This article examines policy capacity for dealing with the effects of climate change. The case under study is the Delta Program in the Netherlands; a large-scale policy program to prepare the country for current and anticipated effects of climate change that runs until 2050. Using a qualitative case study approach, we examine how the actors involved design analytical capacity, operational capacity and political capacity to deal with the uncertainty and complexity that are inherent in this policy field. The context of climate change necessitates policy capacity that anticipates effects that are in themselves uncertain and ambiguous, span over decades of time, and involve many stakeholders. Our analysis shows how policy capacity was designed to allow for present-day interventions, while also enabling adaptation to new and emerging developments overtime. We conclude our article with theoretical and practical lessons about policy capacity for dealing with long-term uncertainty and complexity.

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Policy and Society
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Bloemen, P. (Pieter), van der Steen, M., & van der Wal, Z. (2018). Designing a century ahead: climate change adaptation in the Dutch Delta. Policy and Society. doi:10.1080/14494035.2018.1513731