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Last update:Aug 19, 2019

Item Status Links
National Adaptation Strategy
  • Adopted
National Adaptation Plan
  • Being developed
Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments
  • Completed
Research programs
  • Currently being undertaken
Meteorological observations
  • Established
Climate projections and services
  • Established
  • Being developed
CC IVA portals and platforms
  • Being developed
Monitoring, indicators, methodologies
  • Established
  • Established
Monitoring Mechanism Regulation
  • Last reporting on Adaptation (Art. 15) submitted
National Communication to the UNFCCC
  • Last National Communication Submitted

Ireland's National Policy Position (2014) provides a high-level policy direction for the adoption and implementation by Government of plans to enable the State to pursue the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050 (National Transition Objective). As set out in the National Policy Position, the evolution of climate policy in Ireland will be a dynamic, iterative process, based on the adoption by Government of a series of national mitigation plans (NMPs), and, in terms of climate adaptation, national adaptation frameworks (NAFs) over the period up to 2050, with the ultimate objective of achieving the National Transition Objective. Statutory authority for these mitigation and adaptation plans is provided for in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 (the Climate Act).

Adaptation Strategies

Ireland's first statutory National Adaptation Framework (NAF), prepared under Section 5 of the Climate Act, was approved by Government on 19 December 2017 and published on 19 January 2018. This statutory Framework replaced a non-statutory National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF) that had been in place since 2012. The NAF and its successors set out the national strategy to ensure local authorities, regions and key sectors can assess the key risks and vulnerabilities of climate change, implement climate resilience actions and ensure climate adaptation considerations are mainstreamed into all local, regional and national policy making. The NAF also supports local and regional adaptation action and the development of local adaptation strategies. The NAF does not identify specific locations or propose adaptation measures or projects in individual sectors. Respecting the principle of subsidiarity, detailed adaptation measures will be developed across sectors and local government, in accordance with the NAF.

Key actions of the NAF include:

  • Preparation of individual sectoral adaptation plans for 12 key sectors under 7 Government Departments. The completed plans must be submitted to the Government for approval is no later than 30 September 2019.
  • Putting in place revised governance and reporting arrangements.
  • Formalising the status of existing adaptation guidelines and decision making supports: These include the online climate information platform Climate Ireland, Sectoral Planning Guidelines for Climate Change Adaptation for the 12 key sectors (published in May 2018) and Local Authority Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines (published in December 2018).
  • Increasing awareness around climate adaptation and resilience.
  • Integrating climate adaptation into key national plans and policies. These actions are also underpinned by supporting objectives for the Framework including:
    • assessing key risks and vulnerabilities;
    • better coordination of national research priorities;
    • ongoing reporting at National, EU and international levels;
    • increased alignment with strategic emergency planning; and
    • further analysis of the implications of climate change and adaptation for the private sector.

The sectors and lead Government Departments required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans under the Framework are as follows:

  1. Seafood - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  2. Agriculture - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  3. Forestry - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  4. Biodiversity - Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  5. Built and Archaeological Heritage - Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  6. Transport Infrastructure - Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
  7. Electricity and Gas Networks - Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
  8. Communications Networks - Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
  9. Flood Risk Management - Office of Public Works
  10. Water Quality - Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
  11. Water Services Infrastructure - Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
  12. Health - Department of Health

Some sectors (i.e., Agriculture and Forestry, Transport, Electricity and Gas Networks and Flood Risk Management) have already developed non-statutory plans under the earlier 2012 National Climate Change Adaptation Framework. These will be revised and updated in line with the requirements of the NAF and the Climate Act. Further information on these plans are provided in the Sectors & actions section. The NAF identifies the critical role to be played by local authorities in addressing climate change adaptation. This will effectively build on their existing expertise and experience as first responders in emergency planning scenarios. Under the NAF local authorities are required to develop local adaptation strategies in line with guidelines developed for the sector, which were published in December 2018. Local authorities have been given a deadline of 30 September 2019 for the completion of local strategies.

