Do Adaptive Policies Mean Effective Policies? Implications for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

In Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference
Volume (Issue): 28-31 January 2013
Peer-reviewed Article
Do Adaptive Policies Mean Effective Policies? Implications for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction

It has been widely regarded that policies that are adaptive in nature are better able to deal with dynamic and uncertain issues such as environmental degradation and climate change adaptation. However, verifying the veracity of this hypothesis is difficult in the field of climate change often due to absence of long experience of policy making for climate change adaptation in most countries in general. Hence, this study, which is based on a country study of natural resource management policies in Japan, looks into how various natural resource management and disaster risk reduction related policies have evolved over the years along with the evolving issues that they are designed to address and tries to answer questions such as how adaptive policies are in Japan, does adaptive policies relate to the effectiveness of policies and problem solving, and what are the political, institutional, economic and social factors that will lead to adaptive but effective policies. This paper is derived from a set of consultations and questionnaire surveys conducted in Japan. While addressing the above research questions, this study aims to draw lessons for developing countries which often lookup towards developed countries for solutions including those in policy successes. One of the interesting outcome of this study has been that indicators such as ‘timeliness’ of introduction of policies and ‘regular updating’ of policies may not necessarily translate into effective policies since other factors such as how different stakeholders understand the issue that policy intends to address, understanding on the part of the governments and institutions on how a policy works on the ground after it is designed and implemented, and most importantly the driving forces that are behind policy formulation and implementation determines the effectiveness of any policy.

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