Envisioning robust climate change adaptation futures for coastal regions: a comparative evaluation of cases in three continents

Tom van der Voorn, Jaco Quist, Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Marjolijn Haasnoot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The paper reports on a comparative study of three different cases on vision and strategy development for climate change adaptation planning in (i) The South African Breede–Overberg Catchment, (ii) The Mississippi Estuary-New Orleans region and (iii) The Dutch Rhine-Meuse Estuary. The objective of the paper is twofold: to develop a better understanding of such processes and to further develop the Backcasting-Adaptive Management (BCAM) methodology. A framework for case evaluation is developed using six dimensions: (i) inputs and resources, (ii) future vision, (iii) stakeholder engagement, (iv) methodological aspects, (v) pathway development and (vi) impact. Major conclusions based on a cross-case comparison and testing propositions are (i) participatory vision development is a strong tool for climate change adaptation planning in different governance contexts and shows considerable diversity in its application in these contexts; (ii) a single, shared future vision is not a prerequisite for vision and pathway development and endorsement; (iii) broad stakeholder engagement enriches strategy development, but the involvement of marginal groups requires additional efforts and capacity building; (iv) multiple pathways and robust elements are useful but require novel expertise; and (v) more institutional embeddedness and support for participatory processes lead to better implementation of the outcomes of these processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-546
Number of pages28
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Backcasting
  • Climate adaptation
  • Pathways
  • Vision development


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