Implementation means

Since 2015, sectoral coordination of adaptation policy has taken place under the auspices of the National Adaptation Steering Committee (NASC), which is chaired by DCCAE. The Committee was reviewed and restructured under the NAF in 2018 to ensure that a coordinated, comprehensive and coherent approach continues to operate in implementing actions under the NAF. The NASC has a key role to play in promoting and encouraging cross sectoral cooperation on adaptation. Members of the NASC include departments preparing sectoral plans under the NAF, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Irish Water, EPA, regional and local government, the National Standards Authority of Ireland, and Met Eireann. The NASC reports to the Climate Action High Level Steering Group, chaired by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The High Level Group addresses both climate mitigation and adaptation.

In January 2018 DCCAE entered into a five year financial commitment of €10 million to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs). The Climate Action Regional Offices, which have now been established, are being operated by a lead local authority in four different regions. In terms of adaptation in 2019, the CAROs will support local authorities to develop their local adaptation strategies under NAF.

The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) was established on 18 January 2016 under Section 8 of the Climate Act. The Council, which is independent in the performance of its functions, provides advice in relation to the preparation of a NAF and the making of a sectoral adaptation plan by a relevant Minister. In addition, the Council has a number of reporting obligations, including those with regard to "Annual" and "Periodic Reviews" of progress towards meeting the National Transition Objective. The CCAC published its first periodic report in July 2017, which makes specific recommendations in respect of the development of the NAF. It also established an Adaptation Committee in 2016 to focus specifically on adaptation related matters. Sectors required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans under the NAF are required under the Climate Act to consult directly with the CCAC.

Monitoring, reporting and evaluation

In addition to the oversight and governance structures described in the previous section at the national level, oversight and reporting will be undertaken through a number of other statutory mechanisms including:

  • review by the DCCAE Minister of a Government approved NAF not less than once in every five period (Section 5 of the Climate Act);
  • submission of an annual report by the Climate Change Advisory Council to Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment containing findings and recommendations in furthering the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy (Section 12 of the Climate Act);
  • submission of a periodic review report by the Climate Change Advisory Council (at its own instigation or that of the Minister) to the DCCAE Minister (Section 13 of the Climate Act);
  • the presentation of an annual transition statement to each House of the Oireachtas by the DCCAE Minister with regard to a number of mitigation and adaptation related matters including adaptation policy measures adopted in the preceding year to enable the achievement of the National Transition Objective (Section 14 of the Climate Act);
  • the presentation of annual sectoral adaptation statements to each House of the Oireachtas by Ministers responsible for developing sectoral adaptation plans (Section 14 of the Climate Act).

Schedule and planned review/revision

The Climate Act requires the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment to review the NAF not less than once every 5 years. The NAF was published in January 2018 and will therefore be reviewed before January 2023. Stakeholders are involved in the assessment, evaluation and review of national adaptation policy. Stakeholders and members of the public were extensively consulted during development of the NAF prior to its development in Spring 2016 and on the draft NAF in September 2017.

Ireland's first statutory National Adaptation Framework (NAF) was published in January 2018. The NAF specifies the national strategy for the application of adaptation measures in priority sectors and by local authorities in their administrative areas. It specifies twelve sectors that must develop statutory sectoral adaptation plans. Under the Climate Act, these plans are required to be submitted to the Irish Government for approval by 30 September 2019.

Sectors addressed in NAS/NAP

The NAF identifies twelve sectors that are required to prepare adaptation plans by 30 September 2019. The sectors have also been grouped into four thematic areas: Natural and Cultural Capital, Critical Infrastructure, Water Resource and Flood Risk Management, and Public Health. The sectors and lead Government Departments required to prepare sectoral adaptation plans under the Framework are as follows:

  1. Seafood - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  2. Agriculture - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  3. Forestry - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  4. Biodiversity - Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  5. Built and Archaeological Heritage - Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
  6. Transport Infrastructure - Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
  7. Electricity and Gas Networks - Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
  8. Communications Networks - Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
  9. Flood Risk Management - Office of Public Works
  10. Water Quality - Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
  11. Water Services Infrastructure - Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government
  12. Health - Department of Health

