Last update:03 Feb 2017
|National adaptation strategy||• Adopted|
|Action plans||• Adopted||
|Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments||• Completed/Currently being undertaken||
|Research programs||• Completed/Currently being undertaken||
|Climate services / Met Office||• Established||
|Web portal||• Online, being developed, strategy for sustainability under development|
|Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies||• Established/Being developed|
|Training and education resources||• Being developed||
|National Communication on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change||• Last National Communication Submitted (2014)||
The first policy document guiding climate change adaptation (Finland's National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change) was published in 2005. This seminal work has been revised and the new national adaptation framework has been described in the Government Resolution (20.11. 2014) of the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2022.
The aim of the adaptation plan is that the Finnish society has the capacity to manage the risks associated with climate change and adapt to changes in the climate.
Based on the aim the following objectives are set until the year 2022:
- Adaptation has been integrated into the planning and activities of both the various sectors and their actors.
- The actors have access to the necessary climate change assessment and management methods.
- Research and development work, communication and education and training have enhanced the adaptive capacity of society, developed innovative solutions and improved citizens' awareness on climate change adaptation.
The objectives and actions of the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan extend until the year 2022, but it aims further into the future. The international repercussions of climate change are also taken into account in the national work.
The twelve fields of actions (main elements) in the climate change adaptation plan are the following:
- Studies are conducted on climate resilience on the national level.
- Action plans for specific administrative branches are drawn up and implemented, taking account of the international repercussions of climate change.
- Drafting of regional and local adaptation studies is promoted.
- Adaptation is promoted in international cooperation.
- Adaptation is included in EU policies and international region-based cooperation projects.
- Climate risk assessment and management is improved.
- Instruments applicable to the management of financial risks caused by climate change are developed.
- Adaptation research is reinforced.
- Business opportunities related to adaptation are developed.
- Tools are developed in support of regional adaptation work.
- Communication on adaptation is developed.
- Education and training content on adaptation is developed.
Adaptation has been included in the national climate and energy strategies (2005, 2008, and 2013), and adaptation is also included in the revised national energy and climate strategy (2016).
Finland's Climate Act was approved on 6.3.2015. The law stipulates that the Government approves long-term and short-term strategic mitigation and adaptation plans. The government will approve a national plan on adaptation at least every ten years.
Other adaptation strategies or action plans:
- Ministry of the Environment’s Action Plan in 2016 (Adaptation to Climate Change in the Administrative Sector of the Ministry of the Environment Action Plan 2022). This replaces the Ministry of the Environment's Action Plan in 2008, which was later supplemented by an update in 2011. The action plans were assessed in 2013 (Assessment of the Environmental Administration's Action Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change).
- Action Plan for the Adaptation to Climate Change of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 2011-2015. The action plan will be revised in 2017-2018. A background assessment on the climate risks and vulnerabilities in the administrative sectors of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has been launched to make a coherent basis for the revision work. The assessment on the risks and vulnerabilities is being done by the Natural Resource Institute.
- Climate Policy Programme for the Ministry of Transport and Communications' administrative sector for 2009-2020.
- Climate Programme for Finnish Agriculture – Steps towards Climate Friendly Food.
- The Energy and Climate Programme of The Finnish Defence Forces - objectives and measures (2014).
- The Climate change adaptation strategy for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
By the end of 2012, 16 out of 18 regions had published a climate strategy, which included some recognition of adaptation as well. In 2012, approximately 40 per cent of municipalities were undertaking systematic climate actions and, although their focus has been on climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation has also been promoted. The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, which represents the towns and municipalities of Finland, is active in adaptation work. Its publication "Local Authorities and Climate Change" emphasises the key role of local authorities in mitigating and adapting to climate change and introduces some of the good practices that have been established throughout Finland. In municipalities preparedness to extreme weather events and other disaster risk prevention is linked to the National Security Strategy for Society and the underlying risk assessments. The Security Strategy for Society is being updated in 2016-2017.
For the revision of the national adaptation strategy a study of the impact of the climate change and vulnerability of sectors were conducted in 2013. Vulnerabilities were identified in all sectors, but the nature of the expected impacts and vulnerabilities vary.
Tools to help actors consider possible impacts and vulnerabilities have been developed and have also been made available through the Internet service www.ilmasto-opas.fi / www.climateguide.fi allows stakeholders to get access to spatially disaggregated information on climate projections and projected impacts.
