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Assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change

Take trans-boundary issues into account

Most direct and indirect impacts of climate change are of cross-border nature. Transboundary issues create interdependencies between countries (e.g. hydrological, social and economic ones in the case of water).

Thus, a country should seek to establish contact with neighbouring countries to inform about the adaptation process and areas of concern with regard to cross-border impacts and identify approaches for coordination over different political, legal and institutional settings.

Joint adaptation and disaster risk management efforts might further need to be based on the identification of common threats (e.g. by undertaking mutual risk assessments) and must be in line with each country´s adaptation objectives. A good starting point is to identify areas relevant to adaptation action in which there has been traditional transboundary cooperation (e.g. river basin management) and seek to involve the managing authorities in your adaptation policy.

Investing in cross-border cooperation is also a way to minimize the costs of adaptation action and to maximize its benefits by developing synergies in adaptation measures and integrating consequences for neighbourhood jurisdictions.

Cross-border activities addressing climate change and jointly developing adaptation responses are already taking place in European macro-regions such as in the Alpine Space, the Carpathians, North West and South East Europe, the Baltic sea and under the Danube strategy. Another transboundary activity at regional level is the currently ongoing development of an adaptation strategy for the Pyrenees.

All of these large-scale activities involving several countries receive funding from the EU. In addition, European policies already help address some of the transboundary issues associated with climate change. For instance, the Floods Directive and the Water Framework Directive require transboundary cooperation in the water sector. Also, European and pan-European early warning and detection systems for weather-driven natural disasters exist such as the European Flood Awareness System, the European Forest Fire Information System and the European Drought Observatory. The Union Civil Protection Mechanism also provides a framework for reinforced cooperation between the EU Member States to effectively prevent, prepare for and respond to both natural and man-made disaster risks, including actions such as risk assessments and planning, exchange of good practices, improving the knowledge base, training and exercises.

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