Press release

International think tanks launch ground-breaking guide for policy making in uncertain times

November 30, 2009

NEW DELHI—December 1, 2009—"It is imperative to develop a new generation of adaptive policies to meet the risks and challenges posed by climate change," said Rajendra K. Pachauri, at the launch of a ground-breaking policy-making guide to help navigate today's complex, dynamic and uncertain terrain.

"By acknowledging uncertainty, we can design policies that help adapt to future stresses more effectively," he said.

Creating Adaptive Policies: A guide for policy –making in an uncertain world, was written to help policy-makers make policies that help people weather a perfect storm of global crises—especially in the context of climate change and other pressing social, environmental and economic issues.

The guidebook is the culmination of four years of research undertaken by the Canadian-based International Institute for Sustainable Development and India's The Energy and Resources Institute. It was edited by IISD's Darren Swanson and Teri's Suruchi Bhadwal.

"The guidebook helps us develop adaptive policies that perform effectively under dynamic and uncertain conditions," said IISD president and CEO David Runnalls. "Far from serving the public good, non-adaptive policies may actually get in the way."

Stephen McGurk, director of Canada's International Development Research Centre's regional office in South Asia and China, which provided financial support and advice for the project, said a diversity of policy tools are needed to address uncertain conditions. "Decentralized policy applications can enable innovation compared with catch-all national level policies that are not informed by local conditions."

The book describes seven tools to craft more adaptive policies that match the complexity of sustainable development.  It also includes a number of specific case examples that may resonate most closely with policy-makers working in agriculture and water resource management sectors, and for policy-makers dealing with climate change issues, though the tools are relevant to any complex policy issue.

As nongovernmental organizations, IISD and TERI have over 50 years of collective operational experience in sustainable development research and practice.

For more information, please contact IISD media and communication officer, Nona Pelletier Phone: +1-(204)-958-7740, Cell: +1-(204)-962-1303.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.