Adaptation in Baltic Sea Region

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Adaptation Actions

Adaptation actions aim to adjust natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects. They normally address a specific climate impact and/or adaptation sector. Adaptation actions in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) seek to take opportunities of possibilities and meet challenges related to climate change. They build on transnational cooperation and the exchange of experiences, information and knowledge.

For the development and implementation of adaptation measures, access to a sufficient and relevant data and knowledge base on climate change impacts and risks is required. Within the BSR, however, there are still knowledge gaps on climate change and its impacts due to, for example, the poor representation of the BSR in climate models and the fragmentation of existing knowledge. BSR States can benefit from regional cooperation through the inclusion of state of the art knowledge from adaptation research. Case studies provide knowledge which can be included in climate change adaptation policies.

Within the Baltadapt project, the EU Member States in the BSR, associated by EU neighbouring countries formulated a proposal for a BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (executive summary); please read more about the development of the proposal on policy framework. The Action Plan recommends actions and proposes guidelines for climate change adaptation in the BSR. It aims to provide detailed plans on how to reach the goals set out in the proposed BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. It structures the suggested activities according to the following aspects:

  • Informing the BSR about climate change adaptation
  • Strengthening adaptation to climate change in the BSR by mainstreaming
  • Connecting the BSR for climate change adaptation
  • Adaptation actions for the four Baltadapt focus sectors
  • Financing climate change adaptation in the BSR
  • Evaluating and updating the Action Plan

The following paragraphs outline some of the adaptation actions proposed for the Baltic Sea Region. Examples of climate change adaptation actions that have been implemented across Europe are presented in the case study search tool. The case study tool is regularly en­hanced by improving the description and analysis of existing cases and by including new cases.

Climate mainstreaming in marine protection

Climate change adaptation concerns all relevant sectors. The BSR countries should use synergies between nature protection and adaptation to preserve biodiversity. The proposal for a BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan therefore recommends including adaptation aspects into management plans of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Baltic Sea.

With further support from the countries of the BSR, the designation of a network of MPAs in the Baltic Sea could be completed. This would help affected species to adapt via migration into more suitable parts of the Baltic Sea.

Cooperation: Policy Forums on Climate Change Adaptation

Cooperation between actors at all levels supports the overriding aim of a connected region. Additionally, it can support and facilitate the implementation of local, national and EU strategies. The three Baltadapt Policy Forums, for example, were an important part of the working and consultation process on the proposal for a BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan. Participants of the Policy Forums were high-level policy-makers and representatives from national ministries and the European Commission as well as international and regional organisations and academic institutions in the field of climate change and adaptation from across the Baltic Sea Region. Following an integrative, cross-sectoral and multilevel governance approach, they facilitated regional cooperation and communication and enriched the development of the documents.

Improved knowledge transfer: The BalticClimate Toolkit as an example

Several support tools have been developed to assist users in developing climate change adaptation actions. One example of a BSR-specific tool is the BalticClimate Toolkit. It has been developed within the BalticClimate project as an empowering knowledge transfer instrument for actors on the local and regional level who deal with the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The toolkit addresses policy makers, spatial planners and business people, who should take responsibility for coping with climate change impacts.

Financing adaptation

Funding programmes constitute an essential regulatory instrument for the BSR member states and have a crucial influence on, for example, the investment and land use decisions taken by other actors. The EU provides several funds that foster cooperation between member states and regions in terms of climate change as the EU Cohesion Funds, LIFE+ funds, and research funds. Examples for Baltic specific funds are the Baltic Sea Region programme and the research and development programme BONUS. Besides this, actions and projects might require financing on national, regional and local levels, including the private sector. The South Baltic Programme, for example, is a multilateral cross-border funding mechanism for the southern Baltic Sea regions. The overall objective of the Programme is to strengthen the sustainable development of the South Baltic area through joint actions increasing its competitiveness and enhancing integration among people and institutions. The proposal for the BSR-wide Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan recommends specific actions to stakeholders with regard to financing.


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