Last update:08 Mar 2017

Item Status Links
National Adaptation Strategy Adopted
Action Plans Adopted
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments - National (screening NAS) - Sectoral & Other (territorial) Being developed
Research programs - National Programmes - Key research initiatives (added value) Currently being undertaken
  • The Centre of Excellence in Environmental Adaptation ENVIRON  was launched in August 2011 for a time period of 2011 – 2015 and supported by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund and by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.
  • Full list of programs and projects related to climate change is available in Estonia's Sixth National Communication to the UNFCCC under Chapter VIII "Research and Systematic Observations".
Climate Services / Met Office - Observation - Climate projections and services Established/Being developed

 

  • Estonian Weather Service. Publishes data and climatological information on weather observations and scenarios, weather events and climate change science.
Web Portal(s) / Adaptation platform(s) Online
Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies Being developed
Training and education resources Being developed
National Communication to the UNFCCC Last Nat Com Submitted (2013)

Body

The Estonian NAS has been submitted to the Government of Estonia for the final decision that is due in February 2017. The process for drawing up the NAS started in 2013. The first draft of the NAS was completed at the beginning of 2016. After a long period of negotiations the NAS and adaptation action plan (NAP) were approved by the Estonian Government on 2 March 2017.

The European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 supported the project "Elaboration of Estonia's Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan[1]". The EEA project supported open call projects, which contributed to the draft of NAS and NAP with the climate change impact and vulnerability assessments as well as suitable adaptation options in the context of priority sectors. Additionally, as a result of the predefined and open call projects, awareness of adaptation to the climate change increased. The EEA project duration was January 2014 - March 2016. The overall aim of the project was to developing the NAS/NAP for Estonia by June 2016.

The predefined project promoter was the Estonian Environmental Research Centre (EERC) and project partners were the Estonian Environment Agency and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning. The development of the NAS/NAP preparation is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment (MoE).

In February 2015, the Government of the Republic of Estonia officially approved the proposal document for developing the national adaptation strategy and action plan for Estonia. The NAS/NAP will be an independent policy document (development plan) including a comprehensive sectorial climate change impact analysis including undertaking a climate change risks and vulnerability assessment, identification and description of adaptation options, assessments of adaptation options and forecasting costs and development of the actions for the adaptation options. The action plan to implement the adaptation strategy will be developed in parallel with the adaptation strategy itself. The Estonian Government approved the "Development Plan for Climate Change Adaptation until 2030“ and the Action Plan on 2nd March 2017.

Schedule towards a national strategy and action plan is summarised in the following table.

 

Action

Outcome

Date/deadline

The EEA project agreement with EERC

The project agreement has been signed, the project manager is  hired

March 2014

Compiling adaptation steering committee

 

The steering committee is officially formed

May 15th 2014

I steering committee meeting

Agreement on the priority sectors for NAS

May 27th 2014

II steering committee meeting

Agreement on the future climate change scenarios for Estonia

September 24th 2014

EERC conducted public procurement on sectorial adaptation studies for projects in support of the development of NAS/NAP covering two sectors: 1. Economy; 2. Society, awareness and co-operation

 

Project contract between EERC and research institute

Public procurement has been carried out, project contract signed with the Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) in the University of Tartu.

Public procurement: September 2014

 

Contract signed: October 2014

 

MoE conducted open call on sectorial adaptation studies for projects in support of the development of NAS/NAP covering six sectors:

1. Spatial planning and land use; 2. Human health and rescue preparedness; 3. Natural environment; 4. Bioeconomy; 5. Buildings and infrastructure; 6. Energetics and energy supply systems

Open call has been carried out, project contracts signed with the following research institutes:

1. Estonian University of Life Sciences

2. Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) Tallinn centre

3. University of Tartu

Open call: August 2014 – October 2014

 

Contracts signed: January-February 2015

MoE compiled a proposal document for developing national adaptation strategy and action plan and submitted the proposal to the Government of the Republic of Estonia

Government approval: the NAS/NAP will be an independent policy document

Government approval: 27th February 2015

Steering committee meetings to introduce and agree on the MoE open call and EERC public procurement research results

Agreement on the outcome of the sectorial adaptation research results (covering all eight priority sectors)

During 2015

 

 