In order to support key national sectors in planning for climate change adaptation, statutory "Sectoral Planning Guidelines for Climate Change Adaptation" have been developed in order to ensure that a coherent and consistent approach to adaptation planning is adopted at national levels. Sectors are required to develop their sectoral plans in line with these Guidelines. The non-statutory 2012 National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (NCCAF) was the first step in developing a national policy in Ireland to address the anticipated impacts of climate change through a structured programme of action on adaptation across sectors and levels of government. Under the 2012 Framework, four sectoral plans covering five sectors were developed. These are:

  • Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management (OPW, 2015).
  • Adaptation Planning - Developing Resilience to Climate Change in the Irish Agriculture and Forest Sector (DAFM, 2017).
  • Adaptation Planning - Developing Resilience to Climate Change in the Irish Transport Sector (DTTAS, 2017).
  • Adaptation Plan for the Electricity and Gas Networks Sector (DCCAE, 2017).

These plans will be reviewed and updated in line with the requirements of the NAF and the Climate Act. Each of these plans is discussed further below.

The Office of Public Works' flood risk management sectoral adaptation plan outlines the existing flood risk and flood risk management practice in Ireland and summarises the existing science on climate change and the current state of knowledge for impacts on flooding and flood risk in Ireland. It defines the policy for adaptation in the flood risk management sector and sets out a series of actions to enhance the understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on flooding and flood risk and to embed adaptation into flood risk management practice. The plan also identifies how changing flood risk should be taken into account in spatial planning and other sectors and sets out what is required for the monitoring, review and evaluation of the plan.

The primary objective of the sectoral plan Adaptation Planning - Developing Resilience to Climate Change in the Irish Agriculture and Forest Sector (August, 2017) is to outline a joint approach to adaptation planning within the agriculture and forestry sector. In order to ensure that the approach outlined in the plan is implemented across all areas, it recognises that policies, strategies, plans and measures for, or related to, agriculture and forests must be informed of the need to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change.

The sectoral adaptation plan for the transport sector is a high level plan that seeks to identify vulnerabilities at a national level across the transport system. The plan, which aims to set policy on adaptation strategies for transport, will help to build adaptive capacity within the sector's administrative structures and assist organisations to better understand the implications of climate change for Ireland and how it may impact transport infrastructure and services at a national, regional and local level.

The draft Adaptation Plan for Electricity and Gas Networks Sector (Energy) examines the impacts of climate change and weather related events, both past and projected, on the energy networks (gas and electricity). The plan can be viewed as a first step towards reducing vulnerability and building resilience in the sector. Its aim is to stimulate thinking from the public and interested stakeholders on the very important area of climate change adaptation in the energy networks sector. The plan outlines current areas of vulnerability and sets out the steps that can be taken and measures put in place to avoid or minimise future adverse impacts within the sector and also outlines methods to exploit opportunities.

The National Adaptation Framework identifies the critical role to be played by local authorities in addressing climate change adaptation. This will build on their existing expertise and experience as first responders in emergency planning scenarios. Under the NAF local authorities are required to develop their own local adaptation strategies in line with guidelines developed for the sector, which were published in December 2018. Local authorities have been given a deadline of 30 September 2019 for the development of their local strategies.

In January 2018 DCCAE entered into a five year financial commitment of € 10 million to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs). These offices will have a key role in 2019 in supporting the development of local adaptation strategies. (Further details are provided in the section Engaging Stakeholders: participation and capacity building).

