New survey on climate change adaptation in Europe

 
By Denis McClean

DUBROVNIK, 4 October 2012 - There are strong links between climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) across several European countries according to the results of a survey presented by a Working Group on Climate Change Adaptation, chaired by Norway, at the European Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction in Croatia this week.

Out of 23 survey respondents, 14 confirmed they had carried out an assessment of overall vulnerability to climate change. Only 19 respondents answered the questionnaire fully.

"This is still an emerging issue and we should keep the focus on climate change adaptation to ensure that it is adequately addressed in the new framework on disaster risk reduction which will be agreed in 2015," said Working Group chairman, Dag Olav Hogvold, Senior Adviser, Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, Norway.

Eleven of 19 responding countries stated that they have disaster risk reduction legislation which enables climate change adaptation to be part of national or local work on disaster risk reduction. There were four negative responses.

At the same time, five out of 17 countries answering the question, stated that legislation on climate change adaptation enables links between climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

For the overwhelming majority, 18 out of 19 respondents, legislation was viewed as the main driver for linking the two areas. This was followed by institutional framework, 17; political awareness, 15; resources, 13; and other, 4.

Among the obstacles to forging links between DRR and CCA were the following: political will and awareness; financial restrictions; absence of legislation; uncertainties about impact at local level; and lack of communications between policy makers and the scientific community.

The main advantages listed in forging these links included: avoiding duplication in advocacy and education; coordinated efforts for reducing poverty and vulnerability; holistic approach; safety of people and economic development; an advantage for local planners to have same national agency for both issues; creating synergies between different institutions involved.

The 14 country respondents maintaining databases on physical and economic losses listed the following hazards covered in their databases: floods, 13; forest fires, 13; landslides, 11; extreme precipitation, 11; drought, 9; extreme wind, 9; cold wave, 9; sea level rise, 6; heat wave, 6; storm surge, 6; and change in biodiversity, 3. Others were listed as monitoring of glaciers, heavy storms with hail, high snow and sleet; earthquake, avalanche, rockfall; accidents; industrial accidents.

Survey respondents included National Focal Points for the Hyogo Framework for Action and representatives of National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction from Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
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