Abstract for: What if you catch a black swan? Public policy design for climate change adaptation

What if you catch a black swan? So called black swans – unlikely but high impact unpredictable events – are now of particular concern for public management as their effects impact widely social and economic systems. As global climate change effects multiply, so does awareness of the black swans (unseen droughts, floods, fires, etc.) the new climate condition might carry and their consequences. Resilience thinking has been one of the main approaches used to frame climate change dynamics by aiming to enhance the capability of social systems to adapt to these new climate conditions. Thus, policymakers’ agenda now includes resilience-based strategies oriented to protect preferred states of the system from unavoidable and unpredictable disturbances. However, there is still a sizable amount of work needed before to transform these resilience-based strategies into policies. Particularly, there is a need for developing means to bridge the, so far, mechanistic concepts of resilience with the real world and to overcome current contradictions between resilience and the new public management approaches. Current paper addresses this need by exploring how to use a Dynamic Performance Management approach to support policymaking processes for climate change adaptation and to identify timely mechanisms to deal with the unexpected.