By Nemanja Babic, Amanda Bednarz, Sidney Brown, Clair Leighton, Ashwina Mahanti, Mike Sintetos

Abstract: The role of institutions is critical to both climate change adaptation and development. Institutions bring in external resources, utilize location specific knowledge, and provide informational, technical and leadership support. Identifying who has access to institutions, what types of institutions are most frequently accessed, and how institutions can increase adaptive capacity are the key questions addressed in this report. The report is intended to inform the World Bank’s efforts to build and strengthen institutions to facilitate adaptation to climate change in developing countries. Data from household surveys conducted in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, the Dominican Republic and Mexico provided information on factors contributing to overall vulnerability, defined as a factor of exposure, adaptive capacity and sensitivity. Our analysis created groups of households clustered around these factors of vulnerability, and identified common relationships between groups. We found that groups with high exposure to climate hazards have invariably better access to institutions. Groups with better access also employ a greater number of adaptation strategies more frequently, and access government and civic organizations more than other types. Based on these relationships we suggest that to increase adaptive capacity in highly exposed areas, it is not necessary to create new institutions. We suggest that a more effective approach would be to strengthen existing institutions, especially government departments of natural resources, veterinary, health and agriculture, and civic organizations such as village committees, youth and women organizations. We also identified a relationship between market income and higher adaptive capacity, suggesting that institutions should encourage a diversity of assets, including a market income source. Finally, we identified the groups of households characterized as highly sensitive in order to identify their interaction with institutions. These groups currently have little to no institutional access, and considering the variability of climate change, are at risk of experiencing severe effects of climate hazards. Therefore we suggest that addressing the vulnerability of these groups preemptively is critical. Our findings suggest that as countries and development organizations are facing resource limitations, and environmental and demographic pressures, they should increase their efforts to build resilience in the communities through general adaptive capacity. Pre‐emptive activity instead of a risk management, re‐active approach will likely be more effective in addressing future climate change impacts.
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