Advancements of sustainable development goals in co-production for climate change adaptation research

[Published 11 May 2022]

Scientific Publications

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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a new discursive regime that encompasses global environmental change challenges and sustainability sciences, including adaptation to climate change. Co-production of knowledge has become a key, intrinsic component in both sustainability sciences and adaptation research. In this review article, we investigate if and how the SDG agenda is included in the application of participatory approaches and co-production of knowledge for climate change adaptation. We review findings from such processes in projects whose objective is to foster adaptation in the context of SDGs and to categorize the methods employed to forward co-production. We investigate 1) whether and how co-production approaches localize SDG targets and address tradeoffs and synergies, 2) whether they focus on power asymmetries and political dimensions in such participatory processes, and 3) whether and how the literature show that the SDG agenda contributes to a shift in the role of researchers towards a more interventionist approach to co-production. Our results show that there is little evidence that the SDG agenda contributes to a shift towards more interventionist or transformative approaches within climate change adaptation. Further, we have a identified a missed opportunity in the exclusion of “social” SDGs (SDG 5 and 10) in the discussions of adaptation and co-production and SGDs. Most importantly, we find that participatory efforts, including the co-production of knowledge, for localizing SDG goals and resolving tradeoffs and benefits, are the most salient aspects that tie the three co-production – adaptation – the SDG agenda together. Such participatory localizing processes have a great potential in facilitating long-enduring empowerment and legitimacy in adaptation efforts.

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