Learning from cross-border mechanisms to support climate change adaptation in Australia

Authors: Wendy Steele, Leila Eslami-Andargoli, Florence Crick, Silvia Serrao-Neumann, Lila Singh-Peterson, Pat Dale, Darryl Low Choy, Ilva Sporne, Scott Shearer and Anne-Sophie Iotti
Year: 2013

This study concluded that climate change adaptation is not being sufficiently addressed as a cross-border issue within the 3-tier Australian government system, despite the recognition that the impacts of climate change do not adhere to human-imposed geographical borders. Adaptation issues are typically reflected as ‘local’ in the climate change adaptation literature, but in actuality, there are significant adaptation issues that are regional and cross-border in scale. This study identified sigificant challenges (legal, institutional, cultural and historical) impeding cross-border collaboration between states to address climate change adaptation. Results gathered from case study analysis, interviews and stakeholder workshops (with Local Government, State Government, and NGOs) highlight the need for a broader focus on adaptation planning across-borders. Compared to formalised regulatory state mechanisms, informal collaborative transboundary arrangements can yield a mixture of benefits and disbenefits. This report contains specific findings on cross-border institutional arrangements in Australia from 4 themed case studies 1) the Murray Darling Basin Agreement (water security theme), 2) the Australian Alps Cooperative Management Agreement (conservation, fire & biodiversity management theme), 3) the ACT and NSW regional collaboration (urban growth and planning theme), and 4) the Cross-Border [disaster management] sub-plan 2010 between the Gold Coast City, QLD and Tweed Shire Council, NSW (disaster and emergency management theme).

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