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Tailoring climate adaptation services: what works when and why?

  • 1 January, 2019
  • Wageningen University, Water Systems and Global Change
  • prof. dr F Ludwig
  • dr GR Biesbroekdr H Goosen

Project Background
Climate adaptation services can support public and private actors to anticipate the impacts of climate change. Using a broad definition of climate services, these services may include climate projections, impact studies, risk assessments, effectiveness studies of adaptation options, learning from best practices, and can vary from extensive technical reports to attractive simple visuals.

A main challenge in developing climate services is to offer services that fit the user needs but that have a strong scientific foundation. In practice many services still remain unused, for example because the service is too complex, not sector specific or irrelevant for the decision-to-make. In this context much research focuses on co-production processes, visualisation techniques and other approaches to develop better tailored services. Also, in the practical work field a diversity of innovative and creative approaches is applied.

Literature is replete with ‘good practices’ of climate service production and use. The actual success of climate services, however, is poorly understood and evaluated. Creating a comprehensive conceptual understanding of the successful production and use of climate services is constrained by the ambiguous use of terms for analysis, the fragmentation of the systems that are studied, and the ad hoc analysis of the scales (e.g. micro, meso, macro) and climate service components (product, process, context).

Aim and approach
There is a need for empirical evidence on tailoring-approaches that work. This research aims to understand and explain how successful climate services can be produced and evaluated. To this purpose a systematic literature review, expert elicitation study and case study are performed to define success and identify critical factors that contribute to it. These studies result in a framework that will be tested by using a fuzzy-set-QCA to explore the configurational nature of factors leading to success in ~30 cases (e.g. what practices work in what context?).

The research will focus specifically on services that aim to support transformational types of adaptation in the Netherlands and in Bangladesh. For data collection, much empirical material is available through the projects of Climate Adaptation Services (CAS), in which the PhD student is working 3.5 days/week. CAS performs projects for the Dutch Delta Programme Spatial Adaptation (e.g. Knowledge Portal Spatial Adaptation, Climate Impact atlas) and a diversity of smaller projects for municipalities, water boards, provinces as well as for private parties and specific sectors. Outside the Netherlands CAS is active on the European level (ECMWF) and in Asian and Africa countries.

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Researcher

Eva Maria Boon

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