Last update:13 Feb 2017
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In Slovenia, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning is in charge of adaptation policy-making. The Law Amending the Environmental Protection Law - EPA-1F (Official Gazette of RS, no. 92/13) regulates matters related to climate change with adaptation more specifically mentioned only in connection with the provision of finances from the Climate Fund to adaptation measures. There are plans to provide more specific legal basis for adaptation processes in the new EPA, which is in preparation.
The main cross-sectoral strategic document on adaptation is the Strategic Framework for Climate Change Adaptation, adopted by the Government in December 2016. The document provides a long term vision, purpose and strategic guidelines for enhancing adaptation-related activities under four chapters: Mainstreaming, Wider cooperation, Research and development, Education, training, communication and public awareness. Its vision reads “Slovenia is by 2050 adapted to the impacts of climate change and has a climate resilient society with a high quality and safety of life that fully utilises opportunities offered by changing climate on the basis of sustainable development.” The purpose “to enhance capacities for climate change adaptation, risk management and the full exploitation of the opportunities that climate change brings to Slovenia” will be followed through Vulnerability indicator for measuring the degree to which the general goal of “reduced exposure, sensitivity and vulnerability of Slovenia to the impacts of climate change and increased resilience and adaptive capacity of the society” is being achieved. Strategic Framework has four Annexes, first one depicting Terminology used in the area of climate change adaptation, second describing the process of Assessing impacts of climate change till the end of 21st century (ongoing research project and its results in the years 2016 and 2017 by the Slovenian Environment Agency), third contains a comparison of adaptation processes in different EU states and fourth is depicting process of development and structure of the Vulnerability Indicator. The document foresees monitoring of steps and ways of its implementation by the Interdepartmental Working Group on Adaptation which will produce regular biennial report and periodic updating of the steps and direction of the guidelines.
The strategic document will be followed by an Action Plan of Measures for Adaptation which will be prepared taking into account national Risk Assessments and a comprehensive national Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment.
In 2008, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the Strategy for the Adaptation of Slovenian Agriculture and Forestry to Climate Change. The strategy was followed by an action plan for 2010 and 2011, which the Government adopted in October 2010 and amended in March 2011. Measures to reduce risk and damage to agriculture and forestry were carried out under the Action Plan. The plan was not updated in 2012 due to lack of funding, however many adaptation measures are still implemented in the framework of the 1st and 2nd pillar of the CAP.
The River Basin Management Plan for the Danube and Adriatic See Basins for the 2016–2021 defines a range of measures also contributing to climate change adaptation. A specific fundamental measure included in the Programme of Measures under climate change headline is a preparation of a set of indicators for drought, but all measures related to improving water status and management could be counted as contributing to climate change adaptation.
As in other EU countries, climate change adaptation is driven at the national level and mostly implemented at the local level. Municipalities are the only level of self-government; they have an extensive role regarding spatial and urban planning, housing, water management, economic development, tourism and environmental protection. Spatial planning competencies are also shared between the national and local levels. Climate change adaptation initiatives at the local and/or regional levels are mostly based on one-off participation in various projects (e.g. pilot research projects, transnational cooperation projects, LIFE projects). In the new spatial planning legislation currently under development, climate change adaptation considerations will form an integral part of spatial planning processes at the local and also at the regional level.
Water management (and associated risks of flood and drought) together with agriculture and forestry are sectors that have devoted most attention to climate change adaptation action also due to high impact of extreme weather events. Actions in these sectors are already underway or planned. In the past, some adaptation related action took place in the following areas:
- Sustainable and integrated management of water resources
The Water Management Plan for the Danube and Adriatic See Basins for the 2016–2021 Period was adopted, which also defines measures that contribute to climate change adaptation.
- Reduction of flood risk
Areas of significant flood impact in Slovenia were identified (on the basis of a prior flood risk assessment) and river basins selected in which comprehensive flood defensive measures are to be carried out. The new flood risk assessment to be carried out in 2018 will take climate scenarios of impacts into account.
- Drought management
Since 2006, Slovenia has been the host of the Drought Management Centre for Southeastern Europe – DMCSEE (under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification – UNCCD and the World Meteorological Organisation – WMO). The groundwork for the National Action Plan for Drought Management in Slovenia was prepared in the framework of DMCEEE, which examined current drought management in Slovenia and put forward specific proposals for its improvement.
- Spatial planning
The Target research project Adaptation to Climate Change with Spatial Planning Tools was carried out as a continuation of the EU project CLISP. The new Strategy for Spatial Planning in Slovenia is currently being developed together with a new spatial planning legislation that will in the future require consideration of the climate change impacts in the planning.
- Biodiversity conservation
Some protected areas in Slovenia participated in projects where climate change and their impacts were studied. The Natura 2000 Management programme for Slovenia for the period 2014-2020 has been adopted for the management of NATURA 2000 sites. It determines conservation goals for habitats and species with the aim to maintain or improve their conservation status and thus also to improve their resilience to climate change. The new Biodiversity Conservation Strategy currently in preparation will also take climate impacts into consideration.