The NAF recognises that effective climate adaptation can minimise risks and costs and also protect lives and property by building resilience into existing systems. This can ultimately help minimise the emergency response that is necessary in response to severe weather events. The NAF seeks to ensure coherence between how the impacts of climate change will influence our combined responses to both adaptation planning and national emergency planning for extreme weather events. The NAF notes the need to enhance coherence and complementarity between the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In Ireland statutory responsibility for emergency planning lies across a number of Government departments. For example, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is designated as the Lead Government Department for coordinating the response to severe weather emergencies. The "Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework" sets out the national arrangements for the delivery of effective emergency management. It outlines the structures for coordinating a "whole of Government" approach and the framework for achieving a systems approach to emergency management. This Framework will be complemented by a series of "Strategic Emergency Management (SEM) Guidelines" dealing with specific aspects of strategic emergency management. This will include a Guideline on climate change. The NAF contains a supporting objective to "Ensure continued alignment with emergency planning for extreme weather events including where plans related to emergencies assigned to a sectoral department as Lead Government department under the "Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework" are climate proofed."

Mainstreaming of adaptation

Ireland’s NAF contains 2 key actions specifically in relation mainstreaming.

  • Action 10 requires Integration of climate adaptation within all relevant national policy and legislation (budgetary process, Capital Investment Planning etc).
  • Action 11 states “Ensure climate proofing considerations are fully integrated into arrangements and reforms arising from the new Ireland 2040 – National Planning Framework including Guidelines, updated guidance on adaptation proofing of SEA and EIA and also in revisions of building standards”.

The planning process provides an established means through which climate change adaptation objectives can be integrated and implemented at local level. Planning legislation already requires different levels of the planning process to address climate change. The NAF identifies the importance of spatial planning as a means of integrating climate adaptation into national policies. It identifies the importance of considering heat-island effects, biodiversity and green spaces, development layouts and building materials within existing planning decision making processes.

The National Planning Framework (NPF) is Ireland’s overarching planning and development framework for the period up to 2040. It sets a high-level strategy for the coordination of a range of national, regional and local policies and activities, planning and investment, for delivery through both the public and private sectors. The NPF seeks to ensure that climate change considerations are further integrated into the planning system. Assessments such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of plans and programmes, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) of projects and Appropriate Assessment (AA) also require the integration of climate change considerations. This is important in terms of mainstreaming such considerations in strategic plans and programmes but also in respect of project specifics at a particular location.

The EPA’s 2015 guidance note on Integrating Climate Change into Strategic Environmental Assessment in Ireland notes that SEA “is now coming to be recognised as perhaps the most flexible and capable instrument of climate policy integration available internationally and nationally”. Climate action has been identified as a Strategic Investment Priority in Ireland’s National Development Plan (2018-27).

Under the NDP a total of EUR 940 million has been identified to implement flood relief projects within the Office of Public Works (OPW) Capital Works Programme.

Desmond (2018) found that the key components of an enabling environment for climate resilience in Ireland are in place, however, some barriers remain, which are hampering adaptation action and implementation. The key to overcoming these barriers is identified as being the effective coordination of institutions and processes involved in climate related actions.

Observations and Projections

The Irish Meteorological Office, Met Eireann is the leading provider of weather and climate information and related services for Ireland. Met Eireann maintains the national network for atmospheric and terrestrial observations to support this function and has an open data policy, which facilitates maximum use and reuse of its datasets. In collaboration with the Irish Marine Institute it also maintains the operational Irish Marine Buoy Network, which provides observations on sea state / temperature and surface weather. Some support is also provided by E-SURFMAR - the Surface Marine Programme of EUMETNET (the Network of European Meteorological Services). A number of other organisations carry out measurements of land-based and hydrological variables. The most important of these organisations are the EPA, which oversees land-cover mapping and coordinates certain hydrological measurements such as groundwater and lake levels, and the Office of Public Works, which has an extensive river flow monitoring network.

The State of Ireland's climate observing system has been documented (Dwyer, 2008, 2012) and an action plan to assist the development of a comprehensive, reliable and sufficient national climate observing system has been prepared (Dwyer, 2009). The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) specifies 54 Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) that are key for sustainable climate observations. A GCOS national committee was established in 2018, led by Met Eireann, to promote the GCOS principles. An updated report on the status of ECV monitoring in Ireland is under preparation.

