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Planning and implementing climate change responses in the context of uncertainty

Significant uncertainties around future climate change challenge the implementation of policies and programmes. Mobilising action that can respond to climate change and be flexible enough to learn from new experiences as well as adapt to unknowns is difficult, given traditional short-term timeframes, sector silos and the predominantly top-down nature of planning cycles. Process-driven approaches, such as social learning, offer a more flexible approach to tackling climate uncertainties. These approaches place the emphasis on building the capacity, knowledge, evidence and stakeholder relationships necessary to support first short-term and then longer-term decision making and action.

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Fisher, S, Garside, B, Van Epp, M, Dodman, D, D’Errico, S, Anderson, S and Carlile, L. 2016. Planning and implementing climate change responses in the context of uncertainty: exploring the importance of social learning and the processes of decision-making. IIED Working Paper. IIED, London.

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Uncertainty about the speed and impacts of climate change makes it difficult to design and implement policies that are resilient to long-term climate shocks and stresses. Institutional processes based on social learning offer a flexible approach that can help to address uncertainty and complexity, and enable effective climate responses.

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Using social learning to address climate uncertainties

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