Mobile adaptations or sticky experiments? — ASN Events

Mobile adaptations or sticky experiments? (13333)

Sophie Webber 1
  1. Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

This paper engages with recent geographical literature on policy mobilities to explore the implementation and spread of experimental climate change adaptation projects and programs in Pacific Island countries. According to the implementers of these programs – the infamous development programmer, the World Bank – early experiments in climate change adaptation in Pacific Island countries have informed ‘best practice’ and ‘lessons learned’ throughout their adaptation portfolio. My research has attempted to follow these adaptation successes to new sites of implementation, finding, however, the many such lessons and practices are firmly routed – or stuck – in specific social worlds and contexts. This paper, therefore, draws from the policy mobilities literature to investigate the processes of making, mobilizing, and mutating ‘best practices’ as they shift from sites of conception, to implementation, and onwards throughout the adaptation circuits. However, I also seek to build on Peck and Theodore’s (Forthcoming) caution of fetishizing policy mobility itself, with the attendant risks of becoming a ‘dupe’ of the policy network. Therefore, I demonstrate that not all policy discourses and technologies, expertise, and finance travel equally fast or far, and I question the rhetoric and expansionary logics of ‘best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ within development institutions.