Barriers and opportunities for robust decision making approaches to support climate change adaptation in the developing world


Climate change adaptation is unavoidable, particularly in developing countries where the adaptation deficit is often larger than in developed countries. Robust Decision Making (RDM) approaches are considered useful for supporting adaptation decision making, yet case study applications in developing countries are rare. This review paper examines the potential to expand the geographical and sectoral foci of RDM as part of the repertoire of approaches to support adaptation. We review adaptation decision problems hitherto relatively unexplored, for which RDM approaches may have value. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, suggest potential sectors for application and comment on future directions. We identify that data requirements, lack of examples of RDM in actual decision-making, limited applicability for surprise events, and resource constraints are likely to constrain successful application of RDM approaches in developing countries. We discuss opportunities for RDM approaches to address decision problems associated with urban socio-environmental and water-energy-food nexus issues, forest resources management, disaster risk management and conservation management issues. We examine potential entry points for RDM approaches through Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments, which are relatively well established in decision making processes in many developing countries. We conclude that despite some barriers, and with modification, RDM approaches show potential for wider application in developing country contexts.

Bhave, Ajay Gajanan, Conway, Declan, Dessai, Suraje and Stainforth, David A. (2016) In: Climate Risk Management, 14 . pp. 1-10. ISSN 2212-0963