Time: October 20 and 21, 2014
Venue: Vitenparken, Ås
The main goal of this two-day conference is to assess and summarize experiences that illuminate the importance of political processes in climate change adaptation. The conference gathers a growing community of researchers focusing on political and social relations inherent in adaptation processes. It aims at examining the findings from a recent research project (“The politics of climate change adaptation: exploring the interactions of climate and development interventions in Mongolia and Nepal”, 2011-2014) in a broader context, benefiting from inputs from leading international academics in the field of climate change adaptation and policy makers as well as practitioners working with the implementation of adaptation policies.
The format of the conference – a targeted audience of max 50 and a number of invited keynote speakers – is aimed at facilitating focused discussion and researcher – practitioner interaction.
The theoretical starting point of the conference is that adaptation to climate change is a profoundly political process. We propose that many current definitions of adaptation routinely mask the social processes that mediate individual and societal responses to climate change, and the different interests, authorities and powers that interact and compete to determine (formally and informally) what types of responses are put in place. We refer to these interactions and competitions as the politics of adaptation. An underlying theme of the conference is the need for a redefinition of ‘adaptation’ in order to take account of the operation of power within climate change responses and of the multi-scalar politicised relationships that begin within households and extend to the global scale. We argue that more attention to historical antecedents, social relations, discourses, and institutional dynamics across scales better captures the drivers and processes inherent in climate change adaptation. If these issues are ignored, adaptation efforts run the risk of exacerbating, rather than reducing, inequities and vulnerability.
The invited participants for this conference will employ empirical material from different geographical contexts to illustrate how local adaptation processes are influenced by political dynamics related to particular development interests, power struggles and inequities at global, national and local levels. These experiences are set in the context of current state of knowledge of adaptation more broadly, with a session devoted to policy dialogue. The conference provides an arena for sharing of experiences between researchers and practitioners involved with the implementation and funding of climate change adaptation programmes and processes. Such a combination of experiences is intended to strengthen our understanding of adaptation processes and how increasing levels of climate change funding can be channeled into actions that effectively reduce vulnerability and contribute to more climate resilient development pathways.