One of the major areas of adaptation is water management, under which attention has been paid to the management of floods, including dam safety. The Flood Risk Management Act (620/2010) came into force on 30 June 2010 and the Government Decree on Flood Risk Management on 7 July 2010. The regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment together with the Finnish Environment Institute have identified areas of significant flood risk, which have been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Adaptation to climate change will be addressed in the River Basin Management Plans to 2021, based on the EU Water Framework Directive. These plans will be adopted by the Government in 2015. In 2014 The Finnish Meteorological Institute and Finnish Environment Research Center established the Flood Centre to promote the co-operation and improve communication in flood situations.
Management of stormwater is taken into consideration in Land use and building act in chapter 13a (§ 103 a-o). This amendment came in force 1.9.2014.
a. Observations and projections
The Finnish Meteorological Institute has done climate change projections based on simulations using 28 global climate models for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The temperature change in Finland is expected to be 2.4°C by 2040 and 3.6°C by 2080 in the RCP4.5 scenario representing fairly moderate emissions, and 2.9°C and 5.8°C in the RCP8.5 scenario representing high emissions. The temperature increase in Finland is expected to be more than 1.5 times the global mean warming on average. The projected increase in precipitation is substantial as well.
Other examples of projected climatic changes in Finland (mainly based on older model runs) include the following:
- Heat waves will become longer and more frequent, whereas severe cold spells will gradually diminish.
- Heavy rainfall events will intensify in summertime.
- The number of days with precipitation will increase in the wintertime.
- The snow season will become shorter and the snow water equivalent will decrease on average, particularly in southern Finland.
- The duration and depth of soil frost will decrease, particularly in snowfree areas like roads and airports. A shortening is also projected for sea and lake ice cover.
- Winters will become cloudier and solar radiation will decrease.
- There will be minor increases in wind speeds in autumn and wintertime.
b. Impacts & vulnerability assessments
A general assessment of vulnerability across sectors was the basis for the original national adaptation strategy of 2005. For the revision of the national adaptation strategy a study of the impact of the climate change and vulnerability of sectors was conducted in 2013 [only in Finnish].
More detailed studies of vulnerability in specific sectors or specific environments have been made. These include the following:
- Water: designating flood-prone areas and flood maps (work carried out and made publicly available, further research on water management is being done, for example, as part of the research project ClimWater, which is part of the Finnish Research Programme on Climate Change (FICCA)); the impacts of climate change scenarios (ProDOC) are also being studied.
- Exploration of indirect economic effects at the regional and national level owing to river floods and urban floods caused by extreme downpours (TOLERATE and IRTORISKI projects).
- Energy and forest: exploring the impacts of high winds, heat spells, drought, snow and frozen ground, and winter temperatures (EXWE SAFIR 2010-2014, SA ADAPT).
- Biodiversity: in particular, the sensitivity of bird populations and certain biotopes to climate change (FICCA research project A-LA-CARTE).
- Marine ecosystem and marine spatial planning: the impacts of climate change on the Baltic Sea and its watershed, the possibilities to address challenges through marine spatial planning (FICCA research project MARISPLAN)
- Agriculture: studies on crop changes have been carried out at the national level. An international network of crop science experts working within the context of climate impact research has studied the sensitivity of crop production to climate change. There is also an ongoing project closely related to vulnerability assessment: Improving resilience to climate change and variation induced risks in agriculture (ILMAPUSKURI).
- Transport: Changes in exceedance frequency of critical thresholds of weather phenomena for transport systems (EWENT project of the 7th Framework Programme of the EU).
- Health: ongoing work on vulnerability of the elderly to climate change.
- Regional perspective on the Arctic region (FICCA research project CLICHE).
- City planning: Vulnerability of cities to flash floods and heat island effects EAKR-ILKKA (2011-2014).
A project to build coherent national vulnerability and risk assessment is launched in 2017.
An assessment on the climate risks and vulnerabilities in the administrative sectors of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is completed in 2016. The assessment is being done by the Natural Resource Institute.
A large number of research institutes and universities have carried out research on climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation in Finland. Several research institutions have organised their own climate-change-related programmes or research units. Close cooperation among research institutions is a characteristic feature of Finnish research on climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation.
Anticipatory management of short term weather, economic and climate risks (ELASTINEN) project was launched in 2015 to support the implementation of the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The two-year project has provided information and solutions for strengthening the capabilities of different sectors to assess and manage risks related to weather, climate, and economic impacts. The project also has aimed to decrease the vulnerability of Finnish society and increase its adaptive capacity to changing climate.
