Eleni Karali (Greece) 1; Dragana Bojovic (Spain) 2; Carlo Giupponi (Italy) 3; Gabriela Michalek (Germany) 4; Reimund Schwarze (Germany) 4
1 - Ministry of Environment & Energy; 2 - Barcelona Super Computing Center; 3 - Universita' Ca' Foscari di Venezia; 4 - Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research
Communication and collaboration are critical for catalysing responses to climate change impacts, and weather- and climate-related disasters. This acknowledgement has increased interest in the role of social capital, networks and the linkages embedded in them for climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Considering potential co-benefits between CCA and DRR actions,in this study we used Social Network Analysis (SNA) to explore interactions, within and between the boundaries of the two communities.
Firstly,we applied SNA to investigate the intensity and type of interactions among actors that operate in the fields of CCA or DRR at the European and international level. Then, we focused on national level actors in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK, considering also the one-way interactions these actors had with those international actors who emerged as important in the first SNA. We calculated social network metrics to quantitatively assess actors’ roles in the network and applied cluster analysis to identify actors with similar patterns of connections. The quantitative assessment was complemented by selected qualitative interviews, which allowed for a better understanding of the reasons underlying the obtained results.
The first SNA showed that communication is often constrained within one of the two communities, while collaboration is frequent on topics related to both CCA and DRR. Cluster analysis showed that actors tied with DRR were more closely clustered, while actors with CCA and mixed connections showed no obvious clustering affinity. Climate-ADAPT had the highest value for different degree measures, reflecting its potential for enhancing communication and collaboration within and between the two communities. Interviews emphasized the role of organisational leadership and the importance of connecting CCA and DRR in mission/vision statements, which influences an actor’s openness towards the other community and thus its ability to act as a ‘connector’. The interviews pointed also at the insufficient alignment of the two fields, which hinders the communication process.
The second SNA showed that governmental actors and research institutes have a central role in national CCA and DRR networks. Knowledge platforms and businesses were unequally represented across the four countries, yet they had an important role in the networks where they were present. Even though CCA and DRR are dynamic and highly evolving fields, which implies that actors’ roles and importance may change over time, this work highlights the potential of key organisations for improving connectedness, thus enhancing information flow and collaboration between the CCA and DRR communities.