Environmental and climate policy integration: Targeted strategies for overcoming barriers to nature-based solutions and climate change adaptation

Christine Wamsler, Björn Wickenberg, Helena Hanson, Johanna Alkan Olsson, Sanna Stålhammar, Helena Björn, H Falck, D Gerell, T Oskarsson, Evelina Simonsson, F Torffvit, F Zelmerlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (SciVal)


Nature-based adaptation planning is a challenging endeavor, not least because it requires transdisciplinary approaches to unite different actors' efforts and capacities. However, empirical knowledge on associated governance processes is scarce and fragmented. Against this background, this paper examines the integration of nature-based approaches for climate change adaptation into municipalities’ daily planning practices and associated governance. A city-to-city learning lab was established to systematically analyze selected urban development projects step-by-step, from the initial idea, to comprehensive and detailed planning, procurement, implementation, maintenance and follow-up. The results show the numerous constraints municipal staff face and how they use targeted strategies to overcome them and tap into existing drivers. We identify five, complementary strategies: i) targeted stakeholder collaboration; ii) strategic citizen involvement; iii) outsourcing; iv) the alteration of internal working structures; and v) concealed science–policy integration. Importantly, these strategies reveal an increasing need for relational approaches that, in turn, require individuals to develop the cognitive/emotional capacity to establish trust, communicate inclusively and promote social learning, while at the same time dealing with an increasingly complex and uncertain working environment. We conclude that tapping into the potential of nature-based solutions for climate adaptation governance requires more financial and human resources, and capacity development to support personal development, systematic mainstreaming and, ultimately, more sustainable development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-154
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 20

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Climate Research
  • Public Administration Studies


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