Creating Adaptive Policies

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January 30, 2018

Presented by:

  • Darren Swanson (Associate of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Consultant to the United Nations Development Group, and Director of Novel Futures Corporation)

Public policies that cannot perform effectively under today’s complex, dynamic and uncertain conditions run the risk of not achieving their intended purpose. Instead of helping, they may actually hinder the ability of individuals, communities and businesses to cope with and adapt to change.

Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-making in an Uncertain World was among the very first books to distill the principles of complex adaptive systems and adaptive management into practical guidance for policy-makers. It describes the concept of adaptive policy-making and presents seven principles for creating adaptive policies. The insights are also relevant for creating adaptive strategies and plans at national, provincial and local levels.

As a companion to the book the Adaptive Design and Assessment Policy Tool, or ADAPTool for short, brings the seven principles together in a Microsoft Excel-based self-assessment tool for policy-makers to gauge just how adaptive a policy is to a given stressor and how well it is contributing to the adaptation needs of stakeholders, be it related to climate change, economic shocks or other socio-economic and environmental stresses.

This webinar gave an overview of the seven principles for creating adaptive policies and presented example applications of the ADAPTool to climate change adaptation policies in four Canadian provinces.