Most countries lack effective policies to manage climate risks, despite growing concerns with climate change. The authors analyzed the policy evolution from a disaster management to a risk management approach, using as a case study four agricultural droughts that impacted Uruguay's livestock sector in the last three decades. A transdisciplinary team of researchers, extension workers, and policy makers agreed on a common conceptual framework for the interpretation of past droughts and policies. The evidence presented shows that the set of actions implemented at different levels when facing droughts were mainly reactive in the past but later evolved to a more integral risk management approach. A greater interinstitutional integration and a decreasing gap between science and policy were identified during the period of study. Social and political learning enabled a vision of proactive management and promoted effective adaptive measures. While the government of Uruguay explicitly incorporated the issue of adaptation to climate change into its agenda, research institutions also fostered the creation of interdisciplinary study groups on this topic, resulting in new stages of learning. The recent changes in public policies, institutional governance, and academic research have contributed to enhance the adaptive capacity of the agricultural sector to climate variability, and in particular to drought. This study confirms the relevance of and need to work within a transdisciplinary framework to effectively address the different social learning dimensions, particularly those concerning the adaptation to global change.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Atmospheric Science