Adaptation pathways

Project aim. The aim of the overall project “exploring adaptation pathways” was to support policy makers in their task to develop long-term water-management strategies.

Approach. Exploring adaptation pathways is a method to generate and assess multiple futures, i.e. pathways, taking into account uncertainties of about the future, such as climate change or changes in perception of what we find desirable. My focus within this project was on the inclusion of the uncertainty of policy decision-making (social uncertainty) itself as a dynamic element in producing pathways. This was realised by 1) gaining more understanding of the policy decision-making process in water management. Interviews with long-term water policy makers in the Dutch Delta Programme resulted into an empirically-based conceptual model; and 2) by developing a theory-based agent-based model, coupling it to a river-model and applying the adaptation pathway method to generate and assess pathways.

Why? Scenario’s are often used by policy makers to develop good long-term strategies. It is challenging to think about to future and therefor important to develop dynamic and adaptive scenarios for long-term water management strategies.

Model. Computational model of policy arena dynamics as social uncertainty (agent-based model, policy modelling). The resulting social-ecological model allows for generating and analysing pathways/scenarios.