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Adaptive capacity for climate change: principles for public sector managers


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Jacobs, B and Leith, PB 2010 , 'Adaptive capacity for climate change: principles for public sector managers' , Public Administration Today, vol. 23, no. July/September , pp. 49-57 .

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Adaptive capacity, vulnerability and resilience are terms that have recently
entered the publiC sector lexicon in relation to natural resource management
and climate change, often as hackneyed terms. Public sector managers are
being encouraged to consider adaptive capacity and resilience in relation to
a vast array of things including careers, landscapes, economies, communities,
families, cities and nations, often with little understanding of how the terms can
be practically applied to these contexts.
This paper draws focus on perhaps the most usefully applied of these terms -
adaptive capacity - as it relates to regional vulnerability assessment for climate
change. While responses to climate change at global and national scales have
been largely focussed on mitigation, it is now well accepted that adaptation
is a necessary part of climate change strategies that will involve responses at
regional and local scales (Schipper and Burton 2009).
Increasingly, public sector managers are being asked to lead and contribute
to assessments of regional vulnerability and to identify actions to enhance
adaptive capacity of local communities to climate variability and change. There
is a diverse academic literature on vulnerability and adaptive capacity but little
has been distilled into broad principles that can guide publiC sector practice. In
addition, because vulnerability and adaptive capacity are context specific, there
are currently few Australian examples that regional public sector managers can
draw on to inform their climate change strategies.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jacobs, B and Leith, PB
Journal or Publication Title: Public Administration Today
ISSN: 1832-0066
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Copyright © 2010, Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA)

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