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Preparing the ground for adaptation

1.4 Collecting information

Adaptation policy development should be based on evidence and robust information and knowledge. When starting to plan for adaptation, a collection of all potentially relevant information should be undertaken. This includes:

  • identifying existing work on current and potential future climate-related impacts and risks,
  • ongoing adaptation-relevant activities and
  • good practice examples within or outside the country.

I. Identify existing work on current and future climate-related impacts and risks

A first screening of existing work on possible climate change related effects in the short, medium and long term should be carried out. On the global level, the IPCCC has drafted the AR6 that address the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science. EEA produces numerous indicators describing observed and projected climate change and its impacts in EuropeMoreover, the EEA Report ‘Europe's changing climate hazards — an index-based interactive EEA report provides a useful overview of the EEA indicators as well as additional information on the policy context. A reliable and user-oriented climate services provider is Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). C3S gives access to information on past, current and future states of the climate in Europe; in particular, the Climate Data Store (CDS) provides tailor services for specific public or commercial needs. The European Climate Data Explorer is a graphical user interface that provides interactive access to many climate indices from the Climate Data Store of the C3S in an easy-to-use way. Furthermore, C3S offers annual climate reports, climate bulletins as well as pilot studies on climate impact assessment for selected sector through its Sectoral Information System (SIS). Specifically for climate impacts on human health and well-being, the collates a wealth of relevant resources. The European Climate Health Observatory can support with information throughout different phases of the policy cycle, including developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating health related adaptation strategies and plans.

Furthermore, the series of PESETA projects (PESETA I, II, III and IV) of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) evaluates possible biophysical and economic consequences of future climate change for Europe. 

This screening phase should also take into account the results of projects and studies which focus on specific sectors like: agriculture, forestry, water management, fishery, biodiversity and ecosystem services, health, energy, tourism, transport, construction/buildings, economy/industry, civil protection/disaster risk reduction, spatial planning/land-use planning and social issues. EEA provides an overview on the challenges posed by climate change and adaptation actions for the agriculture, transport and energy sectors. Sectoral associations, consultancies, or single public entities shall carry out sectoral analyses. Past natural /weather and climate-related events and disasters are documented in several international databases, such as EM-DAT or DesInventar. However due to thresholds in reporting they have their limitations. The insurance sector, in particular the re-insurance companies, also maintain hazard and risk databases. The EEA maintains an indicator and a dashboard based on NatCatSERVICE and CATDAT (RiskLayer) on a yearly basis.

This broad first overview will help to trigger the process and develop a case for adaptation and provide a basis for a more in-depth analysis at a later stage. In addition, it supports to foster the discussion on adaptation policy relevant aspects such as objectives, priority sectors, vulnerable groups, etc.

II. Identify ongoing activities with relevance for adaptation

Adaptation should not be performed in isolation. Relevant instruments and ongoing adaptation-related actions (although possibly not carried out under the headline of "adaptation") in place should be identified, such as for instance disaster risk reduction and management, biodiversity protection or land use planning/spatial planning policies. In addition, existing sectoral or regional adaptation strategies/plans in the country as well as transnational and European adaptation and adaptation-relevant activities should be identified.

This can be done in close cooperation with colleagues from other authorities and affected stakeholders with the following guiding questions to help identifying ongoing activities relevant for adaptation:

  • Have they already been confronted with the topics of climate change or adaptation?
  • Are they aware of studies or projects on the topic of climate change or adaptation from other sources (universities, other research institutions, governmental ministries, other countries, etc.) that are important?
  • Are there measures already in place that contribute to adaptation, even if they are not specifically identified or labelled as adaptation measures?
  • Have targeted adaptation-relevant activities already been implemented?
  • Are there existing tools, strategies, processes, etc., that are important or could be used for adaptation to climate change?
  • What are existing networks or initiatives relevant to adaptation and how can they be used or seized for adaptation?

An overview of country-specific activities in the field of climate change adaptation is available at the Climate-ADAPT country pages.

III. Explore good practices within or outside the country

Adaptation practices that work well in one area can potentially be transferred to tackle similar challenges in other areas considering specific contexts. However, the performance of individual measures may depend on the scope of the problem and the specific scale of implementation. Making use of existing information on good adaptation practices and experiences (i.e. Climate-ADAPT Case Studies) can also optimise individual resources and effort management.

Climate-ADAPT database items

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