Role clarification for local institutions: a missing link in multi-level adaptation planning? Insights from a multiple case study in Botswana

Obakeng A. Sethamo, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Marie K. Harder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The meaningful engagement of community-based actors in climate change adaptation planning is crucial for effective plans, but achieving it is an ongoing challenge, even with participatory methods. In this paper we explore very different approach, using shared-values crystallization as a pre-process to standard vulnerability risk assessments (VRAs), which recently reported significant impacts on plans produced. We posit this could be due to learning via changed local perceptions of roles, and we use multiple-case study work with five Village Development Committees (VDCs) in North East District, Botswana, and examine VRA outputs, and pre- and post-VRA interview transcripts, for evidence. Findings indicate that VDC members who took part in the shared-values pre-process significantly clarified and prioritized their general roles, and subsequently engaged more deeply in the planning process, taking more responsibility and ownership for the final adaptation plans. They related climate risks to their local lived-realities better, producing quality action plans, funding innovations and mainstreaming of adaptation into wider local plans, alongside an eagerness to present ideas to higher-governance levels. These findings suggest the shared-values pre-process could be immediately valuable for multilevel adaptation planning practices, and that the concept of role clarification deserves more specific consideration in academic studies on participation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages13
    JournalClimate and Development
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information: This work was funded indirectly through the China National Thousand Talents Program funding the post of MKH, and builds directly on work funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (grant number 212237) under the ‘Research for the Benefit of Specific Groups: Civil Society Organizations’, ESDinds.


    • shared values
    • WeValue InSitu
    • local adaptation plan
    • village development committee
    • vulnerability risk assessment
    • multilevel adaptation
    • Shared values


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