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Keeping track of adaptation in the Dutch Delta

Other type | 06-06-2017

Throughout the world, adaptation to climate change is one of the major challenges. In the Netherlands, under the Delta Programme, adaptation strategies have been developed for flood protection, freshwater supply and spatial adaptation. Early in the  implementation phase, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency was asked to develop a framework for the monitoring and evaluation of the Delta Programme.

In the Netherlands, the Delta Programme protects against flooding and ensures a sufficient supply of fresh water. The Delta Programme is being led by the Delta Commissioner, appointed by the national government.

The main themes of the Delta Programme are: flood-risk management, freshwater supply and spatial adaptation. In the implementation stage, the Delta Programme focuses on adaptive management — given the uncertainties that lie ahead — seeking the participation of a wide range of stakeholders and the adoption of a broad and integral approach that can coalesce their ambitions and efforts.

The Delta Programme is a nation-wide initiative with a complex network structure involving many parties, such as provincial authorities, municipalities, district water boards, social organisations and private stakeholders. Together, they form the delta community. In line with the characteristics of the Delta Programme and at the request of the Delta Programme Commissioner, PBL’s design for a monitoring and evaluation framework is based on a reflexive approach, in combination with the challenges related to adaptation. The report presents concrete recommendations for the set-up of a monitoring and evaluation system, with respect to:

  • Increasing the Delta Programme's capacity for systemic learning

  • Integrating adaptive management

  • Creating a basis for shared accountability

  • Creating a basis for trust and transparency

PBL developed the reflexive framework for the Delta Programme in close collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (UvA), providing expertise on reflexive approaches and policy learning, and the Delft University of Technology (TUD), who provided expertise on adaptive delta management.

Author(s)Willem Ligtvoet, Eva Kunseler en Ron Franken
Publication date06-06-2017