Last update:11 Jan 2017

Item Status Links
National Adaptation Strategy • Adopted
  • Swedish integrated policy for energy and climate including strategy for adaptation (pdf, se)
  • Länder/national/subnational regions information is included in this section
Action Plans • Adopted
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments - National (screening NAS) - Sectoral & Other (territorial) • Completed
  • Sweden facing climate change – threats and opportunities, 2007 (webpage, se)
  • Basis for the checkpoint-2015 for adapting to a changing climate, 2015 (webpage, se)
  • 21 regional vulnerability and adaptation assessments, 2013 (webpage, se)
Research programs - National Programmes - Key research initiatives (added value) • Currently being undertaken (selection of major research programmes)
Climate Services / Met Office - Observation - Climate projections and services • Established
  • SMHI: Climate scenarios (webpage, en)
  • SMHI: Guidance to climate scenarios (webpage, se)
  • Rossby Centre: Climate projections and climate data (webpage, se)
  • National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation – tools, databases (webpage, se)
Web Portal(s) / Adaptation platform(s) (5a) • Online
Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies • Under development
Training and education resources Available
National Communication to the UNFCCC • Last NatCom Submitted (2014)
Sectoral action plans Under development
Research institutions Several active

Swedish Adaptation Strategy

In 2009 the Swedish Parliament adopted a coherent policy for climate and energy (Prop. 2008/09:162) which includes the initial steps for the Swedish society to adapt to a changing climate. It lays the foundation for a medium-term process to progressively identify the effects of climate change, assess the risks, and develop and implement adaptation measures. The strategy commits to concrete steps in the further development and implementation of adaptation measures. It follows an integrated approach that takes account of the interactions between sector and regional activities and strives to incorporate consideration of the possible impacts of climate change in all relevant policies.

About 30 authorities play an important role through their respective sectorial responsibility and are working with preventive measures, building knowledge and improving resilience.

The regional government offices (County Administrative Boards, CABs or Länsstyrelser) have the responsibility to coordinate the regional adaptation work and to support local actors in their adaptation work. The CABs report annually to the Government about the actions taken to adapt to climate change.

Adaptation Action Plans

To underpin the national strategy with specific action, the regional government offices have adopted 21 regional action plans covering the whole of Sweden with nearly 800 proposed actions. The main actions proposed in the plans concern flood protection, protection of drinking water, shoreline protection, infrastructure (roads, railways), adaptation of agriculture and forestry, resilience for heat waves and health care. An overview of the adaptation action plans undertaken in the regions is available as a summary (Synthesis of Actions, swe). Regional action plans are further described in section of Engaging Stakeholders. Several national authorities have developed, or are in the process of developing, action plans for the sectors for which they are responsible. Some local authorities have also developed adaptation action plans for their municipality.

Evaluation and monitoring

SMHI has been given the task to propose a system for evaluating and monitoring the work on adaptation in Sweden. The system should look at what action has been taken as well as the effects of the action. A report to the Government (Ministry of the Environment and Energy) is due in December 2016.

Implementation means

Since the Climate and energy bill in 2009, the Government has financed measures of around 100 million SEK per year to improve knowledge about the impacts of climate change and to address these impacts, for example by implementing landslides and flooding prevention measures. Lantmäteriet (Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority) is developing a national elevation model using data from airborne laser scanning, which will facilitate identification of areas vulnerable to flooding. The work will be completed in 2017. The Swedish Geotechnical Institute has identified risk areas for landslides in the Gota Älv valley and other exposed areas. The work showed that climate change will mean a higher level of risk of landslides until 2100 if no action is taken. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) is among other things producing detailed flood mapping as a basis for maps showing potential threats in areas where the consequences of a flood deemed to be substantial. To support actors with a responsibility for Sweden's adaptation to impacts of climate change, a National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation has been established at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). The ‘Knowledge Centre' provides tools and information to help society cope with a changing climate, now and for the future. The Knowledge Centre runs the Swedish Climate Change Adaptation Portal where supporting information is disseminated. The portal is continuously being further expanded for this purpose in cooperation with other governmental agencies. In built-up areas where the risk of natural disasters is particularly high, municipalities can apply for state funding for preventive actions. There is about € 2,4 million available for 2016, increasing to € 7,4 in 2017. The funding is administrated by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. Contributions can be made with up to 60 % of eligible costs or to a maximum of 60 % of the threatened objects' value. Natural disaster in this context refers mainly to landslides or flooding.

Schedule and planned review 

In the Climate and Energy Bill in 2009 the Swedish Parliament also decided on a follow up in 2015 to analyse how the process of adaptation in different sectors and regions are progressing, and to provide support to prioritize the most urgent actions. The report also illustrates how cross-sectoral work can be developed. SMHI was given the task in 2013 to coordinate the assessment. The report was handed over to the Government March 4th 2015. A number of suggested actions from the report are now being carried out. For example, an investigation into the legislative framework for adaptation, detailing any required amendments and clarifying roles and responsibilities is due to report in May 2017. 

