A framework for identifying and selecting long term adaptation policy directions for deltas

Natalie Suckall, Emma L. Tompkins, Robert J. Nicholls, Abiy S. Kebede, Attila N. Lázár, Craig Hutton, Katharine Vincent, Andrew Allan, Alex Chapman, Rezaur Rahman, Tuhin Ghosh, Adelina Mensah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Deltas are precarious environments experiencing significant biophysical, and socio-economic changes with the ebb and flow of seasons (including with floods and drought), with infrastructural developments (such as dikes and polders), with the movement of people, and as a result of climate and environmental variability and change. Decisions are being taken about the future of deltas and about the provision of adaptation investment to enable people and the environment to respond to the changing climate and related changes. The paper presents a framework to identify options for, and trade-offs between, long term adaptation strategies in deltas. Using a three step process, we: (1) identify current policy-led adaptations actions in deltas by conducting literature searches on current observable adaptations, potential transformational adaptations and government policy; (2) develop narratives of future adaptation policy directions that take into account investment cost of adaptation and the extent to which significant policy change/political effort is required; and (3) explore trade-offs that occur within each policy direction using a subjective weighting process developed during a collaborative expert workshop. We conclude that the process of developing policy directions for adaptation can assist policy makers in scoping the spectrum of options that exist, while enabling them to consider their own willingness to make significant policy changes within the delta and to initiate transformative change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)946-957
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date28 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Deltas
  • Framework
  • Policy
  • Transformation

Cite this