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Institutions Matter

Governments and other institutions can play a critical role in increasing society’s capacity to adjust as conditions shift and new climate change knowledge emerges. There is a need for change in the structure and function of many institutions if policies are to address the decision-making challenges posed by climate change, and to meet the needs of poor and vulnerable populations. WRI works to strengthen key institutions – such as an agriculture ministry, river basin authority, or village development committee – so that vulnerability and adaptation is integrated into core planning and programming.

The National Adaptive Capacity (NAC) framework evaluates national institutions’ performance of key functions critical to adaptation and provides a practical approach for planning through the identification of specific gaps in capacity that can be filled through investment and action. The NAC framework can be used to identify opportunities and priorities for building adaptive capacity and implementing key activities. After a period of time, it can be used again to evaluate progress. Ready or Not, our report on the pilot applications of the NAC framework in Bolivia, Ireland, and Nepal, suggests that the framework is useful across a range of countries and that it can be tailored to specific country contexts. The pilots used the NAC framework as a tool for monitoring and baseline setting, to catalyze action and fill key capacity gaps, and to gather and synthesize resources.

WRI’s Rapid Institutional Analysis for Adaptation (ARIA) tool enables civil society organizations to identify gaps in systems for vulnerability and impacts assessment, long-term planning, coordination, information management, and climate risk reduction. WRI’s provision of this tool for civil society organizations to evaluate institutional capacity is a key component of improving the systems of governance which aid in development and adaptation.

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