Initiation of strategic environmental impact assessment

Environmental impact assessment initiated

April 2015

Approval of the environmental impact assessment report

Environmental impact assessment report approved

October 2015

Drawing up development plan

NAS and NAP composed

April 2015 – March 2016

NAS and NAP coordination with stakeholders

NAS and NAP coordinated with stakeholders

April-September 2016

NAS/NAP approved by the Government 

Government approval

March 2017

 

 

[1] http://eeagrants.org/project-portal/project/EE02-0004

 

The adaptation strategy will cover the following priority areas[1]:

Priority area

Sub-sectors

Leading partner

Other supporting partners

Spatial planning and land use

 

- Costal areas

- Other areas with risk of flooding or soil instability

- Landscape planning, irrigation and drainage

- Planning of cities

University of Tartu

- Estonian University of Life Sciences;

- Estonian Academy of Security Sciences;

- Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, NIBR.

Human health and rescue preparedness

- Human health

- Rescue preparedness

University of Tartu

- Estonian University of Life Sciences;

- Estonian Academy of Security Sciences;

- Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, NIBR.

Natural environment

- Biological diversity

- Terrestrial ecosystems

- Freshwater ecosystems and environment

- The Baltic Sea and marine environment

- Ecosystem services

Estonian University of Life Sciences

- University of Tartu, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences;

- University of Tartu, Marine Institute;

- Stockholm Environment Institute, Tallinn Centre;

- Estonian Fund for Nature;

- Agricultural University of Iceland.

Bioeconomy

 

- Agriculture

- Forestry

- Fisheries

- Game and hunting

- Tourism

- Peat production

Estonian University of Life Sciences

- University of Tartu, Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences;

- University of Tartu, Marine Institute;

- Stockholm Environment Institute, Tallinn Centre;

- Estonian Fund for Nature;

- Agricultural University of Iceland.

Buildings and infrastructure

 

- Technical support systems (incl. roads, ports, bridges, water supply and sewage management, telecommunications)

- Buildings

- Transport

Stockholm Environment Institute, Tallinn Centre

- Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Technology;

- Baltic Environmental Forum;

- Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Institute.

Energetics and energy supply systems

 

Sub-sectors:

- Independence, reliability and security of energy supply systems

- Energy resources

- Implementation of energy efficiency

- Heating and cooling needs

- Electricity production

Stockholm Environment Institute, Tallinn Centre

- Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Technology;

- Baltic Environmental Forum;

- Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Institute.

 

Economy

Sub-sectors:

- Insurance
- Banking and finances
- Workforce and employment
- Businesses and entrepreneurship
- Industry

Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) in the University of Tartu.

 

Society, awareness and co-operation
 

Sub-sectors:

- Education, awareness and science
- Communication
- Society/community
- International relations and co-operation

Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) in the University of Tartu.

 

 

 

[1] The priority areas were confirmed by the NAS steering committee in September 2014 and by the Governement in February 2015.

  1. Observations and projections

 

Research and systematic observation

Climate observations comprise of systematic meteorological, atmospheric, oceanographic and terrestrial monitoring. Ensuring operative and continuous provision of meteorological and hydrological forecasts, warnings and monitoring of data for the public and for authorities is the strategic objective of the Estonian Environment Agency weather service.

The Estonian Environmental Research Centre (EERC) is the leading institution in Estonia for the research of the International Cooperation Programme on Integrated Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystems. Development and maintenance of Estonian Air Quality Management System is an important task of the EERC.

Other institutions involved in climate observations include Tartu Observatory, the Estonian Marine Institute of the University of Tartu and the Marine Systems Institute of Tallinn University of Technology.

Research on the impacts of climate change

Several projects at Tartu Observatory (TO) are related to assessing the causes and consequences of climate change. These include the FP7 projects ‘Strategic Partnership for Improved Basin-scale Water Quality Parameter Retrieval from Optical Signatures', ‘Forest Management Strategies to Enhance the Mitigation Potential of European Forests' and ‘Global Lakes Sentinel Services'. The participation of TO in the project BioAtmos of the Estonian Environmental Observatory is related to the climatology and environmental impact of solar radiation, similarly to participation in the KESTA project ‘Estonian Radiation Climate' led by the University of Tartu.

