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National government is at the heart of climate change action in the Caribbean

New analysis of over a decade’s-worth of research on climate change in the Caribbean, suggests that national governments are important drivers of co-ordinated climate change action in the region. The research acknowledges the importance of ‘bottom-up’, community level approaches, but found that in isolation they are insufficient to meet the complex challenges posed by climate change. Delivering coordinated climate change action at the regional, national and local level, therefore was shown to require government to actively intervene to drive the process. To that extent, the research suggests that climate change adaptation is a question of governance.

The findings come from a newly-released ‘knowledge package’ that draws on research from projects that have been conducted in the Caribbean over the past 10 years. Funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), these projects produced many research papers, case studies, and decision-support tools, which have progressed thinking and action on climate change in the region.

For the first time, the outputs of a cross section of these projects have been systematically analysed and organised to identify cross-cutting lessons. This, the first of four planned knowledge packages, focuses on the role of national government in the resilience building process.

As well as providing new insight, the package acts as a gateway to CDKN-funded climate research into national governments’ role in building climate resilience. Research from across three projects has been compiled and can be accessed through the CDKN website by visiting:

The work identifies best practice lessons on governance, highlights examples from applied case studies in Caribbean countries, and recommends tools and methods that can be applied to make governance frameworks more effective at delivering climate compatible development.

This knowledge package shows that national governance frameworks must foster community action, but also provide the enabling environment for large investments, and transformative change at scale. The challenge national governments face is to coordinate adaptation interventions at both national and local levels by engaging multiple organisations and individuals.

Key findings from the research include:

  1. Policy and governance arrangements at the national level are vital for climate adaptation. Local action is important but is insufficient in isolation.
  2. National governments provide strategic oversight, access to climate finance and have the capacity and authority to drive climate action.
  3. Climate change considerations should be integrated into policies and plans across government departments. The CCORAL tool allows decision-makers to do just that.
  4. Institutional arrangements are vital to help translate government policy into action. Governments can use the ARIA tool to assess their institutional adaptive capacity as a first step to strengthening these frameworks.
  5. Government institutions are vital to stimulate action at the local level. Networked governance arrangements can help to build movements for climate resilience that help translate national priorities into local action and integrate local needs into national policy.

An information brief, video and infographic have been produced which identify the most important findings from the research. To access these and to find out more about the research on which they were based visit:

Policy brief: Driving, connecting and communicating: The many roles of national government in climate adaptation planning

Video: National governance and climate change in the Caribbean

Infographic: CDKN funded research in the Caribbean shows that national policy and institutions are vital for climate adaptation

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