Climate modelling is a core activity in Met Eireann. Met Eireann has contributed to the scientific development of a new global climate model (EC-Earth) in conjunction with University College Dublin (UCD) and the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC). This was used by Nolan (2015) to provide an analysis of the impacts of global climate change on the mid 21st century climate of Ireland. Met Eireann is continuing work on global ensemble climate simulations using the EC-Earth model for various emission scenarios as well as downscaling the output for the Irish region. The results from this research will contribute to the next IPCC AR6 report and also feed into the different national and EU climate services projects.

The provision of climate services is a central goal of Met Eireann's Strategic Plan 2017-27. These are being provided through an expanded climate research programme, including analysis and reanalysis of the current and past climate, continued climate modelling through the EC-Earth consortium and collaborative research project such as those in the European Research Area for Climate Services (ERA4CS) to provide user specific value-added climate information at a local scale. Met Eireann is also engaging with the OPW and relevant stakeholders in the establishment of the National Flood Forecasting and Warning Service (NFFWS). Met Eireann, as Ireland's representative for two of the Copernicus' implementation bodies (EUMETSAT and ECMWF) and with expertise in the areas on satellite Earth Observation and in situ (non-space) data, has a pivotal role in improving coordination, communication and policy linkage with the Copernicus programme.

Impact and Vulnerability Assessment

In terms of impacts, risk and vulnerability, progress has been made in identifying some of the key impacts and vulnerabilities for Ireland. A Summary of the State of Knowledge on Climate Change Impacts for Ireland (EPA,2017) presents a summary of the state of knowledge on ongoing climate change and projected impacts for Ireland. It updates and enhances the information provided in the 2009 Summary of the State of Knowledge Report (Desmond et al., 2009). The purpose of this report is to provide an accessible summary of the available information in a format that will be of use to policymakers, sectoral and local decision-makers and other stakeholders interested in or working on adaptation to climate change in Ireland. Further research is, however, needed in Ireland on the vulnerability of key sectors and the identification of critical thresholds. The following projects should be particularly noted under this heading:

  • A National Climate Change Vulnerability Scoping study (Coll & Sweeney, 2013) was undertaken to identify high level vulnerabilities for Ireland in a number of key sectors;
  • COCOADAPT (Sweeney et al., 2013) provided recommendations on how key sectors and vulnerable areas could increase their resilience to climate change through adaptation. These include the water, biodiversity, construction and tourism sectors;
  • The Coastal Climate Adaptation in Ireland (CLAD) study (Falaleeva et al., 2013) developed a tool kit to support local level climate adaptation in coastal areas;
  • OPW, through the CFRAM Programme, has undertaken detailed analysis of the potential impacts of climate change on flood extents and hazards and on the potential consequences of flooding in terms of economic damages and assets at risk for two potential future scenarios. This analysis has been undertaken for 300 communities around the country, including cities, towns and other communities at potentially significant flood risk, including 90 coastal communities;
  • The Urban Adapt project is focusing on the Greater Dublin area and will develop an innovative regional approach that allows for the integrated assessment and management of current and future climate vulnerabilities within the context of existing climate/non-climate pressures and spatial planning practices;
  • A National Risk Assessment of Impacts of Climate Change (C-RISK) has commenced. The aim of this EPA-funded project is to establish a national risk and impacts assessment of the effect on Ireland of current and future climate warming patterns in the 21st century;
  • The EPA-funded Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability to Climate Change (CIViC) study will assess the vulnerability of elements (water, energy, transport and communications) of Ireland's critical infrastructure to climate change;
  • The VAPOR project at UCD is assessing the vulnerability of peatlands to climate change and extremes;
  • The Ireland/Wales EU programme (i.e. INTERREG) is also very active under its priority 2 in respect of "Adaptation of the Irish Sea and Coastal Communities to Climate Change" and has four projects of relevance currently listed:
  • JPI Climate ERA4C projects including CoCliME (Co-development of Climate Services for adaptation to a changing Marine Ecosystem) and WatexR (Integration of climate seasonal prediction and ecosystem impact modelling for an efficient adaptation of water resources management to increasing climate extreme).

