Policies developed at national levels can be unresponsive to local needs. Often they do not provide the rural poor with access to the assets and services they need to allow them to innovate and adapt to the ways that increased climate variability and change exacerbate challenges to basic securities – food, water, energy, and well-being.
In development deficit circumstances, common pool resources are important for climate adaptation purposes. In order for climate adaptation actions to deliver resilience, local perspectives and knowledge need to be recognised and given due priority in formal planning systems. Basing formal adaptive development planning on local strategies can support and strengthen measures that people have been tested and know to work.
Local climate adaptation through collective action can address current increases in climate variability, future incremental changes, and the need to transform existing systems to deal with qualitative shifts in climate. These types of adaptation can work in cumulative ways. The results of local adaptation collective action that have benefits of low rivalry between users while being highly inclusive can be considered “local public goods”.
Evidence is beginning to emerge that when local governance systems facilitate high levels of participation in planning collective action for climate adaptation, and direct access to resources for implementing local plans, “local public goods” can be created and common pool resources better managed.