The Swedish climate change adaptation work is to a large extent organised into sectors.

During 2016 the previous network of authorities behind the National Portal for climate change adaptation has transformed into the National Network for Adaptation, with a wider remit. 18 national authorities with responsibilities for adaptation participate in the network, which aims to increase the resilience of society to climate change. The secretariat for the network is provided by SMHI.

The Government also distributes assignments related to various measures to sector agencies according to the national strategy. Most adaptation issues are however multidisciplinary, meaning that work on climate adaptation is largely performed in collaboration between different actors and sectors at the national, regional and local level.

Several national authorities have developed, or are in the process of developing, action plans for the sectors for which they are responsible.

The sectors that are pointed out in the Swedish strategy are related to critical societal functions:

•             Biodiversity and ecosystem services

•             Fresh water supply (drinking water, sewage, effluent and stormwater treatment)

•             Health

•             Infrastructure (transportations, telecommunication)

•             Rural businesses (agriculture, fisheries, forestry, herding, tourism)

•             Technical supply systems (energy supply, hydroelectric dam security, heating and cooling)

•             Urban areas (buildings and built environment, cultural heritage)

Sweden has a well-established and functioning framework for disaster risk management (DRM), including work in forums for crisis preparedness. The work is coordinated by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). 

The cooperation on all levels and between sectors and actors working with land use planning, risk management, natural disasters and climate adaptation is promoted to reduce risks and enhance preparedness.

There is a number of existing coordination forums in Sweden where experiences and planning of key actions are currently exchanged between sector agencies and other stakeholders such as:

•             Agency network for shore erosion

•             Committee on dimensioned flows in hydroelectric dams in a changing climate

•             Delegation for landslides

•             National network for drinking water

•             National portal for climate change adaptation

Sweden's municipalities are obliged to carry out risk and vulnerability assessments as a basis for coping with extraordinary events and crises. Such analyses also cover events that will be affected by climate change.

Concrete adaptations have been started, above all, in municipalities hit by extreme weather events. In particular, this has involved measures in the areas of physical planning and building. Some municipalities have also raised the minimum level for construction, built levees and invested in pump systems to protect against flooding. Some have begun to modify water and sewerage systems to avoid the harmful effects of heavy downpours.

In built-up areas where the risk of natural disasters is particularly high, municipalities can apply for state funding for preventive actions. There is about € 2 million available for 2016. The funding is administrated by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. Contributions can be made with up to 60 % of eligible costs or to a maximum of 60 % of the threatened objects' value. Natural disaster in this context refers to landslides or flooding.

Funding for climate change adaptation has been given through a dedicated appropriation amounting to around 100 million SEK per year since 2009. It may be used for expenditure such as prevention and awareness raising activities to limit the vulnerability of society. The appropriation may also be used for administrative expenses involved (see above).

  1.  Observations and projections

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) (webpage, en; webpage, se) is responsible for meeting the meteorological and hydrological requirements arising from all areas of the Swedish economy and society. The SMHI plays an important role in providing services to the government and other administrations at regional and local level in terms of climate monitoring. This includes the provision of climate projections for the planning and preparation of adaptation measures.

At the SMHI webpage climate scenarios are presented on maps, as diagrams and as downloadable data (webpage, en; webpage, se). There is also information explaining the results and how they have been reached. An introduction to climate scenarios is available (webpage, se). There is also a guidance (in Swedish) that provides support for interpreting and using climate scenarios. The Rossby Centre is offering further open access to climate-relevant data (webpage, se). Other weather related observational data is also freely available and can be downloaded at the site for open data.

The National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation (webpage, se) with support from Rossby Centre, offers products, advisory services and decision-relevant knowledge (see below). The portal klimatanpassning.se allows searches on climate change information, climate-relevant research in Sweden, climate adaptation initiatives and stakeholders. Regional climate change analysis for all 21 Swedish regions was carried out during 2015. The reports include scenarios for about 15 climate indexes with the future development in comparisons between the past and the situation today. The scenarios are also available as national geographic information layers in an open accessible database. During 2016, all regions have had the offer of an applied on-location presentation of the report for their region, together with SMHI scientists. The purpose of this activity was to give the opportunity to municipalities and other local and regional stakeholders to ask questions about the analysis and to ensure that any limitations to the work were well understood. 

  1. Impacts & vulnerability assessment

The first vulnerability assessment of climate change impacts in Sweden was initiated in 2005 and resulted in a report to the Government in 2007 (Sweden facing climate change – threats and opportunities; SOU 2007:60 (webpage, se)). The report covered the Swedish society's vulnerability to global climate change, and regional and local impacts of these changes and an assessment of the damage costs climate change may give rise to.