It is also important to note that as part of the sectoral adaptation plan development process that each sector is required under "Sectoral Planning Guidelines for Climate Change Adaptation" to undertake an assessment of current and future climate risks. These impact assessments will be a significant addition to the knowledge base in terms of climate impacts across Government.

Research

Progress has been be made on advancing the adaptation research agenda in Ireland. Funding for environmental research is the responsibility of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment who have mandated the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to manage and allocate this funding under the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020. Climate Change is one of the three pillars of the EPA Research Programme 2014-2020 funded under a dedicated Climate Change Research Programme (CCRP). A total of €12.2 million in grants was awarded under the EPA Research Programme in 2018 across all 3 funding pillars. The EPA's Climate Pillar is based on four thematic research areas and a coordination structure hosted by the EPA. Under a sub theme of Future Climate in Ireland, Impacts and Adaptation, adaptation research is progressed under the following headings:

  • Observations, monitoring and analysis;
  • Modelling of future climate;
  • Impacts, risk and vulnerability assessment; and
  • Adaptation information and responses.

Research on climate action, including climate adaptation is guided by the EPA national coordination committee on research, which includes a broad level of stakeholders from Government agencies, universities, sectors, private sector and NGOs. A large body of research has been undertaken by various agencies and sectors within Ireland with the specific objective of informing policy and decision making on the mitigation of GHG emissions and climate change adaptation. Scientific data has been provided by the EPA and others such as Met Eireann, Marine institute, DAFM, CoFoRD, OPW and National Universities. The NAF identifies a number of priority areas for adaptation research which will be progressed via the EPA Research Programme.

Climate related research is also funded by a number of other state bodies including Teagasc, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). There has also been engagement with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) in relation to potential collaboration on climate research. Research by national research institutions is also funded through Horizon 2020, the EU's Research and Innovation programme 2014 to 2020, and international research programmes. There has also been a growing engagement with pan European research work through the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) and the development of wider international links. Marine research is supported through maintaining the marine observation network (including weather buoys, tide gauges and moorings) and involvement in research projects in Ireland and internationally including representation at JPI Oceans.

Monitoring progress

Monitoring and reporting, review and accountability are an important component of Ireland's adaptation governance structure. In addition to the oversight and governance structures described in the previous section at national level, oversight and reporting will be undertaken through a number of other statutory mechanisms including:

  • review by the DCCAE Minister of a Government approved NAF not less than once in every five period (Section 5 of the Climate Act);
  • submission of an annual report by the Climate Change Advisory Council to Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment containing findings and recommendations in furthering the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy (Section 12 of the Climate Act);
  • submission of a periodic review report by the Climate Change Advisory Council (at its own instigation or that of the Minister) to the DCCAE Minister (Section 13 of the Climate Act);
  • the presentation of an annual transition statement to each House of the Oireachtas by the DCCAE Minister with regard to a number of mitigation and adaptation related matters including adaptation policy measures adopted in the preceding year to enable the achievement of the National Transition Objective (Section 14 of the Climate Act);
  • the presentation of annual sectoral adaptation statements to each House of the Oireachtas by Ministers responsible for developing sectoral adaptation plans (Section 14 of the Climate Act).

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment leads and coordinates national adaptation policy and will support the implementation of the National Adaptation Framework at national, sectoral and local government levels working, as appropriate, through the National Adaptation Steering Committee and with due regard to the statutory functions assigned to it under the 2015 Act. The Department provides high level political, policy and administrative leadership in relation to adaptation and ensures that all relevant Ministers, administrations and sectors are aware of their adaptation obligations. It also assists and supports the delivery of capacity building and training programmes with the aim of equipping decision makers with the capability and confidence to analyse, plan for and respond to the risks and opportunities that a changing climate presents. In addition, the Department is responsible for complying with Ireland's reporting obligations at EU and UN levels.

