Assessment of institutional capacity to adapt to climate change in transboundary river basins

Anita Milman, Lisa Bunclark, Declan Conway, William Neil Adger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Responses to climate change in transboundary river basins are believed to depend on national and sub-national capacities as well as the ability of co-riparian nations to communicate, coordinate, and cooperate across their international boundaries. We develop the first framework for assessing transboundary adaptive capacity. The framework considers six dimensions of transboundary river basins that influence planning and implementation of adaptation measures and represents those dimensions using twelve measurable indicators. These indicators are used to assess transboundary adaptive capacity of 42 basins in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Sahel. We then conduct a cluster analysis of those basins to delineate a typology that includes six categories of basins: High Capacity, Mediated Cooperation, Good Neighbour, Dependent Instability, Self-Sufficient, and Low Capacity. We find large variation in adaptive capacity across the study area; basins in Western Europe generally have higher capacities to address the potential hazards of climate change. Our basin typology points to how climate change adaptation policy interventions would be best targeted across the different categories of basins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-770
Number of pages16
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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