Topic 11: Governance of CAPs

Submitted by Robin Hocquet | published 30th Aug 2021 | last updated 13th Sep 2021

Background: The KE4CAP Synthesis Report

This topic page forms a chapter of the KE4CAP Synthesis Report, which brings together learning from across KE4CAP's activities, including five virtual knowledge exchange events, three bilateral knowledge exchange event series, and the KE4CAP Survey (see Further Resources for links to relevant pages). The KE4CAP project is providing a global forum for developers and operators of climate adaptation knowledge platforms (CAPs) to come together to share knowledge and best practices, and to work together to address common and emerging challenges.

This early summary (September 2021) aims to provide food for thought for the KE4CAP Synthesis Workshop and will be followed by a more detailed and further illustrated synthesis report (and further developed topic pages) in December 2021.

Introduction: Governance

Governance supports the process of decision-making, and involves different structures and mechanisms within CAPs that define the strategic and operational management of the platform. Critical elements include leadership and the active involvement of a range of stakeholders, including representatives from user groups, information providers, purveyors, and funders, and drawing on representatives from government, NGOs, industry, communities and the media. Lack of appropriate governance can lead to platform content with mixed credibility, relevance, quality assurance and utility, as well as to the potential proliferation of fragmented and uncoordinated information.

Lessons Learnt

Current practices 

  • Advisory groups/steering committees/program boards. Provide oversight, strategic direction and links to policy and user requirements, as well as advice and recommendations on the work programme and guidance on priority actions. Members can act as champions for the platform including in the context of increasing legitimacy and credibility.
  • Working groups. Focussed on specific areas of interest such as developing content, coordinating with users and networks, enhancing synergies across national, regional, and local activities, advising on engagement and communication, increasing the platform reach, identifying gaps, innovations and new technologies, and considering new data and research.
  • Coordination units. A focus for the overall governance structure and outward-facing elements. Day-to-day management, implementation of updating processes, responding to information requests, dissemination and communications, and monitoring use.  

Selected Innovations 

KliVO (Germany). A robust governance structure with two responsible government agencies working with an Inter-ministerial Working Group that coordinates work across government and provides additional legitimacy for the platform. Also supported by the Environment Agency, Met. Office and a research and development project that generates new input and ideas.

AdapteCCa (Spain) and Adapt2Climate (Belgium). Examples of effective working groups that maintain their own system of continual updating of tools and activities thus ensuring on-going provision of up-to-date information that responds to user needs.

Climateguide.fi, Finland is using the opportunity of a major redevelopment of the platform to strengthen governance structures in specific areas e.g., addressing multilingualism and the ongoing challenge of providing platforms in two official languages (Finnish and Swedish) and in English.

Shared challenges 

  • Providing a governance framework that ensures continuity and sustainability in a rapidly evolving environment (e.g., abrupt changes to funding, ending of collaborative partnerships, the need to augment governance structures to take account of a new or evolving delivery models).  
  • Balancing available resources as audiences and expectations grow and the need to maintain existing and develop new relationships. Need to adapt and streamline governance structures without impeding the ability to provide relevant services.
  • Securing resources across suitable timescales that allow platforms to develop.   
  • Encouraging recognition of platforms as an integral part of the wider knowledge base that supports adaptation policy development and action.