Governance

Sectoral coordination has taken place under the auspices of the National Adaptation Steering Committee (NASC), which is chaired by DCCAE. As a key action under the NAF, the Committee has been restructured to ensure that a coordinated, comprehensive and coherent approach continues to operate in implementing actions under the NAF. The need for appropriate cross sectoral coordination and consultation is identified as critical to the effective implementation of the NAF. The NASC's membership includes representatives of those preparing plans under the NAF, as well as other key departments and agencies. The NASC reports into National Climate Action High-Level Steering Group, which is chaired by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The High-Level Steering Group addresses both climate mitigation and adaptation.

The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) was established on 18 January 2016 under Section 8 of the Climate Act. The Council, which is independent in the performance of its functions, provides advice in relation to the preparation of a NAF and the making by a relevant Minister of a sectoral adaptation plan. In addition, the Council has a number of reporting obligations, including those with regard to "Annual" and "Periodic Reviews" of progress towards meeting the National Transition Objective. The CCAC published its first periodic report in July 2017, which makes specific recommendations in respect of the development of the NAF. It also established an Adaptation Committee in 2016 to focus specifically on adaptation related matters.

In January 2018 DCCAE entered into a five year financial commitment of €10 million to establish four Climate Action Regional Offices (CAROs). This commitment recognises the significant obligation that has been placed on local governments to develop and implement their own climate action measures, as well as the need to build capacity within the sector to engage effectively with climate change - both in terms of mitigation and adaptation. These offices will enable a more coordinated engagement across the whole of government and will help build on the experience and expertise that exists across the sector. The CAROs are being operated by a lead local authority in four different regions that have be grouped together based on a climate risk assessment with a focus on the predominant risk(s) in each geographical area.

The Department recently agreed on a work programme with the CAROs for 2019. The main role for the CAROs in 2019 in terms of supporting national adaptation policy will include providing guidance to and coordination of the development of local adaptation strategies before 30 September 2019. Dublin's four local authorities have jointly drafted Climate Change Action Plans for the period 2019-2024, which outline the mitigation and adaptation actions each local authority will take in response to the climate change challenges facing Dublin.

Ireland's regional assemblies are developing draft Regional and Social Economic Strategies (RSES). The Draft RSESs are strategic plans that identify regional assets, opportunities and pressures and provide appropriate policy responses in the form of Regional Policy Objectives. The 3 draft RSESs that have been developed have specific goals in relation to climate action. Linkages between the CARO structure mentioned above and the regional assemblies are also being developed. In addition the regional assemblies are represented on the National Adaptation Steering Committee.

The British and Irish Council (BIC) and North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) are identified as potential avenues for transboundary cooperation on climate adaptation. The BIC's membership comprises representatives from the Irish Government, UK Government, Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Executive, Welsh Government, Isle of Man Government, Government of Jersey and Government of Guernsey. The British-Irish Council's Environment Working Group held its fifteenth ministerial meeting, hosted by the Government of Ireland, on 23 March 2018. There was agreement at the meeting that the private sector, local government, communities and civil society all have a key role to play in increasing climate resilience and all administrations are committed to sharing their experiences on supporting and engaging these sectors. A work programme based on the outcome of the meeting is currently being developed by the administrations.

Knowledge

A number of tools and resources are now also in place to assist with building adaptive capacity in Ireland. Climate Ireland, Ireland's Climate Information Platform, provides support to decision makers in the development of their adaptation plans, policies and strategies. This is achieved through the provision of:

  • Tailored information to support awareness and understanding of climate adaptation,
  • Essential climate information (observed and projected) to support impact and risk assessment,
  • Decision-making frameworks and tools to support Local Authority and Sectoral plans.

A key action of the NAF requires it to put in place arrangements to ensure Climate Ireland  is developed to its full potential as a long term operational support for climate action in Ireland. The Irish Government established a National Dialogue on Climate Action in 2017. The objectives of the National Dialogue, as agreed by Government, are to:

  • create awareness, engagement and motivation to act (locally, regionally and nationally) in relation to the challenges presented by climate change;
  • create structures and information flows to facilitate people gathering to discuss, deliberate and maximise consensus on appropriate responses to these challenges, and to enable and empower appropriate action;
  • establish, on a long term basis, appropriate networks for people to meet periodically to consider evidence-based inputs on the economic, social, behavioural, environmental and public aspects of climate and energy policy; and
  • provide regular input, through the NDCA, into the prioritisation and implementation of climate and energy policy, which can be reported and monitored at local, regional, and national levels.

