Managing climate change vulnerabilities: formal institutions and knowledge use as determinants of adaptive capacity at the local level in Sweden

Publisher's full text
Erik Glaas
Anna Jonsson
Mattias Hjerpe

Though managing vulnerabilities posed by climate change calls for effective strategies and measures, its challenges have hitherto not been fully understood. In Sweden, municipalities have recently started incorporating vulnerability management into their political and administrative agendas. This study discusses such experiences and explores how institutional determinants may influence adaptive capacity within a local case study area, to illustrate emerging challenges and opportunities for Swedish municipalities in managing climate vulnerabilities. Specifically, formal institutional structure and the use of knowledge are analysed, concluding that vulnerability management often is focused on technical and reactive fixes, due to limited cooperation between local sector organisations, lack of local co-ordination, and an absence of methods and traditions to build institutional knowledge. Even so, opportunities, such as a high capacity to examine risks to technical systems and important establishments which in turn facilitates protection of technical infrastructure exposed to climate variability and change, also exist.

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