Organised for the first time in southern Europe, the 4th ECCA builds upon past editions with the main aim to bring researchers, policymakers and practitioners from Europe and beyond to discuss the recent advances on climate change adaptation, find solutions and inspire collective action to increase Europe’s resilience.
It will be the first major conference focusing on the harmonisation and collaboration of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Why is this relevant? There is an overlap between activities of the two communities (Figure 1). Both aim to reduce negative impacts of climate change and disasters, respectively, on the natural environment, human society and economies by anticipating risks and uncertainties and addressing vulnerabilities (Mitchell et al. 2010). However, each field has historically developed independently with different actors and institutions, focusing on different time horizons, research methodologies and have different policy frameworks. These differences can lead to suboptimal strategies and duplicated efforts. The past few years have been sobering in showing the urgent need to take action, with climate related risks ranking higher and higher since 2011. This year’s Global Risk Report, published annually by the World Economic Forum, rank extreme weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation as the first two risks to society most likely to happen in the next 10 years.
Researchers, policymakers and practitioners have already recognise this urgent need and efforts have been done to increase the collaboration and coherence between CCA and DRR. One of the high points with these efforts happened in 2015 with three key international agreements: Paris, Sendai Framework for DRR and the Sustainable Development Goals. These provide the opportunity to increase the coherence between these two complementary areas. Recently, the need to rapidly increase such coherence and collaboration has been reinforced in the Rome Declaration of Stakeholders, an output of the European Forum for DRR (November 2018), and on the recent evaluation of the European Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change. Both call for an integration of these two areas.
The next decade is critical to achieve the 2030 goals and targets of the three international agreements. This will only be possible through an effective collaborative effort of all sectors of society across all governance levels, including both public and private. ECCA in 2019 aims to provide a common space for the necessary dialogues between all these actors to take place where collaborations can be forged, solutions found and actions defined for Europe to move steadily into a resilient path for the short and longer term. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I invite you to come to Lisbon in May 2019 to prepare for the next decade and bring your perspective to contribute to such a path.