The Science-Policy Dialogue for Climate Change Adaptation in Mountain Regions

  • Thomas KohlerEmail author
  • André Wehrli
  • Elbegzaya Batjargal
  • Sam Kanyamibwa
  • Daniel Maselli
  • Urs Wiesmann


Mountains are among the regions most affected by climate change and they provide some of the most visible evidence of this change such as melting glaciers. While climate change is a global process, adaptation must be based on local contexts, especially in mountain regions with their varied natural and socio-cultural setting and highly differentiated effects of climate change at short distance. The need for mountain-specific adaptation is also given against the background of the key ecosystem goods and services, which they provide to humankind such as freshwater, and which are likely to be affected by climate change. Adaptation has to take place under conditions of uncertainty, but there are options such as Payment for Environmental Services (PES) that allow action under these conditions. Moreover, acting under uncertainty is nothing new for mountain communities. Addressing the science-policy dialogue, we show how this dialogue has been institutionalised in both developed and developing countries, by presenting examples from Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan, and Uganda. We then argue that closing the data gap relating to mountain climates and existing adaptive action could strengthen the science-policy dialogue substantially. To conclude, we advocate the establishment of mountain climate change observatories and the inventorying of promising adaptive action; highlight the need for capacity development and exchange across governmental and non-governmental institutions including mountain communities; and propose a funding window for climate change adaption in mountains for countries in need.


Mountains Climate change Specific adaptation Ecosystem services Science-policy dialogue Institutionalisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Kohler
    • 1
    Email author
  • André Wehrli
    • 2
  • Elbegzaya Batjargal
    • 3
  • Sam Kanyamibwa
    • 4
  • Daniel Maselli
    • 2
  • Urs Wiesmann
    • 5
  1. 1.Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Global Programme Climate Change GPCCSwiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDCSwitzerlandSwitzerland
  3. 3.Central Asia Mountain Hub (CAMH)University of Central AsiaBishkekKyrgyzstan
  4. 4.Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS)CambridgeUK
  5. 5.Institute of Geography (GIUB)University of BernBernSwitzerland

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