How local authorities of small and medium sized communities can be actively and successfully involved in climate change adaptation

09:00 Thursday 30 May

OC242

Room S11

 

Caterina Joseph (Germany) 1; Dominic Rumpf (Germany) 1; Andreas Voellings (Germany) 1; Majana Heidenreich (Germany) 2; Werner Sommer (Germany) 1; Andrea Hausmann (Germany) 1

1 - Saxon State office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (Landesamt fuer Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie LfULG), subunit of the Saxon State Ministry for Environment and Agriculture (Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Landwirtschaft); 2 - Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology, Chair of Meteorology (Technische Universität Dresden, Fakultät Umweltwissenschaften, Institut für Hydrologie und Meteorologie, Professur für Meteorologie)

Climate change is a serious threat that is going to alter many aspects of our daily lives. To combat this threat, climate change adaptation (CCA) strategies are necessary. While CCA in densely populated urban areas is often nourished from support structures, such as knowledge transfers and resources, small to medium sized communities (SMC) are left to themselves. SMC are repeatedly overwhelmed by local extreme weather events (e.g., heavy rain), they particularly underestimate risks in their area (especially heat stress), and sometimes have difficulty adjusting to policies or are missing the financial/ personnel resources required for CCA. As a state authority in Saxony (Germany) that is responsible for applied research, LfULG started working together with local SMC authorities (since 2016) to gather sources of problems and possible CCA solutions. So far, our most valuable insight has been that the awareness and willingness of SMC to act is the highest following a disastrous event, e.g., droughts or heavy rain causing floods and erosion.

Our approach at LfULG was three fold.

  1. As many different stakeholders may be affected from disastrous events, an interdisciplinary approach via a bottom-up structure (initiated by the community) served as a useful tool. This approach includes familiarizing affected stakeholders, e.g., farmers, civilians, local authorities or businesses, with local scientific data that is compiled and presented to them. Communication with these stakeholders usually involves in person gatherings (meetings, workshops, etc.).
  2. Following the knowledge transfer of scientific information, ideas for possible solutions are collected, a common consensus is found, and evaluated.
  3. To overcome the obstacle of missing financial/ personnel resources that SMC face, the LfULG had a competition in 2017 and will open another one in 2019, in which SMC bring forward their ideas for best practice examples. In these competitions local CCA strategies are coordinated by the LfULG (personnel alleviation) and during the planning phase work is completely financed and outsourced to external companies (financial alleviation).

For long-term results all data, information, and experiences from the successful CCA examples are collected on the online platform ReKIS Kommunal as a blueprint and an advisory service via Climate Coaches is established. With these approaches, the LfULG state authority can provide a simple path and clear structure to SMC for solving CCA issues based on scientific evidence, facilitate the successful involvement of multiple and diverse stakeholders and guide SMC to implement effective CCA strategies that encourage other SMC to follow.