- Natural disasters/Disaster Risk Management
In August 2014, Government adopted the Decree Implementing the Decision on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 62/14) which determines a list of separate risk assessments to be carried out as well as responsible ministries, deadlines, procedures and requirements for such assessment, together with procedures and requirements for the National Disaster Risk Assessment (NDRA), first prepared in 2015. In 2016, selected risk assessments and the NDRA have been updated to include climate change impacts. Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief under Ministry of Defense, is the national coordination body for risk assessment processes (providing links with adaptation related policies through Interministerial working group on Disaster Risk Assessments) and also responsible for national emergency response plans in co-operation with other ministries The National Disaster Risk Assessment presents the overall risk assessment for disasters presenting identified risks for the country and as such a first step of a comprehensive risk management.
- Provision of information and raising awareness:
The Slovenian Environment Agency regularly informs the public of extreme weather events. Examples of good practice in climate change adaptation were part of the Slovenia Reduces CO2 project in the framework of which examples of good practices have been selected and widely disseminated, presented at various events, and also guidelines for decision-makers were prepared. The Strategic Framework on Adaptation provides basis for further work in that area, envisaging strengthening of cooperation with stakeholders, science-policy interface and other, starting with the Climate portal to be developed.
The Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) provides scientific data and information on climate change impacts as well as observations and projections for future climate change in Slovenia. The ARSO also published some studies with impact assessment and vulnerability information for mainly water sector in Slovenia.
a. Observations and projections
The Slovenian Environment Agency carried out the project Climate Variability in Slovenia which aim was to make a comprehensive temporal and spatial analysis of the variability of, and trends in, climate variables in Slovenia on the basis of homogeneous time series. The quality of measurements conducted in Slovenia since 1961 has been systematically verified. The high-quality multi-annual series of all important climate variables have been homogenised. In this process, the recommendations of the European project for climate data homogenisation, COST – HOME, were taken into account. Following the process of data verification and homogenisation , analyses of variability and trends in air temperature, precipitation, the duration of solar radiation and snow cover are available at the ARSO meteo.si portal.
All sources of error in the calculation of temperature time trends at individual measuring stations in Slovenia in the 1961–2011 period contribute less than 0.05°C/decade to the total uncertainty of results. This uncertainty is not significant for climate change estimates or the rate of temperature rise, which is approximately 0.34°C/decade for the average temperature. Reports and results for other variables are published on the ARSO meteo.si portal.
First scenarios of changes in climate variables have been prepared in 2014. The ARSO prepared a scenario based on A1B projections of GHG emissions from AR4 (IPCC, 2007). Projections of temperature and precipitation changes have been taken from results of 18 regional climate models covering Slovenia (ENSEMBLES Project) and downscaled in a higher resolution (1 km), which is suitable for high variable Slovenian climate. Expected changes in mean temperature and precipitation up to 2050 are presented as deviations from a reference period 1961-1990. Results have been published at the ARSO meteo.si portal.
In the period 2016 and 2017 a new project of assessing impacts of climate change is being carried out at the ARSO. Based on the new IPCC Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) emission scenarios, ensemble of 6 models from EURO-CORDEX for RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 have been taken to assess the long term (till 2100) changes in climate variables for Slovenia (average climate conditions and extreme weather events) and impact assessments are being carried out (for agricultural drought, heat waves, frost, soil conditions, etc.). The tailored climate services are in high demand from different users, climate services are being currently used for upgrades of risk assessments, vulnerability assessments of major projects and other adaptation related activities. To assess the impacts of projected changes with regard to water, the regional water balance model GROWA will be updated with new inputs from climate scenarios. In the following years the project will continue with assessments of climate impacts on water, renewable sources of energy, health, biodiversity and other. The results will be regularly uploaded at the ARSO meteo.si portal and also later on presented in a more user friendly way at a climate portal. Data management policy (open access to data), cooperation with model users, developers and practitioners as well as continuous support provided to any information users at the ARSO could be considered examples of good practices.
b. Impacts & vulnerability assessment
A vulnerability assessment was undertaken for the most vulnerable sectors - agriculture and forestry in 2004. This assessment was a basis for the adaptation strategy for the agriculture and forestry sectors adopted in 2008. Preliminary risk assessments have also been done in the framework of river basin management planning and flood risk management. In 2015, first National Disaster Risk Assessment (NDRA) has been adopted  as the overall risk assessment for disasters presenting identified risks for the country. Selected separate Risk Assessment for disasters related to climate change (most thoroughly floods, drought and forest fires) as well as the NDRA have been updated with an assessment of climate change impacts in 2016.
To support adaptation policy and decision making, a comprehensive national climate change risks assessment (CCRA) together with a wide public and interdepartmental consultation process has been carried out in 2014. It included all sectors, while indirect and transboundary risks were taken into account to some extent. It forms a basis for further work in this area.
