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Adaptive Planning

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The complexity and uncertainty of sustainable development demands that our systems of governance and our policies be adaptive. 

In fact, instead of helping, governance and policy that are not adaptive could actually hinder the ability of households, communities and businesses to cope with and adapt to change.

  • ADAPTool Applications: IISD’s ADAPTool has been used to analyze a range of Canadian policies for the ability to support sector-specific adaptation needs (e.g., in mining, forestry, agriculture), as well as to determine their own adaptive capacity. Successful pilot applications included a Manitoba pilot in 2012 with a suite of agricultural policies in partnership with the Prairie Regional Adaptation Collaborative. More recently, the ADAPTool was used to analyze policies in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. As well, a beta version of the ADAPTool for new policies was developed and pilot tested. More information on the results of these analyses and summaries, as well as guidance on how to use both versions of the ADAPTool, is available here.
  • Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-Making in an Uncertain World: IISD's guide for creating adaptive policies was designed to help decision makers and planners build a coherent set of governance and policy-making processes capable of anticipating change and performing successfully when faced with surprises.
  • Adaptive Policies Interactive Overview Presentation: Click below to access the adaptive policies overview. This interactive, cross-platform presentation answers several FAQs, including: Why are adaptive policies necessary? What are some examples of successful policies? What are the adaptive policies tools? How can you apply the adaptive policy tools?
  • IISD’s ADAPTool (Adaptive Design & Assessment Policy Tool): This policy self-assessment tool is designed to help policy-makers take stock of a suite of existing policies and programs that are being implemented to help stakeholders deal with a specific stressor (i.e., changing physical climate or market pricing shocks). ADAPTool is a Microsoft Excel workbook-based program, and takes the policy analyst through a series of questions to: (i) better define the vulnerability of specific economic sectors to a stressor; (ii) assess the ability of a suite of programs and policies to contribute to necessary adaptation actions and stakeholder adaptive capacity; and (iii) gauge the ability of the suite of programs and policies to address unanticipated stakeholder needs.

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