The focus of much adaptation research has been at the local scale, such as on local governments and community-based adaptation, due to the framing of adaptation as a ‘local’ issue. However, the bulk of this research has not always considered the multiple levels involved in adaptation governance in different country contexts, which all impact on the constraints on sub-national level adaptation implementation in particular. In this chapter the authors aim to explain constraints to adaptation within three different jurisdictions (Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu) based on their experiences in conducting adaptation research in the respective countries. They discuss the similarities and differences in how different governance arrangements enable or constrain local-level action, and to what extent the sub-national level is best placed to implement adaptation. They find that the sub-national level (for example, local governments) in most cases remains underfunded, leading to constraints in implementing adaptation planning and policies. Although all countries share types of Westminster system of governance, the arrangements for adaptation differ significantly, as does the locus of decision-making at the local level.
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