2013 ADAPTool Application Adaptive Policy Analysis of Nova Scotia: Selected policies and programs of Nova Scotia Environment

By Livia Bizikova, Alexa Vodicka on March 21, 2014

The Adaptive Design and Policy Assessment Tool (ADAPTool) is an Excel-based online tool developed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and partners as a structured guide through an assessment process that compares existing policies and programs to the characteristics of adaptive policies.

The ADAPTool assesses policies or programs in relation to a defined stressor or external change. It produces two kinds of assessments: 1) it gauges the ability of existing policies or programs to support adaptation measures undertaken in response to the specified stressor by the policy target groups; 2) it assesses the general adaptability of the policies or programs themselves, which is to say, whether they likely to respond well under the influence of the defined changes as well as under unforeseeable changes in the future? The ADAPtool builds on IISD-led research on Creating Adaptive Policies.

In this pilot application, Nova Scotia Environment partnered with IISD to analyze three programs to assess their ability to contribute to both anticipated and unanticipated adaptation needs. The objective of the analysis, performed by IISD and the Government of Nova Scotia (Climate Change Directorate of Nova Scotia Environment), was to provide the government with a systematic assessment and understanding of the potential for its policies and programs to support climate change adaptation in the key aspects of environmental management, and to raise awareness and "mainstream" consideration of adaptation.

The analyzed policies performed well in terms of formally ensuring stakeholder consultations during the development and implementation of the policy and enabling self-organizing and networking. The policies addressed the need for the formal review processes and decentralization somewhat well. In these areas, there are often informal practices to ensure reviews and provide decision-making powers at the vertical level, but these procedures are not adequately formalized and/or the attempt to formalize these interactions could lead to unintended consequences undermining decentralization.

Finally, the analysis identified additional needs in adaptation, actors' capacities and overall diversity in economic, institutional and expenditure policies in order to create a robust set of policies that capture diverse adaptation stakeholders' needs. In the future, the subsectors in question would need to be assessed for their ability to meet these needs.

Report details

Climate Change Adaptation
ADAPTool Adaptive Policy
Focus area
Act Together
IISD, 2014