Your location: Home

Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, and vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

Stakeholder Networks and Institutions

The stakeholder networks and institutions approach focuses on understanding those who make the decisions and how they relate to one another. Building adaptive capacity over long time scales depends on understanding these relationships.

Institutions can be viewed as the collective rules, norms, and shared strategies that define stakeholder behavior. This approach posits that understanding present capacity is key to predicting how it is likely to evolve in response to future risks. These relationships can be complex, and unraveling them can require the use of a number of tools (see below).

Each stakeholder has different objectives, resources, and responsibilities, all of which must be investigated. Some stakeholders may have little voice in the process or may be assigned responsibilities in only part of the issue. New stakeholders may emerge and relationships may alter, particularly in a crisis.

Appropriate Use Useful in determining the present adaptive capacity and how that capacity might be developed in the future. In general stakeholder approaches are oriented toward research teams that support policy making. They help set the framework for evaluating specific measures, and thus from an early part of the decision process, as well as helping to monitor capability over a longer term.
Scope Global, but most appropriate at national or local level.
Key Output Characterization of stakeholders and institutions in terms of levels of participation, positions, and boundaries in policy making. Insight into institutional capacity to adapt.
Key Input A mixture of quantitative and qualitative data depending on actual tools employed in the approach.
Ease of Use Varies, but application of some tools requires specialist training in policy analysis. Some can be readily adopted by practitioners.
Training Required Some training is useful, but expertise in policy analysis is more important than specific analytical techniques.
Training Available Many training courses on stakeholder engagement exist.
Computer Requirements Computer access
Documentation Working papers on institutions, institutional analysis, stakeholders, and case studies are available online.

See for examples of applications.

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Dr. Thomas Downing

Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford Office, 10B Littlegate Street, Oxford, OX1 1QT, United Kingdom; Tel: +44.1865.202070; e-mail:

Cost No cost

See for links to references.
Ziervogel, G. and T. E. Downing. 2004. Stakeholder networks: Improving seasonal forecasts. Climatic Change 65(1-2):73-101.