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Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-making in an Uncertain World

Darren Swanson and Suruchi Bhadwal
Sage Publications, IDRC

Available formats

Comprehensive in scope and grounded in actual case studies, this new contribution to public policy management backed by three expert sustainability organizations is a ‘how-to’ guide wrapped in clear and thoughtful analytical insight.
– David McLaughlin (President and CEO Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy)

A critically important read for policy-makers confronted with a ‘perfect storm' of global economic, social and environmental crises.
– Jim MacNeill (Secretary General of the World Commission on Environment and Development and President of MacNeill and Associates)

This is an essential toolkit for those in the business of making, recommending, learning about or teaching sensible and sound policy.
– Margaret Catley-Carlson (United Nations Secretary General Advisory Board on Water, Patron, Global Water Partnership, and Chair, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Water Security)

Today’s policy-maker has a tough job to do. Policies that cannot perform effectively under today’s complex, dynamic, and uncertain conditions run the risk of not achieving their intended purpose. Instead of helping, they may actually hinder the ability of individuals, communities, and businesses to cope with and adapt to change.

Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-making in an Uncertain World is the very first book to distill the principles of complex adaptive systems and adaptive management into practical guidance for policy-makers. It describes the concept of adaptive policy-making and presents seven tools for developing such policies. Based on hundreds of interviews from over a dozen policy case studies, this book serves as a pragmatic guide for policy-makers by elaborating these seven tools. It will be an invaluable information resource for technical policy-makers, politicians, and their advisors, as well as for those studying politics and international relations.

The editors

Darren Swanson is a Senior Project Manager working with the Measurement and Assessment Program at the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Canada.

Suruchi Bhadwal is an Area Convener of the Centre for Global Environment Research at The Energy and Resources Institute in India.