National research programmes, such as FICCA, ISTO and CLIMBUS, have provided funding and common goals for the research. The FICCA programme has had a key role in promoting cooperation between research institutes and universities.
ISTO research programme (2006-2010) produced comprehensive knowledge on the impacts of climate change and vulnerability in different sectors, thereby laying the foundation for sectoral adaptation measures. The results from the ISTO programme and other adaptation research projects have been compiled into a synthesis report, ‘How to adapt to inevitable climate change−Synthesis of Finnish adaptation research in different sectors', which was published in 2012.
Other relevant adaptation research programmes:
- Functioning of forest ecosystems and use of forest resources in changing climate (MIL), Finnish Forest Research institute (Metla) 2007-2011 (now part of the Natural Resource Institute LUKE)
- The Forests and Water Research and Development Programme (H2O), 2013–2017), Metla
- Research on the adaptation of agriculture to climate change has been carried out in particular at MTT. The research has included, for example, scenario analysis, adaptation of the food sector and related socio-economic impacts, and forage production in a changing climate. (now part of the Natural Resource Institute LUKE)
- Research on the impacts of climate change on inland waters, sea areas, water resources, land ecosystems and biodiversity and the built environment has been carried out at the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE. SYKE has also carried out climate impacts and risk assessments at different spatial and temporal scales.
- Impacts and adaptation in the Arctic are intensively studied at the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland (the northernmost university in the European Union). The focus is on polar and alpine snow and especially the glacier ice cover over both shorter and longer time scales. The research also covers the impacts of land use and climate change on biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems and changes in the arctic environment and society.
- In recent years, an increasing number of studies have assessed climate change problems from a transdisciplinary perspective and integrated various socioeconomic aspects. An example is the TOLERATE project, ‘The implications of climate change for extreme weather events and their socio-economic consequences in Finland', which is jointly being carried out by the Government Institute for Economic Research (VATT), SYKE, FMI and VTT.
- Finnish Environmental Research Programme (2006-2009), in which also the ISTO was partially connected.
- Flood preparedness in building – guide for determining the lowest building elevations in shore areas (Environment Guide 2014). The guide brings together information on flood occurrence, resulting damage and general flood risk management, with a focus on matters that need to be considered when determining the lowest recommended building elevations for the shore areas of inland waters and coastal areas.
- The durability of facades and balconies in a changing climate (2010). The study aimed to assess, based on current information, the applicability of today's facade structures and renovation methods in the climate conditions of the future, and to get an idea of what research is needed for adapting the current building stock to climate change. The pre-study focuses, first and foremost, on the deterioration processes of porous stone-based facade and balcony materials and key repair methods.
- Climate Change and the Cultural Environment – Recognized Impacts and Challenges in Finland (2008, joint report issued by Metsähallitus (the state forestry enterprise), the National Board of Antiquities and Finland's Ministry of the Environment.). The focus of the report is on the effects of climate change on the care and maintenance of heritage landscapes, the built cultural environment and archaeological cultural heritage, and on the related adaptation and mitigation measures.
- Adaptation in the urban environment and questions related to the living environment and climate change have been studied inter alia at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, SYKE, the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI, Aalto University and Turku University. Extreme weather events, such as flood risks, are topical issues for urban planning and construction, and the interconnections between mitigation and adaptation activities are also important aspects of the research. Assessments of climate-change-related risks take place in several of the above-mentioned research streams.
To promote better utilisation of the research information all those who are interested should have access to the information and materials relating to climate change (publications, research data and methods), in line with the principles of open science. Through this it is also possible to improve the opportunities of the citizens to participate in the production and use of knowledge and information. Examples of open data include the flood maps and wind atlas. Also the planning tools and guidelines of the project LifeMonimet in Climate Resilient City are available. The web portal Ilmasto-opas.fi (Climateguide.fi) provides research based information on climate change and adaptation, including map-tools, data and infographics and also case descriptions.