The report ‘Climate Change Adaptation in Sweden – an overview' (webpage, se) compiles the agency assignments proposed for climate adaptation in 2007.

An up-to-date assessment has been reported to the Government March 4th 2015 (webpage, se).

The access to national risk and vulnerability analysis is relatively good but the need for local and regional analysis is still significant. In addition, there is a need for vulnerability assessments that include cross-border aspects (e.g. linked to the Baltic Sea Strategy), as well as assessments that include indirect effects of climate change outside Sweden.

The Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI) has executed a landslide risk mapping for Göta river valley between 2009 to 2012.The report contains a comprehensive risk analysis incorporating calculations of the probability of landslides and evaluation of the consequences that could arise from such incidents. An overall cost assessment of the geotechnical aspects of the stabilising measures has been conducted in the areas with a high landslide risk.

SMHI has analysed a number of cases of adaptation action in order to quantify the costs and benefits. For example, in one case study the analysis shows that installing a new filter in a water treatment facility in Gothenburg, at a cost of approximately €40 million, will deliver benefits worth over €250 billion in the form of reduced economic losses through sickness. The measure affects around half a million people, and is partly financed through green bonds.

  1. Research

The Swedish Research Bill from 2008 (prop.2008/09:50; webpage, se) points out research on climate as a particular priority area. The research bill indicates that there is a need for targeted and applied research on society's vulnerability to climate change. The Swedish climate research should contribute to more detailed description of climate change at regional and local level. According to the bill, Research and Innovation from 2012 (webpage, se), efforts to stimulate innovation through research collaboration between universities, research institutes, businesses, the public sector and civil society, is of great importance for research to contribute to the social development and economic competitiveness.

The adaptation research landscape has developed rapidly in Sweden over the last five years. There are several interdisciplinary research programmes. Three examples are::

•             Mistra Urban Futures is a centre for sustainable urban development. It provides an arena for the development and transfer of knowledge, where interaction with industry, interest groups and the general public will be developed. In addition to the arena, the Centre has five regional platforms in Cape Town, Kisumu, Gothenburg, Manchester and Shanghai.

•             Mistra-SWECIA is an interdisciplinary research programme on climate, impacts and adaptation. The programme brings together researchers in the fields of climate science, economics, life sciences and social sciences. Since 2008, Mistra-SWECIA has deepened our understanding of how research on climate change, its impacts and economic implications can support stakeholders. The programme was completed in 2015.

•             BECC, Biodiversity and ecosystem services in a changing climate, is a strategic research field where the universities of Lund and Gothenburg collaborate. The vision is to create a leading interdisciplinary research programme on the relationships between climate, ecosystem services and biodiversity.

There are many research institutions with activities within the field of adaptation. Below is a selection:

Centre for Climate and Security, Karlstad University, is a national knowledge centre financed by the Civil Contingency Agency. Alongside research, the Centre carries out educational activities aimed at younger schoolchildren. They have also developed pedagogic materials such as interactive games and role play connected to adaptation and risk management.

Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR) at Linköping University is a interdisciplinary centre focusing on studies related to climate science and policy research. Research topics revolve around mitigation and adaptation to a changing world climate, in Sweden and internationally, as well as the use of natural resources and sustainable development.

Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, CEC, is a combined physical and virtual centre at Lund University. CEC conducts research, education and communication on environmental sciences and climate research.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a broad environmental profile, combining applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. The research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and systems thinking. IVL publish an annual Report on the progress of adaptation work in Swedish municipalities (in Swedish).

Stockholm Environment Institute, SEI is an international nonprofit research organization with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. SEI bridges science and policy to find robust responses to the challenges of sustainability.

Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, a Centre of Excellence within Umeå University. Their mission is to engage with a global agenda on health research, addressing critical issues in global health and facilitating interaction and collaboration between Northern and Southern partners

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) carries out resarch within four interdisciplinary research programmes within the fields of forests, agriculture, animal health and welfare, and also urban environment.

In the report Checkpoint 2015 for adaption to a changing climate, an annex was provided on Swedish research on adaptation in governance and planning (pdf). The report identified that there are three main areas in which knowledge has increased substantially through Swedish research, namely Adaptation on the agenda; Tools for stimulating and supporting adaptation; and Adaptation and urban planning.

There is still need for research on institutional coordination mechanisms for climate adaptation and disaster risk management, so that synergies between the areas could be utilized in practice.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency funds thematic research pertaining to natural events with negative consequences for society in today's and tomorrow's climate. Themes for 2016 include societal resilience.

