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Foreign-Funded Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa: Mirroring Administrative Traditions or Traditions of Administrative Blueprinting?

Article | 01-11-2018

The impacts of climate change in Africa have triggered foreign donors to fund African adaptation to climate change. The findings of this study show that the foreign nature of these adaptation interventions might lead to organizational misfits and jeopardize the effectiveness of African adaptation to climate change.

Climate change impacts are most severe in developing countries with limited adaptive capacity. Accordingly, in Africa, adaptation to climate change impacts has become an issue of international funding and practice. Scientific literature on governance suggests however that traditional patterns of how governments are organized play a role in how adaptation to climate change plays out.

If these so called ‘administrative traditions’ affect adaptation to climate change this would raise questions about how foreign funding regimes with their own ideas and processes coincide with recipients’ administrative traditions. This is especially interesting on the African continent where administrative traditions are often meagerly established.

To address this question, this article takes an explorative approach. Using 34 African countries’ National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), we analyze how African governments define adaptation as a governance challenge. Our findings indicate that NAPAs only meagerly refer to African administrative traditions as important guidelines for the design of adaptation interventions, but extensively refer to blueprint ideas on governance dominant in development-aid discourse.

These blueprint ideas are often alien to the African administrative context, which can lead to implementation problems or failure.

Author(s)Martijn Vink and Greetje Schouten
Publication date01-11-2018
PublicationReview of Policy Research, Volume 35, Number 6 (2018)