"Climate Adaptation Partnership": Only by comparison and collaboration common goals can be achieved
Several EU research and innovation projects have been working with stakeholders over the last four years to analyse the climate impact and demonstrate the added value of climate services compared to "business as usual" practices in various ways. The great feature of climate services is that they transform scientific knowledge about climate change into actionable information that can be used by a wide range of users (authorities, businesses, citizens). Those climate services translate scientific climate impact assessments into user-friendly maps and online applications.
The Urban Agenda of the European Union is an intergovernmental cooperation, agreed in 2016 during the Pact of Amsterdam. Thematic partnerships cover pertinent urban challenges in Europe. Each partnership consists of representatives of European cities, national governments, EU institutions and other partners who work together on solutions and recommendations for improving regulations, financing and knowledge.
One of those partnerships is the "Climate Adaptation Partnership", a project coordinated by Stefania Manca since 2016. Stefania Manca works in the city of Genoa, Italy. She will have a panel on our next CLARITY webinar. We have spoken to her in advance.
What does the "Climate Adaptation Partnership" do? WHat do you want to achieve?
"We are committed to ensuring that municipalities and local authorities no longer remain weak but become stronger, because it is the municipalities that are the frontline affected by climate change", explains Stefania Manca. "The partnership consists of different local authorities with small and medium municipalities and different stakeholders like the European Environment Agency (EEA), the JRC and the CoM - I like that all are very committed in this field. It is a non-funded project, we all do our work volunteerly, which you can feel." The main focus of the Partnership is "to anticipate the adverse effects of climate change and take appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage it can cause to Urban Areas", says the project definition.
"For us, the Urban Agenda of the EU gave us a fantastic way of working and it is a great opportunity because it is participating and inclusive", says Stefania Manca. She likes that stakeholders and different important people come together under the claim "all of us are equal". The Urban Agenda has different action plans with hundres of elements. "It is a lot of work, but I like it", Stefania Manca laughs.
So many different partners and interests - How is it working together?
"Our responsibility is to design concrete actions that help cities and urban areas to have a legal framework on climate adaptation, common guidelines to easily access to funds, more expertise in the cities to deal with climate change.
During the project everybody was motivated, even if some partners were leaving and coming back. Member states work on a different perspective which also makes it clear that their committment is crucial. We have developed an 'Action Plan', to operationalise suggested solutions of politicians and governance for key bottlenecks hindering successful adaptation to climate change in the EU urban areas. But being committed to the plan does still not mean for everybody to also apply the plan, since speaking is easier than doing. Climate services are essential for us to put in place, but we still need stronger relationships, we need to better link to cities and we need to give more visibility for people. The 'Action Plan' consists of three steps: better regulation, better funding and better knowledge.
Now, with COVID-19 workshops became even harder; our focus was to get all different people together on a round table and talk face to face. Since this is not possible right now, we have to longer our project to at least December 2021, adapting our activities to the new normality.
I love this job because it is my passion to establish relationships between people of cities which all face the same problems. The whole project is a great learning process! Now we are strengenthing the relations and we enlarge networks while collaboring with others."
Who are your partners?
Our member states are France, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary with different cities. We collect and disseminate best practice examples of national, regional and local regulations to develop conclusions and suggestions for each EU Member State. We show them how to use climate adaptions and how to organize funds. They all face different climate factors and potentials, opportunities and targets. We would help them with a cost-benefit-analysis, and how to use a dedicated funding on adaptations. We already have so many best-practices, we don't need more platforms, we only need a network to bring all of them together.
Our Local Authorities with whom we work greatly together are Diput. Barcelona, Glasgow, Loulé and different cities of Norway, where everybody learns something from each other. We update us continously.
Then we work together with different departments from the EU, such as Eurocities, CEMR, EIB or Urbact, and four Directorate General: DG REGIO, CLIMA, ENV and RTD. Those support us with sharing documents and leading the actions. The actions have a wider perspective to face the interests of the EU, but they are drafted on a local perspective. The language of politicians often is different and we translate it to what cities need. Our challenge is to transmit it to fit to municipalities."
What did you examine and what was the Outcome so far?
With our members we strongly share the commitment towards promoting climate change adaptation. The Action Plan is designed with direct inputs from stakeholders who are the actual or future implementers of urban adaptation efforts in order to understand their needs and provide targeted and effective support.
The problem in general is that not all cities have the same possibilies for adaptations. Big cities have big resources and can work as a role model. But we want to help smaller cities. Also, not every local politician has a deep knowledge of what adaptation means to a city and its citizens and which specific actions could be done. We provide suggestions which we discuss in mixed working groups consisting of stakeholders like the EEA, JRC or CoMo, governments and climate experts."
You will Give us more insights in our webinar - what will you be speaking about?
The free webinar "Climate Services as emerging market - latest trends" will be taking place on July 1st, 10:30h, dealing with a crucial topic for the community, the market perspective of climate services.
Stefania Manca will be contributing a chart with demographic change and climate change. "I will talk about digital services how to make technology a real factor how to deal with IT for people who are not so familiar with it. So far, there were created so many climate services, which use machine learning and so on, but they are too high level. If the use of climate services would be easier for politicians, we could reach a much better progress! In my opinion, we need something easier to understand. Climate Services are not only about science, now we know better how they could be understood by any user or provider. I will talk about the missing bridge; climate services have created wonderful ideas, which can not only be applied in their scenario but in many more cities. Aside from taking in the project's perspective I will represent the city's end user perspective for the uptake of climate services", Manca explains.
The market for climate services has so far been dominated by users and providers from the public sector. But there are also numerous opportunities within the private sector, offering considerable growth prospects, but also many barriers that need to be overcome. Users and customers are diverse - business and industry, education, research, public administrations and practitioners form the user base. There is not always a clear distinction between providers and users - users such as municipalities can become climate service providers, providers in one area can become users in another. In this webinar, you will explore the stage of market development and the role of networks and cross-sector partnerships.
The webinar is aimed at climate service providers from international and national initiatives, R&D institutions both as providers and users, public and private data owners and providers of relevant regional and/or sectoral data, consultants and practitioners such as spatial planners or civil engineers. But of course it is also something for sectoral associations from industries affected by climate risks or offering adaptation solutions.
The webinar series will be organised by CLARITY and by other research projects and organisations interested in #climateresilience, #climatechangeimpacts, #climatechangeadaptation and #climateadaptation
You missed our first introduction webinar? No worries, take a look here:
This article was developed in cooperation with "Climate Adaptation Partnership". "Climate Adaptation Partnership" is a 5-year project (2016-2021) which receives no funding. It is aimed to bring together different climate services and inform them about fundings and knowledge.