While adaptation to changing circumstances is a phenomenon of all times, climate change has fuelled an interest in approaches and methods to anticipate longer-term change and uncertainty. Actors are looking for ways to navigate between ignoring uncertainties, for example by basing decisions on a single future scenario, and inaction, overwhelmed by uncertainty about the future.

An opening is offered by shifting attention from investing in reducing future uncertainties (better knowing the future) to the question: ‘What can we best do now to achieve our goals, knowing that the future is uncertain?’ This shift will require adjustment of regular planning approaches. Notably, problem analysis will have to include exploring the performance of current management approaches under a range of possible futures. Furthermore, the design and evaluation of options and strategies will have to explicitly account for future uncertainties.

A new approach for adaptation planning, adaptive delta management...

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