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from command-and-control regulations through to market- based measures in response to environmental problems. There are many examples where decisive government intervention has delivered major environmental benefit and transformed existing systems (e.g. the phase out of ozone-depleting substances, and the control of oil pollution from ships in the marine environment).


However, sometimes traditional governance approaches have their limits, including when what is needed is transformative change. Socio-ecological systems are increasingly complex in the variety of their components and their interactions so that it is not always possible to predict in advance what impact policy measures may have (Young 2017). Therefore, in addressing cross-cutting challenges, requiring whole-of-system change, there needs to be a willingness on the part of governments to engage in a reflective and experimental process of ‘learning by doing’, including regulatory experiments to test the feasibility of various approaches (e.g. Ostrom et al. 2007; Dryzek 2014).


This process of ‘transformative learning’ (ESCAP, ADB and UNDP 2018) can promote innovation by enabling experimentation through:


i.


creating and highlighting opportunities for communities to embrace new and alternative visions for serving human needs in a sustainable way;


ii. enabling the participation of new actors that can provide more sustainable resources and services; and


iii. transparently phasing out existing unsustainable structures.


Government has an important role in this process but there is a broader dynamic at play in which it is possible to achieve ‘governance without government’ (Ostrom 1990). Key to this process is social mobilization around shared values and a vision for just and sustainable systems.


17.2.1 Evaluating the effectiveness of policies for cross- cutting issues


On the basis of our continually improving understanding of environmental policymaking, it is possible to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental policies that address cross- cutting issues and their systemic drivers. This not only refers to their immediate or short-term performance in achieving their specific targets, but also to their potential to engender systemic transformation. There are two key criteria in this respect, namely the objective of the policy and the outcome of the transformation.


This chapter focuses on four cross-cutting global-scale sustainable development challenges and asks:


i. What are the most urgent changes required in the system? ii. Which elements of the system do policies seek to address? iii. What has been done to date and how effective have these measures been?


iv. What is the transformative potential of the policy approaches discussed?


In undertaking this assessment, four sustainability challenges are examined through the lens of specific case studies which illustrate policy responses in a range of different settings and


highlight challenges and opportunities for policy design and implementation. This chapter also provides broader insights on the effectiveness of cross-cutting environmental policies by examining policy-sensitive indicators.


17.3 Adapting socioeconomic systems to be more resilient to climate change


Climate change adaptation is a critical issue for coastal cities and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as these are places where exposure to climate change impacts is increasing dramatically because of sea level rise. This is combined with dense populations and infrastructure along the coasts, rapid and often unplanned urbanization of low-lying areas, loss of ecosystems and environmental degradation, unsustainable management of natural resources, and lack of existing adaptive capacities.


Climate change adaptation needs to address both natural and human systems. Natural systems such as beaches, wetlands and coral reefs need to be protected by maintaining coastal ecosystems and processes and preventing erosion and flooding. Human systems – including settlements, industry, infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, recreation and health – must be strengthened to become more climate-resilient. Adaptation strategies have recognized the special importance of safeguarding the most vulnerable groups, including Indigenous Peoples, women, children, those living with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged communities.


17.3.1 What are the most urgent changes required in the system?


The impacts of climate change differ across geographical locations, sectors and social groups. It particularly affects the lives, livelihoods and psychological well-being of the poor, vulnerable communities and people affected by disasters (Davis 2015; Dankelman 2016). Primary impacts include health risks related to temperature stress and extreme events leading to increased mortality and injury, internal and cross- border displacement, and infrastructure and economic loss and damages (Watts et al. 2015; Grimmins et al. 2016; Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre [IDMC] and Norwegian Refugee Council 2017). The secondary health impacts are mediated via the environment, including increased risk of climate-sensitive disease, which can be vector-, water- or food-borne. Tertiary impacts are socially mediated and include migration and conflicts (Watts et al. 2015). This requires adaptive responses to protect, preserve and promote human health and well-being.


What elements of the system do the policies seek to address? Adaptation to sea level rise in coastal cities and SIDS seeks to address vulnerability to the following climate change impacts: coastal erosion, sea level rise, floods, and extreme events. They are generally categorized as ‘protect’, ‘accommodate’ or ‘retreat’:


v Protection of people and property by building higher seawalls, improving land-use management, developing new building codes to raise dwellings and infrastructure and reducing coastal erosion;


v Accommodation by changing the existing practices to make them more resilient to sea level rise, improving


Systemic Policy Approaches for Cross-cutting Issues 429 17


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