 

The Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences of the University of Tartu has participated in several international research projects. Examples:

• ‘Climate and Environmental Changes in Polar Regions Related to Global Changes and their Influence on Climate Variability in Northern Europe';

• ‘Global Warming and Material Cycling in Landscapes. Global Warming- and Human- Induced Changes of Landscape Structure and Functions: Modelling and Ecotechnological Regulation of Material Fluxes in Landscapes'.

 

The Institute of Ecology of Tallinn University is engaged in applied research, researching the issues of oil shale mining and air pollution and research and expert analyses related to the status of the environment and nature conservation.

Climate projections and scenarios

Along with the National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan on climate change adaptation (NAS/NAP) development, Estonian Environment Agency developed a report of short-term and long-term climate scenarios for Estonia and described past trends. This report is part of the EEA project „Elaboration of Estonia's Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan". The future climate scenarios are used as a basis for developing adaptation strategy and action plan for Estonia. The report was confirmed by the NAS steering committee in September 2014.

The report presents an overview of observed climate changes during the 19th and 20th centuries in Estonia, as well as assessments and projections of future climate until the year 2100. This report gathers existing scientific knowledge concerning the surface and atmospheric climate changes in Estonia and Baltic Sea region, local context derived from the global one has been taken into account.

The report focuses on two greenhouse gas emission scenarios, which are recommended as basis for development of Estonian climate change adaptation strategy and action plan:

RCP4.5 – recommended as a main scenario; moderate, significant mitigation measures are expected from the countries;

RCP8.5 – recommended as an additional scenario; pessimistic, weak international cooperation and mainly carbon-based economy.

The AR5 RCP2.6 and RCP6 scenarios where not considered for the following reasons. Firstly, they give little additional information. RCP2.6 has a very weak warming signal and little detectable changes in climate for adaption and it seems too optimistic, its low greenhouse gas emissions seem unlikely to be achieved. The RCP6 gives little information by being between RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 in most of its outcomes. Secondly, less modelling information is available for RCP2.6 and RCP6 scenarios and none for high-resolution EURO-CORDEX simulations, which were used for current project.

 

b. Impacts & vulnerability assessment

 

Climate change risks and vulnerability assessment in the frame of developing NAS

Not many risk analyses, concerning climate change vulnerability, have been compiled in Estonia. In the European Environment Agency report ‘Climate Change, impacts and vulnerability to climate change in Europe 2012', Estonia is considered to be among countries with no or marginal potential vulnerability to climate change.

The EEA project "Elaboration of Estonia's Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan" is directly linked with the open call which intends to support sector-specific research activities/analysis that contain the following:

  • Assessment of sectorial positive and negative impacts on climate change;
  • Approach for addressing the knowledge gaps and dealing with uncertainties;
  • Identification of adaptation options;
  • Assessment of adaptation options and forecasting costs;
  • Assessment of cross-cutting issues and trade-offs;
  • Prioritization of adaptation options;
  • Identification of entry points for adaptation into existing instruments and/or specifying required new instruments for adaptation;
  • Monitoring and evaluation provisions for adaptation options along with indicators.

 

The research was divided between four research organizations who cover main priority sectors. The final research reports (including impact and vulnerability assessments) were submitted to MoE by 3rd of September, 2015. The results of the research need to be agreed on the steering committee platform and they will contribute to compiling the adaptation strategy and action plan.

National risk assessments

In preparing to adapt to climate change, Estonia has actively dealt with ensuring preparedness for emergencies and crisis management at the national level. Crisis management is regulated by the Emergency Act, which entered into force in 2009 and provides the legal basis for crisis management, including ensuring the continuous operation of vital services, preparing for and resolving emergencies. The Act also regulates the declaration, resolution and termination of emergency situations. The crisis management field is a so-called horizontal field where each ministry is responsible for the implementation of the activities related to crisis management in their field of governance, with the Ministry of the Interior as the co-ordinator. Under the Emergency Act, emergency risk assessment and response plans must be prepared.

The following climate change related emergencies have been analysed and prepared for: extensive forest and landscape fires; storms; floods in densely populated areas; mass injuries or deaths upon the formation or break-up of ice; epidemics; extremely cold weather; extremely hot weather; and the mass influx of refugees to the state (incl. due to natural disasters).

