Mainstreaming and supporting adaptation at sectoral, local and regional levels for climate resilience: Experience of Ireland’s National Adaptation Framework

16:15 Wednesday 29 May


Room S16


Seosamh Ó Laoi (Ireland) 1; John O Neill (Ireland) 1

1 - Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Ireland published its first climate adaptation strategy, the non-statutory National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF) in 2012. Subsequently, Ireland’s 2014 National Policy Position on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development committed to a transition to a competitive, low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. This was underpinned by the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 which requires the Government to adopt a series of National Mitigation Plans and National Adaptation Frameworks in order to support this transition.

A key objective of the legislation was to strengthen institutional governance within Ireland so as to ensure coherence and coordination for climate action across national, regional and local levels.

An analysis by the European Commission in 2015 found that Ireland had made progress in terms of preparing the ground for adaptation and assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change, with progress needed in identifying adaptation actions and in monitoring and evaluating progress.

Ireland’s first statutory National Adaptation Framework (NAF) was published in January 2018. Building on the experience of implementing the NCCAF, the NAF outlines a multi-level governance approach to climate adaptation in Ireland, while also prioritising action in key sectors including local and regional government.

The NAF sets out the context to ensure local authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the key risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into local, regional and national policy making.

Key actions of the NAF include:

  • Preparation of sectoral adaptation plans in 12 key sectors under 4 themes.
  • Putting in place revised and strengthened governance and reporting arrangements.
  • Development of statutory adaptation guidelines for use at sectoral and local level.
  • Increasing awareness around climate adaptation and resilience.
  • Establishment of 4 Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs) to drive and mainstream climate adaptation at local level.
  • Integrating climate adaptation into national plans and policies.
  • Better coordination of national research priorities.

Desmond (2018) found that the key components of an enabling environment for climate resilience are in place in Ireland, but that effective coordination of institutions and processes would be key to overcoming barriers to adaptation action in Ireland. This presentation will discuss Ireland’s experience of adaptation planning to date and how the NAF is being implemented in terms of addressing those barriers while setting a course for coordinated and coherent action at national, regional and local level.