DCCAE is working closely with the Environment Protection Agency to implement the National Dialogue, including the following initiatives:

  • regional and local gatherings, which will be held across Ireland to engage with local communities on the challenges of addressing climate change. A pilot Regional Gathering was held on 23 June in Athlone, with a second event in Tralee, County Kerry, on 10 November;
  • professionally moderated and accessible expert lectures/debates on key policy issues, hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency; and
  • the Tidy Towns Climate Action award, sponsored by DCCAE.

DCCAE and EPA are currently exploring best practices in terms of implementing the dialogue at the local level. The Citizens' Assembly was an exercise in deliberative democracy, placing the citizen at the heart of important legal and policy issues facing Irish society. With the benefit of expert, impartial and factual advice, the 100 citizen Members considered a number of important topics. One of the topics identified was "How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change." The Assembly met over two weekends in 2017 to deliberate on the topic. Their conclusions formed the basis of a number of reports and recommendations that were submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further debate by Ireland's elected representatives. The report of the Citizens' Assembly was submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas in April 2018, and the Houses subsequently established the Joint Committee on Climate Action to further consider the recommendations and report. The Joint Committee is considering whether and how each recommendation might be taken up by Government.

In order to support key national sectors in planning for climate adaptation, statutory "Sectoral Guidelines for Planning for Climate Change Adaptation" were published in May 2018. These guidelines aim to ensure that a coherent and consistent approach to adaptation planning is adopted at national and local levels and draws on existing sources of climate and adaptation information relevant for Ireland (e.g., Climate Ireland). Sectors that are required to prepared sectoral adaptation plans under the NAF are required to use the Guidelines when developing their plans. Local level planning for adaptation has been supported through the provision of statutory "Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines." The Guidelines were originally developed as part of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research project "Local Authority Adaptation Strategy Development Guidelines" under the EPA Research Programme. Local authorities are required to use these Guidelines when developing their local adaptation strategies.

International dimensions

Ireland is in the process of finalising a new International Development Policy, which will form the basis for future development cooperation. In recognition of the importance of climate change as a barrier to the achievement of the SDGs, climate has been identified as a priority. The majority of this work falls within the remit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), through the international cooperation programme. DFAT's international work on climate adaptation is featured in the Climate Change and Development Learning Platform developed with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). IIED is a key partner for Ireland in supporting Irish Aid Key Partner Countries and organisations to integrate climate change and climate risk management into development programmes and planning. Other vital partners include the UNISDR, the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). Ireland is also in the process of designing a comprehensive programme of support for small island development states to help them build resilience to climate change.

Ireland's international financial support for climate change action heavily prioritises adaptation programmes. Generally, over 90% of Irish finance in recent years has supported adaptation in developing countries, largely in sub-Saharan Africa. Ireland has played a significant role in OECD-DAC, EU and UN on prioritising adaptation in climate diplomacy. Ireland is currently co-chair of Environet, the Environment and Climate group of OECD-DAC, co-chair of the EU Expert Group on Adaptation and is an active member of the UNFCCC LDC Expert Group. In recognition of the crucial links between climate vulnerability and security, Ireland has placed climate change at the heart of its bid to sit on the UN Security Council from 2021-2023. DCCAE is also examining how best to integrate its adaptation action at national level with its international activities.

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Principal Officer

Dr. John O'Neill

29-31 Adelaide Road Dublin 2 D02 X285

Mail NationalAdaptationFramework@dccae.gov.ie 

Website http://www.dccae.gov.ie 

[Disclaimer]
The information presented in these pages is based on the reporting according to the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 525/2013) and updates by the EEA member countries