Update from the Inter-Governmental Meeting on Adaptation to Climate Change

Based on the International Seminar on the Adaptation of Agriculture to Climate Change that I spoke at earlier this month, I must say that I was struck by two things.  First, I was optimistic at hearing the representatives from the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture from 10 Central and South American countries discuss the urgency of preparation for climate change.  Many spoke of noticeable changes at local levels that were directly and indirectly impacting at the scale of households, communities, and regions.  Second, I was saddened to think of the current political landscape back home with pointless political debates that take the focus off of the real problems that climate change poses to our own communities.  As evidenced by the 1000s of mayors signing on to climate change arrangements, local-level politicians see the effects at home.

Of course, I have no easy answers to this problem.  What I spoke about was the need for appropriate responses at multiple scales with polycentric coordination between groups at any given scale across multiple sectors as well as linkages across scale.  I also spoke about the need to shift our thinking about governance from one of government taking action to a more holistic vision of governance as one of responding to societal problems (like preparing for adaptation to climate change) through the coordination and collaboration of multiple types of groups – government agencies at all levels, NGOs, corporations, and civil society in general.  Again, no magic bullets.  But we can at least start with clear thinking.

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