The best time to start planning adaptation to a changing climate is already in the past. The second-best time is now. The impacts of today’s climate extremes and of future climate changes are not waiting for you to get prepared.
Cities and regions prepared for climate change will increase the safety of their citizens, territory and assets. Improved resilience and strengthened adaptation capacity will reduce the potential costs and damages of climate change impacts. By using an integrated approach, cities and regions can, at the same time, improve the quality of life of their citizens and visitors, and pursue the path to sustainability.
Adaptation is hardly possible without integrated planning. A city or a region may initially focus on a specific adaptation measure to start with, but an overall integrated adaptation plan is indispensable to deal with the complex nature of climate changes and their effects. A sector-based approach can improve adaptation for a specific issue but may increase climate change risks for other sectors or areas. In addition, an integrated approach to adaptation can make it possible to reach maximal benefits with minimum costs, jointly taking into account resilience to climate change (adaptation), the reduction of the contribution of a city or a region to the problem (mitigation), and a wide range of co-benefits (e.g. protection of citizens’ health, recreational opportunities, preservation of natural habitats and biodiversity, etc.). To be sustainable, adaptation should contribute to the overall process of climate change mitigation, providing measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration, as with ecosystem-based adaptation options.
Deciding on adaptation solutions and preparing adaptation plans is not simple. For such a challenging process, you need a new form of governance for climate action. Although governance is the capacity of governing institutions to respond effectively to changing conditions and problems that may occur, it is not only a government-led process. In order to achieve social unity in a climate solution, cities and regions need wide support from as many social groups as possible. Therefore, governance for climate action requires that all stakeholders who act as key players in local and regional societies and economies are on board. Good governance is a long-term process: building trust, relationships and support from the communities lay in its very core. New forms of multi-party agreements among all stakeholders are crucial for efficient governance for climate action.
AdriAdapt provides a simple, stepwise approach, which can lead you along the process of preparing a local or regional adaptation plan. Such an approach is further detailed in the “Strategic guidelines for climate policies in Adriatic cities”.