skip to Main Content

The Adaptive Capacity Wheel: a method to assess the inherent characteristics of institutions to enable the adaptive capacity of society

Gupta, Joyeeta, Catrien Termeer, Judith Klostermann, Sander Meijerink, Margo van den Brink, Pieter Jong, Sibout Nooteboom, and Emmy Bergsma. 2010. The Adaptive Capacity Wheel: a method to assess the inherent characteristics of institutions to enable the adaptive capacity of society. Environmental Science & Policy, 13 (6): 459-471.

Abstract

Climate change potentially brings continuous and unpredictable changes in weather patterns. Consequently, it calls for institutions that promote the adaptive capacity of society and allow society to modify its institutions at a rate commensurate with the rate of environmental change. Institutions, traditionally conservative and reactive, will now have to support social actors to proactively respond through planned processes and deliberate steps, but also through cherishing and encouraging spontaneous and autonomous change, as well as allowing for institutional redesign. This paper addresses the question: How can the inherent characteristics of institutions to stimulate the capacity of society to adapt to climate change from local through to national level be assessed? On the basis of a literature review and several brainstorm sessions, this paper presents six dimensions: Variety, learning capacity, room for autonomous change, leadership, availability of resources and fair governance. These dimensions and their 22 criteria form the Adaptive Capacity Wheel. This wheel can help academics and social actors to assess if institutions stimulate the adaptive capacity of society to respond to climate change; and to focus on whether and how institutions need to be redesigned. This paper also briefly demonstrates the application of this Adaptive Capacity Wheel to different institutions.

Keywords: Climate change; Governance; Institutions; Adaptive capacity; Criteria

You might like these publication categories

Recent publications

Climate Refugees: Global, Local and Critical Approaches

The last few years have witnessed a flurry of activity in global governance and international lawseeking to address the protection…

The Political Impact of the Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming Governance Through Global Goals?

Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the…

The Normative Foundations of International Climate Adaptation Finance

Billions of dollars are annually transferred to poor nations to help them adapt to the effects of climate change. This…