The 4th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA 2019) took place in Lisbon from 28 to 31 May 2019. The conference brought together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to discuss recent advances in climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) research, policy and practice, and aimed to inspire collective climate action.
While this was a scientific and technical, rather than a political conference, several valuable key messages emerged that we believe should inform current and future efforts to increase climate adaptation and risk reduction by governments, public agencies, research funders, researchers, non-governmental and private sector actors.
Among these messages, developed by the organisers as a summary of discussions during the conference, a number of research gaps have emerged. These are of critical importance for future research planning in Europe and internationally. The messages do not represent a consensus view of all 1,200 ECCA 2019 participants, nor do they necessarily represent the official view of the organisations involved.
Given the urgency to act and further understand the challenges that lie ahead, the ECCA 2019 organisers invite readers to consider these messages and research gaps, and share them widely in their networks.
We need to find out:
- What are successful governance models?
- Which governance structures help managing trade-offs and avoid rebound and leakage effects?
- How to develop a top-down approach that is consistent with a bottom-up approach?
- How to ensure “circular” governance practices in terms of decision making and joint actions?
- How can economic and financial systems be better utilised to support adaptation and risk reduction efforts?
There is a greater need for research into specific hazards, particularly wildfires, while heat stress and urban flooding are growing problems in Europe.
This research should cover causes, changing risks and emergency responses. In addition, the vulnerability of particular groups and natural systems should be assessed in more detail, as well as exploring the potential for nature-based solutions for CCA and DRR.
Future research priorities
Some specific areas of importance for future research on co-production processes are:
- Heatwaves and the impact of extreme heat and associated health implications
- Community needs and effective ways to support the most vulnerable communities to shape their adaptation and development pathways
- The possibility of using big data to support effective adaptation at different scales
- Exploring innovative financial instruments to support adaptation and risk reduction measures
- Improving the match between climate information and possible use for the formulation of adaptation strategies, plans and measures
- Engagement and implication processes in the co-design of adaptations actions
- Effective ways of evaluating adaptation measures at different scales.