Learning in multi-level governance of adaptation to climate change–a literature review

Javier Gonzales-Iwanciw*, Art Dewulf, Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The governance of adaptation to climate change is an emerging multi-level challenge, and learning is a central governance factor in such a new empirical field. We analyze, through a literature review, how learning is addressed in both the general multi-level governance literature and the governance of adaptation to climate change literature. We explore the main congruencies and divergences between these two literature strands and identify promising directions to conceptualize learning in multi-level governance of adaptation. The review summarizes the main approaches to learning in these two strands and outlines conceptualizations of learning, the methods suggested and applied to assess learning, the way learning processes and strategies are understood, and the critical factors identified and described. The review contrasts policy learning approaches frequently used in multi-level governance literature with social learning approaches that are more common in adaptation literature to explore common ground and differences in order to build a conceptual framework and provide directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-797
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • climate change adaptation
  • governance of adaptation
  • learning
  • literature review
  • multi-level governance

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Learning in multi-level governance of adaptation to climate change–a literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this