Factors and measures that overcome barriers to adaptation

Synthesis and Integrative Research Program


Climate change adaptation is a relatively new concept; adaptation can be complex and difficult to achieve. There are barriers at a variety of different institutional levels that prevent adaptation from occurring, that make adaptation less efficient or effective, or may be costly to overcome. By identifying barriers to climate change adaptation at different institutional scales, developing solutions to those barriers and reporting these solutions in an easily accessible fashion to a variety of decision makers, it is possible for adaptation practitioners to begin their work at a relatively progressed stage rather than from first principles. This increases the likelihood of success and potentially the scale at which adaptation measures are planned and implemented.

This project aims to identify the ‘primary barriers’ to effective adaptation in Australia. These ‘primary barriers’ are the six to ten most significant barriers that are likely to determine whether adaptation is considered and implemented. This acknowledges that there are a multitude of real and potential barriers, but that there are a few which are more common and substantial in their effect and where research activity may most usefully be concentrated.

Successful adaptation initiatives and projects should be identified through literature reviews, case studies, practitioner workshops and other relevant approaches. Case studies should include different levels of government (Commonwealth, State, Local and Regional Natural Resource Management Groups) and industry (small to large scale).

These case studies should yield insights in relation to:
• Substantial primary barriers
• How substantial barriers may be overcome; and
• Success factors.

The research should result in the following outcomes including:
• A compilation of ‘primary barriers’.
• An explanation of what makes these primary barriers substantial in some cases, and not in others.
• How have substantial barriers been addressed and overcome?
• A collation of common success factors, and consideration of whether they were universal success factors or specific to adaptation at particular scales or sectors.

The research will inform adaptation practitioners and decision makers about barriers to adaptation and how they can be overcome. Therefore, the project needs to include a check list of substantial barriers and a toolkit of interventions that may enable practitioners to overcome these barriers.