Some websites have been created in Estonia for giving information to stakeholders:

Full overview of risk assessments are available in "Estonia's Sixth National Communication" under the UNFCCC (published in December 2013).

 

c. Research

 

There is currently no separate Program (other than NAS development under EEA Financial Mechanism Program) addressing adaptation knowledge priorities and how national research policies underpin adaptation knowledge development. The specific adaptation knowledge priorities, knowledge needs and processes involved will be addressed in the NAS preparation. One of the priority sectors in the frame of developing NAS and NAP is ‘society, awareness and co-operation'.

Research and development on adaptation

 

Climate and climate change related research has been done by many Estonian universities and research centres.

The ENVIRON Centre of Excellence in Environmental Adaptation was established as a project-based institution in 2011. Researchers from the centre study the adaptation of plants and ecosystems to the environment and biotic stress in order to understand the response of ecosystems in the temperate zone to global climate change. The results serve as the basis for sustainable management of the natural resources of Estonia and the Nordic countries and for the planning of long-term land use in agriculture and forestry.

The BaltCICA project of the Baltic Sea Region Programme (BSR III) of the EC was the immediate successor to the project ‘Developing Policies & Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Region (ASTRA)' which was successfully completed in 2007. 24 partners from eight countries participated in the project, with the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) functioning as the lead partner. The work focussed on the impact of the rise in sea level accompanying climate change in coastal regions. As regards Estonia, the object of research was the west coast, from Häädemeeste to Haapsalu.

The primary purpose of the project ‘Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Region (BALTADAPT, 2010-2013)' was to elaborate a strategy to adapt to climate change in the Baltic Sea region resulting from the impact of climate change on ecosystems and coastal regions on the basis of information encompassing the entire Baltic Sea region. The role of the Estonian Marine Institute of the University of Tartu (EMIUT) in the project was to analyse the policy of development of legislation related to climate change in Estonia as well as research related to best practice for adaptation. EMIUT also contributes to working groups engaged in research related to Baltic Sea ecosystems and coastal regions.

A broad overview of the climate change (and adaptation) research activities in Estonia are available in "Estonia's Sixth National Communication" under the UNFCCC (published in December 2013, pages 207-214).

  1. Governance

The process of the NAS/NAP preparation was coordinated by the Estonian Environmental Research Centre (EERC). The overall responsibility for developing (and later implementing) the adaptation strategy and action plan relies on the Ministry of the Environment (MoE).

The development of a National Adaptation Strategy on climate change adaptation (NAS) is promoted and followed up by a broad-based adaptation steering committee. The steering committee is responsible for decisions on adaptation strategy development, assist and coordinate the development of a National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan on climate change adaptation (NAS/NAP), steering the adaptation process and discussing the needs and expectations of developing NAS etc.

The steering committee covers representatives of all concerned government authorities, associations and organizations (27 members in total) including: Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Ministry of Education and Science, Government Office, Rescue Authority, Estonian Association of Municipalities, Association of Estonian Cities, Estonian Science Agency, Estonian Academy of Sciences and Estonian Fund for Nature.

In the process of developing the adaptation policy in Estonia, stakeholders from national governmental bodies as well as the scientific research communities were consulted. Some information was collected from regional level governmental stakeholders.

Transboundary cooperation took place at many levels. In the frame of EEA Financial Mechanism project "Elaboration of Estonia's Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan", bilateral cooperation contracts were signed between EERC and Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (donor country). The aim of the bilateral contract was to transfer Norwegian know-how on climate change adaptation to Estonia and provide consultation.  Research groups who compose sectorial adaptation analysis had also partners from EEA Financial Mechanism donor countries: Agricultural University of Iceland, Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, NIBR.

MoE have participated and continues to participate in Baltic Sea Region working group on climate change adaptation. The EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSBSR called for a climate change adaptation strategy and action plan for the Baltic Sea Region. The transnational multi-stakeholder project Baltadapt, a CBSS-Baltic 21 Lighthouse project and flagship within the EUSBSR, developed a proposal for such a strategy and action plan. The final proposal document was presented to BSR member states on 3rd September 2013 in Riga, Latvia. The proposal for a macro-regional strategy for adaptation to climate change called for the establishment of a BSR working group, forming a discussion and knowledge exchange platform for member states and other relevant pan Baltic stakeholders and enhancing cooperation the cooperation of different actors in the whole region. 3rd Roundtable on Climate Change in the Baltic Sea Region was organized on 12th November 2014, and 4th Roundtable on 29th April 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia.

