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

A guide for policy making in an uncertain world
IDRC | IISD | TERI    2009

Edited by Darren Swanson and Suruchi Bhadwal 


The imperative to marry our pursuits of economic, social and environmental well-being has never been so urgent. At the same time, the setting in which policy-makers must work has never been so complex and uncertain. And now the backdrop to this increasing urgency is a worsening global economic crisis, the likes of which most of us have never experienced—a crisis that came as a surprise to the majority of policy-makers.

We are in danger of approaching a perfect storm of global crises. A global food crisis reared its head early in 2008 and has not gone away, and the impacts of climate change are manifesting themselves faster than was projected some years ago as carbon continues to accumulate in our atmosphere at unprecedented rates. But with these unfortunate experiences we are learning some important lessons about our economy, society and environment. For example, the economic crisis illustrates just how interconnected our local and global economies have become. The food crisis has reminded us of the vulnerability of the poor to fluctuations in market prices for our most fundamental commodities. The climate change issue has illustrated the interconnections among our economy, our society and our environment. The carbon fuelling our economy is changing the global environment on a scale never experienced before.

It is indeed a very complex, dynamic and uncertain world.


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  • Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-making in an Uncertain World
  • Author/s: Darren Swanson and Suruchi Bhadwal, eds.
  • Publisher: Sage Publications, IDRC