A synthesis of Swedish research on climate change adaptation in management and planning indicates that the potential for adaptation (including access to knowledge) is high, but there is a sharp contrast between the potential and actual adaptation of the Swedish municipalities. The big challenge is to package the knowledge of researchers and authorities so that it becomes relevant and accessible for different actors.

  1. Monitoring

An assessment report on the Swedish climate change adaptation strategy and the actions being taken since 2007 was submitted to the Government March 4th 2015.

The need of development of suitable instruments and indicators to evaluate adaptation concepts and measures being undertaken are highlighted in the report. It is proposed that a close cooperation should take place with the European Environment Agency to ensure the comparability of the to-be Swedish indicator-based evaluation concept, with the activities of the European Commission.

SMHI has been given the task to propose a system for evaluating and monitoring the work on adaptation in Sweden. The system should look at what action has been taken as well as the effects of the action. A report for the consideration of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy is due in December 2016

  1. Governance

National governance

Climate change adaptation policy is defined at the national level by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy. Numerous stakeholders contribute to Sweden's adaptation landscape. The overall Swedish policy is to actively support dialogue, participation and the creation of networks between relevant actors at all levels.

Responsibility for climate change adaptation is divided among several government agencies that, based on their respective sectorial responsibilities, have important roles to play. About 30 agencies carry out preventive measures, improve skills and knowledge, and foster preparedness for disruptions in key societal functions. 18 of these authorities participate in the Network for Adaptation, which aims to increase the resilience of society to climate change. The secretariat for the network is provided by SMHI.
Each sector is responsible for their area of work and to ensure actions are taken by different stakeholders concerned. The level of progress across sectors differs, i.e. some sectors have come a long way while others are just starting. The Swedish Planning and Building Act require municipalities to consider climate change impacts in their spatial development plans.

Adaptation at subnational level
Regional government offices (CABs) holds the overreaching regional responsibility to coordinate climate adaptation. The CABs collaborate with a broad selection of both public and private stakeholders, including regional and municipal authorities, industry and universities. CABs play an important role to increase knowledge of climate change and its impacts and encourage adaptation actions in a close dialogue with stakeholders. However, they lack the power to ensure that adaptation takes place. The regional decisions when it comes to for example, spatial planning and infrastructure take place at politically controlled organizations such as Regions or Regional Development Councils that cooperates with the municipalities when it comes to development planning.

There are 21 regional action plans with nearly 800 proposed actions:

Blekinge

Dalarna

Gotland

Gävleborg

Halland

Jämtland

Jönköping

Kalmar

Kronoberg

Norrbotten

Skåne

Stockholm

Södermanland

Uppsala

Värmland

Västerbotten

Västernorrland

Västmanland

Västra Götaland

Örebro

Östergötland

To strengthen municipalities in the process of adaptation, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) has established an Internet-based network for exchanging experiences. The network is a forum for dialogue and exchange of experiences between municipalities but also between the SALAR and members.

There are six municipalities in Sweden acting as role-model-cities in the Making Cities Resilient CampaignArvika, Göteborg, Jönköping, Karlstad, Kristianstad and Malmö. Also the municipalities of Jokkmokk, Ängelholm, Vansbro, Värnamo and Vellinge participate in the Swedish network. The coordinating body, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB), is in 2015 running a campaign to increase the number of municipalities participating in the network.

  1. Adaptation capacity, dissemination, education, training

To ensure efficient knowledge transfer and consistent and coordinated approaches to actions, the Government has tasked the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) to run a National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation. The ‘Knowledge Centre' is a resource for everybody with a responsibility for, or interest in, Sweden's adaptation to impacts of climate change (see above). The Knowledge Centre runs the Swedish portal for climate change adaptation, which is intended to support society and citizens preparing for climate change consequences. The portal offers comprehensive information and support within a number of areas.
The portal contains information about the effects of climate change, risk management, how an adaptation plan can be developed and examples of how climate change adaptation can be integrated into the daily work. The portal provides information to support both short and long-term adaptation. The main target group for the portal is currently municipalities and county administrative boards.

The portal is a result of the cooperation between eighteen Swedish governmental agencies - in collaboration with Sweden's municipalities and county councils. Every agency is responsible for their area of expertise and the combination gives a broad spectrum of information. At regular intervals a dialogue is held between the agencies to gradually develop the portal. There is also a discussion between the Nordic portals and the EU portal.

Several major conferences and seminars on adaptation themes are held in Sweden every year. One example is the annual conference "Klimatanpassning Sverige" which usually takes place in September every year. In total the conferences attract audiences of thousands and are popular meeting places for agencies, organisations, businesses and politicians.

 

Kerstin Grönman, kerstin.gronman@regeringskansliet.se, national contact point, Ministry of the Environment and Energy.

Åsa Sjöström  asa.sjostrom@smhi.se, national contact point, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

National Climate Change Adaptation Portal, info@klimatanpassning.se

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