To date a full scale economic assessment of impacts and vulnerability assessment hasn't been undertaken in Slovenia. The Target research project Adaptation to Climate Change with Spatial Planning Tools was carried out as a continuation of the EU project CLISP and provided first vulnerability assessment for Gorenjska region. A Vulnerability indicator, developed as a tool to measure the level of attainment of adaptation goals and purpose of the Strategic Framework for Climate Change Adaptation will be able to provide a first indication of the level of climate change vulnerability for Slovenia while climate scenarios will be used to assess the economic and social impacts and vulnerability of the country’s most vulnerable sectors.
There is limited research on climate change adaptation, with limited resources devoted to the subject. National funding for applied research to be used for policy-making by specific Ministries is provided through the Target Research Programme. Sectors independently decide on funding priorities for research in their respective departments. Adaptation related research was thus mainly carried out by the Ministry in charge of Agriculture and Forestry as these were assessed to be the most vulnerable sectors.
The Slovenian Environment Agency hosts the Drought Management Centre for Southeastern Europe – DMCSEE and thus works on monitoring and assessing drought and assessing risks and vulnerability connected to drought also for the whole South East Europe region.
d. Monitoring progress. Effectiveness/efficiency
As described above, some adaptation measures are being carried out in priority sectors, so the monitoring of progress takes place as defined in these respective action plans (water management plans, flood risk assessments, in agriculture and forestry sectors). Measuring the effectiveness/efficiency of adaptation actions has been further developed within the Vulnerability indicator within the Strategic Framework for Climate Change Adaptation. A system for periodic review of adaptation action at sectoral and local level and the allocation of reporting responsibilities will be developed in the framework of the National Action Plan on Adaptation. The Plan should provide also for the indicators and type of framework to be used to monitor progress via a set of indicators to assess preparedness.
1. Verified individual measurements are the basis for on-going weather monitoring. When we wish to fit a measurement within a long period, we have to verify the consistency of measurements in a time series. Because of the movement of measuring stations, changes in measuring devices, land development and many other factors, a data series reflects not only variations in the climate conditions of a place or area. By comparing it to the time series in neighbouring areas, the climate signal can partly be separated from artificial influences at a particular station. The process of excluding unwanted artificial influences on a time series is called homogenisation. Homogenised time series are the basis for studying past climate changes.
2. In August 2014, the Decree Implementing the Decision on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia, no. 62/14) was passed which determines procedures and requirements for disaster risk assessments, specifies for which disasters separate risk assessments need to be carried out, the ministries responsible for drafting them and deadlines.
Stakeholders are being engaged as a part of general policy making. All mayor infrastructure projects and government plans have to assess climate change impacts, adaptation options and ensuing actions to be implemented during Environmental Impact Assessment procedures. The DG Clima’s guidelines for integrating climate change related requirements for major projects in the 2014-2020 programming period have been translated and presented widely.
A dedicated process to facilitate stakeholders' involvement forms integral part in preparation of all adaptation documents. Cooperation with external experts takes place, plan on how to involve stakeholders is developed and a number of public events and regular consultations with experts is in place. A continuous process for improvement especially of the coordination between policy-makers and science is currently undertaken.
The Interdepartmental Working Group on Climate Change Adaptation with members from all concerned ministries, agencies and government offices held informal meetings during 2014 and was officially nominated by the Government in September 2016. The Group serves as a main reference point during the process of adaptation policies’ development, led by the Ministry with a help of external experts and the ARSO. The Group serves the purposes of horizontal and vertical coordination for adaptation policy-making.
Transboundary cooperation to address common challenges with relevant countries is conducted bilaterally and mostly in the cross border cooperation programmes based on an assessment of common priority sectors and risks such as floods. Recent natural disasters, such as floods, hailstorms and sleet have drawn more attention to the transboundary issues both in terms of preventive and relief actions.
b. Adaptation capacity, dissemination, education, training
The ARSO disseminates some information on adaptation. The Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food have some information and material on adaptation-related issues, such as the information on the impacts on agriculture. Other Ministries and Agencies provide educational and training materials related to measures in their sectors, which also contribute to increasing resilience to climate change impacts (such as energy efficiency, health protection programme). The 'Slovenia is Reducing CO2: Good Practices' project carried out a selection and promotion of good practices and dissemination of information, including on adaptation. Promotional and educational material is made available and disseminated also through participation in European projects, such as C3Alps.Despite quite a few activities carried out, a capacity building and communication programme as such is only being developed and planned to be funded by the Climate Fund in the future.
Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning
Dunajska cesta 47
SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija
Environment and Climate Change Division
Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning Dunajska cesta 47
SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija
T: +386 (0)1 478 7333
Slovenian Environment Agency
Vojkova 1b SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel: +386 1 4784 000
W : http://www.arso.gov.si/
Contact person at ARSO: