Embracing uncertainty while planning for resilience
How do we respond to a world of increasing uncertainty induced by climate change? Uncertainty plagues our world. On its own, it can destabilise nations, undermine decisions, and create poverty traps that derail global efforts to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreements, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and national development plans. Climate change raises the stakes, making it harder for decision makers to plan for the future due to rising sea levels, higher temperatures, erratic rainfall, failed crops, droughts, climate migration, and the spread of disease. So how do we respond to a world of increasing uncertainty induced by climate change? We would suggest that the answer lies in effective medium- to long-term adaptation planning. Key to this will be the formulation and implementation of national adaptation plans, which will support countries in achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris deal, and serve as a blueprint for future climate action. To implement these plans, we must better understand the nature of the risk, foster greater innovation, and increase understanding and ownership of these climate action plans. All of this implies placing climate change learning at the center of the national planning process.