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Preparing the ground for adaptation

1.6 Who are the main (internal and external) players and stakeholders in adaptation processes and how do I involve them?

Adaptation as a cross-cutting and cross-sectoral issue is of relevance and direct or indirect interest to a wide range of stakeholders. Their engagement and participation can also greatly support adaptation action. Identification, involvement and management of participatory processes might seem daunting; however, there is guidance available that helps streamline the process.


Cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including sectoral authorities, interest groups, NGOs or representatives from the private sector can be set up with different levels of involvement, e.g. access to information, consultation on specific issues of concern to participatory involvement throughout the whole process. The level of involvement can also change over the course of the adaptation process (e.g. high level when defining objectives vs. low level when working on an evaluation scheme). But when starting the process, the aims of the process as well as the role of stakeholders need to be clear and communicated to manage expectations.

All relevant authorities (e.g. responsible for health, civil protection, transport, energy, economy, finance, education etc.) need to be informed and involved in the adaptation process, receiving a clear mandate to take decisions in their fields of responsibility. This applies as well to the core team discussed in Q1.2. Their degree of involvement may vary from providing and exchanging information to building adaptive capacity or to taking decisions on adaptation within their sphere of authority.

It is also useful to make use of existing stakeholder platforms and institutional set-ups. For example, some cities may already have an established stakeholder participation process and institutional set-up for the involvement of stakeholders in sustainable development planning or urban spatial planning.

Some key points when involving stakeholders should be taken into account:

  • Every stakeholder involvement process is different and thus a diversified skill set (e.g. moderation, mediation, adaptation related knowledge) is needed to deal with the various possible developments in the phases of involvement;
  • Stakeholder involvement processes are resource intensive (e.g. human and financial) and thus a clear process design should be available right from the start to calculate resources needed by stakeholders as well as the organization team;
  • Short hand-outs about the process as well as minutes documenting the discussions and key results within the process should be prepared to guarantee the continuous information exchange and transparency;
  • Stakeholders need to be informed about the intended use of results and give their approval in case of a planned publication;
  • Careful consideration needs to be given regarding communication messages and tools for each type of stakeholder groups (See Q1.7).

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