Governance and institutions are critical determinants of adaptive capacity and resilience. Yet the make-up and relationships between governance components and mechanisms that may or may not contribute to adaptive capacity remain relatively unexplored empirically. This paper builds on previous research focusing on integrated water resources management in Brazil to ‘unpack’ water governance mechanisms that may shape the adaptive capacity of water systems to climatic change. We construct a river basin index to characterize governance approaches in 18 Brazilian river basins, apply a reliability test to assess the validity of these governance indicators, and use in-depth qualitative data collected in a subsample of the basins to explore the relationship between the governance indicators and adaptive capacity. The analysis suggests a positive relationship between integrated water governance mechanisms and adaptive capacity. In addition, we carry out a cluster analysis to group the basins into types of governance approaches and further unveil potential relationships between the governance variables and overall adaptive capacities. The cluster analysis indicates that tensions and tradeoffs may exist between some of the variables, especially with equality of decision making and knowledge availability; a finding that has implications for decision makers aiming to build adaptive capacity and resilience through governance and institutional means.
Global Environmental Change – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2010
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