In the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan the key areas of research needed to support adaptation in the next few years were determined including 1) the costs and benefits of climate change and adaptation; 2) studies of adaptation as a larger social factor in the changes together with the other trends in the Finnish society; 3) the repercussions of the global climate change impacts to Finland; as well as 4) further studies on whether extremes.
d. Monitoring progress
Adaptation classification (adaptation levels) were used both in the mid-term evaluation of the implementation in 2008-2009 and in the 2013 broader assessment of the strategy. The adaptation classification is used to assess the progress in adaptation of the 15 different sectors. To facilitate the formulation of a comprehensive view of the stage standing in the implementation of the Adaptation Strategy in Finland, a preliminary indicator of the level of adaptation on a scale from one to five was developed in connection with the evaluation. Besides the adaptation measures launched the indicator takes account of the adaptation research in the sector, cooperation between sectors and recognition of the need for adaptation.
The indicator measures were analyzed by 1) Awareness: recognition of adaptation needs, 2) Knowledge: level of adaptation research, 3) Adaptation Measures: launch of adaptation measures, and 4) Cross-sectoral Cooperation: co-operation with other sectors (see description: Evaluation of the Implementation of Finland's National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change 2009).
A study to further develop monitoring and reporting of the national adaptation plan started in February 2015. The target of the work was to get more exact monitoring system based to the measurements. In 2016 a preliminary list of the key adaptation indicators was compiled in 2015-2016. The draft list of indicators is being discussed with larger stakeholder group in 2017 and further developed based on the feed-back and other further information.
The National Monitoring Group of the National Adaptation Plan was appointed on 1st of June, 2015. The group is responsible for implementation, follow-up and communication relating to the adaptation plan. The group members represent relevant ministries, research institutes and regional and local actors.
b. Adaptation capacity, dissemination, education, training
Communication on climate change is provided by various organisations, using various channels ranging from extensive internet portals to background information sessions for the media and stakeholders. For example, the climageguide.fi site that was designed in cooperation between the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finnish Environment Institute and the Aalto University Land Use Planning and Urban Studies Group brings together practical, scientifically proven information on climate change. It has been opened for contributions and updating by other research organisations as well, including the Natural Resource Institute. The daily operational and technical responsibility for updates is mainly supported by Finnish Meteorological Institute that coordinates and also controls the quality of the information stream to the portal. The Climateguide.fi portal has since January 2015 had around 3000 weekly visitors. The web pages give broad perspective information from governmental level to the citizen level.
In addition, all the material about national guidelines to facilitate adaptation is documented on the web pages of Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture.
The Ministry of the Environment nominated the Finnish Climate Panel for a second two-year period in 2014. In 2016 the panel is nominated for a four-year period (according a Climate Law, came into force 1.6.2015). The main task of the Climate Panel is to strengthen the interaction between research and policy making. The Climate Panel is an independent, multi-disciplinary scientific body that operates in active interaction with policy making. According to the letter of nomination, the panel:
- Gives advice to the ministerial working group on bioeconomy and clean solutions energy and climate policy in order to support decision making
- Monitors the implementation of the energy and climate strategy
- Makes assessments concerning the consistency and adequacy of the policies
- Promotes public discussion based on science and expertise
- Follows the development of climate science, technology and policy
- Makes proposals on developing and supporting research on climate policy
In 2014 The Finnish Meteorological Institute and Finnish Environment Research Center established the Flood Forecasting Centre to promote the co-operation and improve communication in flood situations. The Flood Forecasting Center aims to develop early warnings based on long range forecasts. It predicts and warns of floods and maintains constant operational information related to foreseen and real-time flood events. The Flood Forecasting Center offers services to the regional authorities and inhabitants and operation trainers of flood areas.
In 2015 The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities published a report on the climate work in the municipalities. The need for adaption measures are increasingly identified in municipalities, also recognising that the need for adaptation measures varies between the regions and municipalities. The measures are mostly connected to heavy rain and disruptions due to other extreme weather events. The adaptation work is connected closely to preparedness and contingency planning in the municipalities.
Four of the large cities in Finland - Helsinki, Lahti, Turku, Vantaa - together with Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) have launched several climate actions. For instance together with Finnish Meteorological institute and University of Turku they have conducted a project resulting the planner’s workbook for climate-proof city. The workbook provides a collection of tools, best practices and reports about the impacts of climate change and how to implement the adaptation activities. (http://ilmastotyokalut.fi/en/).
In 2016 a large seminar together with private sector and business actors was organized to better identify the adaptation activities in the private sector as well as expectation of the private sector actors on national adaptation work and possible options for public-private partnership.
Ms. Saara Lilja-Rothsten Tel. +358 469222764
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
Mr. Antti Irjala
Ministry of the Environment
Finnish Meteorological Institute
Finnish Environment Institute