Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 587–607 | Cite as

Too weak to lead: motivation, agenda setting and constraints of local government to implement decentralized climate change adaptation policy in Ghana

  • Issah Justice Musah-SuruguEmail author
  • Albert Ahenkan
  • Justcie Nyigmah Bawole


Local governments in developing countries are christened as proadaptation agents. However, global research effort has virtually ignored inherent adaptation policy implementation nuances in developing countries, ostensibly assuming that narratives from existing policy implementation literature could fill the void. Drawing on qualitative data from six LGs from Ghana, this paper examines the motivation, agenda setting processes and teething challenges constricting the implementation of decentralized climate change adaptation governance in Ghana. Though adherents of decentralization argue that local governments are more likely to conceive and implement proadaptation-related interventions, evidence from Ghana provides fascinating lessons. This paper shows that local governments’ ability to mainstream adaptation-related actions into local governance is constricted by taxonomy of local political economy issues and the “science-heaviness” of climate change. It concludes that local government are unlikely to be a fulcrum of adaptation governance as touted if reasonable efforts are not made at strengthening and broadening its resource basket.


Climate change Adaptation Local government Decentralization Governance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Issah Justice Musah-Surugu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Albert Ahenkan
    • 1
  • Justcie Nyigmah Bawole
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Administration and Health Services ManagementUniversity of Ghana Business SchoolAccraGhana

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