To be effective, climate change adaptation needs to be mainstreamed across multiple sectors and greater policy coherence is essential. Using the cases of Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, this paper investigates the extent of coherence in national policies across the water and agriculture sectors and to climate change adaptation goals outlined in national development plans. A two-pronged qualitative approach is applied using Qualitative Document Analysis of relevant policies and plans, combined with expert interviews from non-government actors in each country. Findings show that sector policies have differing degrees of coherence on climate change adaptation, currently being strongest in Zambia and weakest in Tanzania. We also identify that sectoral policies remain more coherent in addressing immediate-term disaster management issues of floods and droughts rather than longer-term strategies for climate adaptation. Coherence between sector and climate policies and strategies is strongest when the latter has been more recently developed. However to date, this has largely been achieved by repackaging of existing sectoral policy statements into climate policies drafted by external consultants to meet international reporting needs and not by the establishment of new connections between national sectoral planning processes. For more effective mainstreaming of climate change adaptation, governments need to actively embrace longer-term cross-sectoral planning through cross-Ministerial structures, such as initiated through Zambia’s Interim Climate Change Secretariat, to foster greater policy coherence and integrated adaptation planning.

England, M.I., Dougill, A.J., Stringer, L.C. et al. Reg Environ Change (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-018-1283-0

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