A global assessment of actors and their roles in climate change adaptation

Jan Petzold*, Tom Hawxwell, Kerstin Jantke, Eduardo Gonçalves gresse, Charlotta Mirbach, Idowu Ajibade, Suruchi Bhadwal, Kathryn Bowen, Alexandra paige Fischer, Elphin tom Joe, Christine j. Kirchhoff, Katharine j. Mach, D. Reckien, Alcade c. Segnon, Chandni Singh, Nicola Ulibarri, Donovan Campbell, Emilie Cremin, Leonie Färber, Greeshma HegdeJihye Jeong, Abraham marshall Nunbogu, Himansu kesari Pradhan, Lea s. Schröder, Mohammad aminur rahman Shah, Pauline Reese, Ferdous Sultana, Carlos Tello, Jiren Xu, Matthias Garschagen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


An assessment of the global progress in climate change adaptation is urgently needed. Despite a rising awareness that adaptation should involve diverse societal actors and a shared sense of responsibility, little is known about the types of actors, such as state and non-state, and their roles in different types of adaptation responses as well as in different regions. Based on a large n-structured analysis of case studies, we show that, although individuals or households are the most prominent actors implementing adaptation, they are the least involved in institutional responses, particularly in the global south. Governments are most often involved in planning and civil society in coordinating responses. Adaptation of individuals or households is documented especially in rural areas, and governments in urban areas. Overall, understanding of institutional, multi-actor and transformational adaptation is still limited. These findings contribute to debates around ‘social contracts’ for adaptation, that is, an agreement on the distribution of roles and responsibilities, and inform future adaptation governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1250-1257
Number of pages8
JournalNature climate change
Issue number11
Early online date12 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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