmental problems (Lemos and Agrawal 2006; Ostrom 2010). On the other hand this proliferation or fragmentation can cause conflict among the actors and networks in terms of power balance and incentives (Siebenhüner 2003; Bulkeley 2005; McCormick 2011).

The multidimensional nature of climate change requires responses at multiple geographical and jurisdictional scales, levels of social and administrative organisation, and policy and resource sectors (Keskitalo 2010; Termeer et al. 2011). For this reason, multilevel governance – decision- and policy-making that involve multiple actors and take place across multiple jurisdictions and sectors – is critical for adaptation (Termeer et al. 2010). On the other hand multilevel governance, despite comprising a promising approach to cope with multi-scale and multi-sector issues, faces significant challenges in a climate adaptation context. One such challenge refers to the policy context in which it is implemented, which is very often complex and fragmented, and is characterised by a diversity of interacting climate and non-climate strategies (e.g., programs, plans, policies and legislation) (Termeer et al. 2011). Interaction between and among those strategies can create both synergetic and conflicting outcomes (Adger et al. 2005; Young 2006; K. Urwin and Jordan 2008).

This study will examines how climate change adaptation takes place in a complex multilevel governance system comprised by Coastal Areas of Bangladesh. It will map adaptation strategies (what are the existing adaptation policies and strategies?) and responsibilities (who has been developing/adopting such strategies?) at National, Divisional, District, Upazila (sub-disrict) and Union levels.

It will examines examples of adaptation strategies in terms of type of adaptation, its manifestation, purposefulness, drivers and triggers, and geographic and temporal scope. Interactions between strategies (how adaptation strategies relate to each other) will be investigated both at the same level of governance (horizontally) and across governance levels (vertically).

This will be the pioneer study regarding environmental governance in Bangladesh with a special focus on climate change adaptation. Moreover the insights and findings of this study can be used in other cross-cuting sctors (socio-economic) within the country.

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Climate Change Adaptation through Multi-level Governance: Perspectives from Coastal Areas of Bangladesh

  1. 1. Climate Change Adaptation through Multi-level Governance: Perspectives from Coastal Areas of Bangladesh Shahadat Hossain Shakil Postgraduate Student – MSc. Environmental Governance SEED, University of Manchester, UK ID: 9297731
  2. 2. Key Debates/Literature the Dissertation Engages with  Multi-level environmental governance can address the multi-scalar character of environmental problems like climate change adaptation (Lemos and Agrawal 2006; Ostrom 2010; Keskitalo 2010; Termeer et al. 2010; 2011).  Challenged due to complex and fragmented policy context characterised by a diversity of interacting climate and non-climate strategies (e.g., programs, plans, policies and legislation).  Interaction between and among those strategies can create both synergetic and conflicting outcomes (Adger et al. 2005; Young 2006; K. Urwin and Jordan 2008). 1
  3. 3. Research Aim  To explore the effectiveness of multi-level governance of climate change adaptation in Coastal Areas of Bangladesh.  To identify how this process can be improved for future policy formulation and integration. Source: Banglapedia (2012) 2
  4. 4. Research Questions  Whether formulating and implementing policies, plans and programs at different administrative and operational hierarchy by different actors helping Bangladesh in adapting to climate change successfully ?  What is the advantage and disadvantages of this multi-level governance process of climate Source: Anonymous (n.d.) change adaptation? 3
  5. 5. Case Study  Mapping adaptation strategies (what are the existing adaptation policies and strategies?) and responsibilities (who has been developing/adopting such strategies?)  Examining strategies in terms of type of adaptation, its manifestation, purposefulness, drivers and triggers, and geographic and temporal scope.  Interactions between strategies horizontally and vertically. Source: Fidelman et al. (2013) 4
  6. 6. Methodology  Exhaustive review and critical analysis of existing literatures.  Theoretical and methodological framework used in similar studies will be scrutinized to apply in the context of Bangladesh.  Different actors will be delineated from government strategies (i.e. NAPA 2005, BCCSAP, 2009 etc.), prior research and grey literatures.  Interaction and cross-relation between them will be analyzed to fulfil the research aim and to answer the subsequent research question. Source: Anonymous (n.d.) 5
  7. 7. Contribution of the Dissertation Project to Existing Research  Despite recent constructive efforts (Juhola and Westerhoff 2011; Keskitalo 2010; Termeer et al. 2011; Urwin and Jordan 2008; Westerhoff et al. 2011), multilevel adaptation is still under-researched.  Adaptation research has focused on a single level of governance (particularly, the national level) and has paid limited attention to cross-level interactions (Bulkeley and Betsill 2005).  This will be the pioneer study regarding environmental governance in Bangladesh with a special focus on climate change adaptation. 6
  8. 8. References Adger, W.N., Brown, K. and Tompkins, E.L. (2005). The Political Economy of Cross-Scale Networks in Resource Co-Management. Ecology and Society, 10(2). Banglapedia.(2012). Natural Hazard. National Encyclopaedia of http://www.banglapedia.org/HT/N_0136.htm [Accessed: February 10, 2013]. Bangladesh. [online]. Available from: Bulkeley, H. and Betsill, M. (2005). Rethinking Sustainable Cities: Multilevel Governance and the ‘Urban’ Politics of Climate Change. Environmental Politics, 14(1), pp.42–63. Juhola, S. and Westerhoff, L. (2011). Challenges of adaptation to climate change across multiple scales: A case study of network governance in two European countries. Environmental Science and Policy, 14(3), pp.239–247. Keskitalo, E.C.H. ed. (2010). Developing Adaptation Policy and Practice in Europe: Multi-Level Governance of Climate Change. Dordrecht; Heidelberg; London; New York: Springer. Lemos, M.C. and Agrawal, A. (2006). Environmental Governance. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 31(1), pp.297–325. Ostrom, E. (2010). Polycentric Systems for Coping with Collective Action and Global Environmental Change. Global Environmental Change, 20(4), pp.550–557. Fidelman P.I.J. et al. (2013). Unpacking Multilevel Adaptation to Climate Change in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Global Environmental Change, 23(4), pp. 800-812. Termeer, C. et al. (2011). The Regional Governance of Climate Adaptation: A Framework for Developing Legitimate, Effective, and Resilient Governance Arrangements. Climate Law, 2(2), pp.159–179. Termeer, C. Et al. (2010). Disentangling Scale Approaches in Governance Research: Comparing Monocentric, Multilevel, and Adaptive Governance. Ecology and Society, 15(4), p.29. Urwin, K. and Jordan, A. (2008). Does Public Policy Support or Undermine Climate Change Adaptation? Exploring Policy Interplay Across Different Scales of Governance. Global Environmental Change, 18(1), pp.180–191. Westerhoff, L. et al. (2011). Capacities Across Scales: Local to National Adaptation Policy in Four European Countries. Climate Policy, 11(4), pp.1071–1085. Young, O. (2006). Vertical Interplay Among Scale-Dependent Environmental and Resource Regimes. Ecology and Society, 11(1). [online]. Available from: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol11/iss1/art27/ [Accessed: February 10, 2013].

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