In recent years, several projects on adaptation to climate change in the Baltic Sea region have been implemented. Estonia has taken part in several transboundary projects, including Astra, Baltadapt, Baltcica, BalticClimate, Baltclim, RADOST.

Actions at the local level

At the moment there is no sub-national or regional adaptation strategy, but in county-regions, risk assessments and crisis management plans have to be in place and be up-dated regularly. Cities are participating in regional crisis committees. They have performed risk analyses which include extreme weather events such as storms, floods and heavy rains. Local detailed action plans include new situations and possible solutions have been developed for minimising the risks (flood boundaries, flood construction level, etc).

To date, the regions that are most frequently affected by weather conditions have been the most active in implementing adaptation measures. Following the January storm in 2005, the local authorities of the most vulnerable coastal areas adopted detailed action plans to attend to the consequences of extreme weather conditions. Coastal cities (Tallinn, Pärnu and Haapsalu) have implemented adaptation measures such as warning and monitoring systems for floods and extreme weather events.

Electronic landscape maps of the flood exposure areas in Tallinn, Kuressaare, Haapsalu, Pärnu and Tartu are available on the website of the Land Board, where the regions in which floods occur when a certain water level is exceeded can be viewed in a digital environment.

Local level case studies have been carried out as part of international research projects such as ASTRA and more recently BalticClimate.

Full overview of actions at the local level are found in Estonia's Sixth National Communication under the UNFCCC (published in December 2013), pages 187-191.

 

b. Adaptation capacity, dissemination, education, training

 

The national climate change adaptation web portal was created by the project promotor (EERC) at the end of 2014 and is part of the EERC homepage. The webpage is regularly updated with new information, with relevant adaptation procedures, guidelines and materials throughout the development of NAS.

 

The ministry's website is regularly updated with new information regarding EEA Financial Mechanism projects.

Additionally, all of the open call projects have their own websites which contain much more detailed information of sectorial climate change adaptation.

Knowledge transfer activities

The EEA Financial Mechanism project "Elaboration of Estonia's Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NAS) and Action Plan" foresees many public awareness and knowledge transfer events:

  • MoE launched the open call for projects in support of the development of NAS in August 2014. A press release was released on 19 August. Invitations for the open call information events were published in the daily newspaper, Postimees and in the weekly newspaper Maaleht. An information and partnership event was held on 10 September at the Nordic Hotel Forum in Tallinn. The EEA Financial Mechanism Programme conditions and the process of drafting the climate change adaptation strategy and action plan with the climatic scenarios for Estonia were presented, as were application and eligibility requirements. During the second half of the day the four Norwegian representatives present at the event offered co-operation options to the participants. A similar event was held on 19 September in Tartu.
  • Project coordinator (EERC) organizes at least two open seminars/public discussions during the development of adaptation strategy and action plan. These seminars are open for all stakeholders (civil society, NGOs, science institutions, private sector etc.) and aim to raise awareness in a broad field of adaptation matters. The first seminar took place in spring 2015, the second one at the end of the EEA Financial Mechanism project "Elaboration of Estonia's Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan".
  • According to open call conditions (EEA Financial Mechanism) all research organizations carrying out adaptation research at sectorial level must organize at least two public awareness events during the research period (January 2015 – October 2015). These events aim to raise adaptation awareness under all eight priority sectors. These seminars are open for all stakeholders (civil society, NGOs, science institutions, private sector etc.).
  • In cooperation with Norwegian Embassy, EERC, MoE and research organizations carrying out sectorial adaptation research participated in public Opinion Festival in Paide, Estonia in 14-15 August 2015.

 

There have been many public seminars/events concerning climate change adaptation. For example seminar "Climate change and health" which was held in Tallinn, 7th July 2014 with scientists from Umea University, Sweden.

Evelyn Müürsepp

Estonian Ministry of the Environment

Climate and Radiation Department

Ministry of Environment

Estonia

Phone: +372 6260719

E-mail: evelyn.muursepp@envir.ee

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