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With climate change adaptation emerging as a top priority in many developing countries, national governments and international and local organizations seek the most effective policy and governance mechanisms through which to foster progress. One avenue of keen interest is the devolution of authority for adaptation planning and implementation to the local level. To date, little research is available on the link between local governance effectiveness and progress on adaptation. To help address that need, this paper explores governance and climate change adaptation dynamics at the local level in Mali, focusing on the commune, the smallest-scale elected body. The discussion centers on a legally-mandated local planning process, for which community consultation is required, as the entry point to analyze the effectiveness of local efforts to identify and implement climate change adaptation priorities. The paper provides the results of activities undertaken by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), presenting findings from a qualitative study of five communes, together with a case study on Koro commune, which highlight lessons on integration of climate change adaption into commune level development plans. The discussion is intended to foster understanding of the opportunities and conditions that enable successful climate adaptation interventions at the local level, as well as the extent to which a decentralized system of government can confer an adaptive advantage. The key takeaway of the discussion is that even in the context of fundamental governance challenges, such as those Mali currently experiences, climate-resilient local planning is possible given adequate resources, technical expertise and commitment to engaging citizens in identifying priorities. This finding and others described here are relevant to national governments and other development actors investing in climate change adaptation at the local level.
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- Decentralized Governance and Climate Change Adaptation: Working Locally to Address Community Resilience Priorities
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