Last update: 28 July 2015

Policy and legal framework

In January 2008, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania approved the National Strategy for the Implementation of the UNFCCC until 2012. Specific measures for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change are described in the strategy.

The National Strategy for the Implementation of the UNFCCC until 2012 and its action programme set deadlines and define responsible authorities. The implementation of the strategy is organised and coordinated by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania with the involvement of the Ministries of Energy, Finance, Transport and Communications, Health, Education and Science, Economy, Agriculture and other institutions, depending on their competences.

Lithuania's second main document concerning climate change is the Law on Financial Instruments for Climate Change Management (Republic of Lithuania 2009). Passed in July 2009, it addresses the rights, duties and liability of the people engaged in economic activities resulting in greenhouse gas emissions as well as the sphere of competence of state institutions and bodies.

In November 2012 the Parliament adopted a ‘Strategy for National Climate Management Policy 2013-2050' (in Lithuanian; summary in Lithuanian; summary in English). This is an integrated strategy including implementation considerations and it covers both adaptation and mitigation issues.

Impact, vulnerability and adaptation information and assessments

The Government of Lithuania adopted six national science programmes in 2008. The purpose of national science programmes is to initiate scientific research necessary to tackle certain defined problems by concentrating national scientific potential and financial resources. One of these six programmes is "Lithuanian ecosystems: climate change and human impact". As part of this programme, research is performed on past and future biological invasions and change of species habitat, as the indicators of the vulnerability of Lithuanian ecosystems and their components to global climate change and increasing human impact. The research of these phenomena are very informative in analysing the regular functioning and evolution of ecosystems and their components. This is necessary to understand the development of Lithuanian ecosystems and to make projections under conditions of global climate change. 

The aim of the programme is to develop new scientific knowledge about the impact of biological invasions on the structure, functioning and development of biological systems. The fundamental adaptive capacities of ecosystems and their components global climate change will be determined . In addition, the status of ecosystems, and the changes in biodiversity and resources arising from global biological invasions and change of species habitats will be evaluated. In order to implement the programme, three research tasks are planned for the period of 2010-2014.

In 2007, the Institute of Ecology of Vilnius University on behalf of the Ministry of Environment carried out The study of climate change impact to the land ecosystems, biodiversity, water resources, agriculture and forestry and human health and the strategic plan for the mitigation of consequences. This study analyses the threats of climate change to various ecosystems, biodiversity, water resources, agriculture and forestry and human health and outlines the possibilities of adaptation to the changing climate.

The Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania monitors the progress in implementing adaptation actions included the action plan of the National Strategy for the Implementation of the UNFCCC until 2012. The work on the monitoring of the efficiency of the adaptation actions hasn't yet started and the economic assessments of adaptation to climate change have yet to be performed.

Lithuanian Hydrometeorological Service under the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania (LHMS) is responsible for meteorological (including agrometeorological, aeronautical and marine) and hydrological observations and forecasts. LHMS provides hydrometeorological information for Lithuanian institutions, enterprises and organisations It observes rules and regulations of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), participates in international projects and programmes, carries out scientific research, and compiles and publishes reference books, annals, and surveys. This observational network covers the whole of Lithuania, With the largest network subdivisions situated in the following cities: Kaunas, Klaipėda, Panevėžys, and Šilutė.

The cooperation between government authorities and research institutes in assessing the impact of climate change and taking decisions relating to mitigation of the situation and the implementation of adaptation measures in individual economic sectors is quite limited in Lithuania.

Priority sectors and adaptation action

On the whole, Lithuania's climate change policy reflects its international commitments. The National Strategy for the Implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change until 2012includes three main elements:

  • the basic and most important element is the diagnostics and projections of climate variability;
  • the second element is the evaluation of adverse effects caused by climate variability;
  • the third element is the long-term economic planning and management and the adaptation measures.

Among various planning objectives, the climate aspect aims can be defined as follows:

  • improvement of residential environment quality;
  • reduction or elimination of the impact of unfavourable climatic conditions and dangerous meteorological phenomena on human activities;
  • evaluation and mitigation of the anthropogenic impact on the climate on a global and regional scale;
  • determination of the impact of climate variability on the economic and political cooperation of countries, and
  • adaptation to changing climate conditions. 

The following priority sectors for adaptation are identified in the strategy: ecosystems, coastal areas, human health, energy sector, transport sector, industry sector and forests.

The measures to ensure appropriate adaptation to climate change and to minimise the adverse impact on human health and the environment are as follows:

  • effective monitoring of climate change;
  • assessment of vulnerability of the landscape, ecosystems and biological diversity, and the planning of adaptation options;
  • reduction of the impact of the energy, industry, transport, agricultural and forestry sectors on the climate;
  • reduction of the impact of climate change on human health,
  • development of research and to raise public awareness in combating climate change.

A number of such measures have already been already implemented, for example:

  • the climatic analysis of the material provided by the European Organization for the Exploitation of  Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT),
  • upgraded mechanisms of support for agrarian environmental programmes,
  • measures for afforestation of unproductive land with a view to increasing forest cover by 3–5 %, and
  • measures to promote the planting of buffer strips in agricultural areas with a view to reducing water- and wind-induced erosion and to retain water resources in the soil.

Engaging stakeholders: participation & capacity building

Lithuanian non-governmental and academic institutions are also quite active in various regional projects being implemented in the area of adaptation to climate change. In these projects the adaptation options to be applied at local level are analysed and elaborated.

The project "ASTRA. Developing Policies and Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in the Baltic Sea", which was completed in 2007, analysed climate change impacts on the seashore and coastal eco-systems, dune deflation and erosion patterns and provided recommendations for adaptation. For Lithuania specifically, inundation schemes as well as a report indicating high-risk zones were prepared for the Klaipeda Seaport. The Lithuanian partners involved in this project were the Environmental Centre for Administration and Technology, Vilnius University, the Institute of Geology and Geography, and the City of Klaipeda.

As part of the project "BaltCICA. Climate Change: Impacts, Costs and Adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region" (2007-2013), adaptation options for the city of Klaipeda and the district of Klaipeda will be developed and the process of implementation will be initiated.

Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF) Lithuania is a partner in the project "Baltadapt" (2007-2013). This project reviews state-of-the-art knowledge on climate change in the Baltic Sea Region, identifies the information needed for designing appropriate adaptation measures and reviews the impact of climate change on coastal zones. The aim of the project is to develop a Baltic Sea Region-wide climate change adaptation strategy.While it is understood that such a strategy cannot be adopted by "Baltadapt", the project can ensure its preparation and clear the ground for its adoption.

Local governments play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change. Some local authorities of Lithuania have already signed theCovenant of Mayors in Lithuania voluntarily committing to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources on their territories.

Summary table

Item Status Links
National adaptation strategy Adopted
Action plans Adopted, being developed
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments Completed
Research programs Currently being undertaken
Climate services / Met Office Established
Web portal Online, to be developed
Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies
Training and education resources
National Communication on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Submitted (2010)

Contact details

Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania

A. Jaksto g. 4/9, LT-01105 Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone number: +370 5 2663661
Fax: +370 5 2663663

Board of the Research Council of Lithuania

Gedimino av. 3, LT-01103
Vilnius, Lithuania
Phone ( 370 5) 212 4933
Fax ( 370 5) 261 8535