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The relevance of a coproductive capacity framework to climate change adaptation: investigating the health and water sectors in Cambodia

Kathryn J Bowen, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University; Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia;
Fiona P Miller, Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, Australia; Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia
Va Dany, Department of Environment, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture, Bond University, Australia
Sonia Graham, Department of Resource Management and Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia


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Multiple active partnerships in the health and water sectors in Cambodia exist to address climate change adaptation, operating beyond typical sectoral and organizational divides. Decisions around national adaptation policy are made predominantly by the relevant lead ministry, contrasting with where funding originates from (i.e., major donors, multilaterals, United Nation agencies). Adaptation policy is thus the result of a process of coproduction by state and nonstate actors. The research we present sought to understand the relationships that exist between knowledge- and decision-makers with respect to climate change adaptation in the health and water sectors in Cambodia, and the factors that enabled or constrained these relationships. Forty-four interviews were conducted with representatives of 32 organizations. We found that coproductive relationships were most effective when there were clearly defined roles and responsibilities, coordination of technical and financial resources, and trust. The two key factors of coproductive capacity that enabled and supported these partnerships were scientific resources and governance capability. Ultimately, the roles and responsibilities given to various actors requires commensurate funding and greater consideration of existing relationships and power dynamics. The reliance on international scientific expertise also needs to be challenged so that local research capabilities can be developed and locally relevant, problem-specific information can be provided. The ongoing funding, codevelopment, and sharing of such knowledge would significantly enhance trust and cooperation.

Key words

actionable knowledge; Cambodia; climate change adaptation; knowledge production process; multiparty collaboration; social networks

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087