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Reconciling Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development for Cities (RAMSES)


The main aim of this research project was to deliver quantitative evidence of the impacts of climate change and the costs and benefits of a wide range of adaptation measures, focusing on urban areas. RAMSES engaged with stakeholders in order to foster the policy relevance of the knowledge gathered, and in order to facilitate the design and implementation of adaptation strategies in the EU and beyond. Cities’ characteristics and their inter-linkages were identified and used to provide the local context for the assessment, in an integrated top-down and bottom-up approach aimed at quantifying risks, vulnerabilities and damages due to climate change. Associated costs and benefits of adaptation were estimated in order to support the design of sustainable transition strategies in urban areas. RAMSES provided an evidence basis useful to reduce adaptation costs and to enable better understanding and acceptance of adaptation measures in cities.

Besides the scientific contributions, the political and institutional context in case study cities was examined, allowing the identification of mechanisms that shape concrete policy making. This clarified that a shift from pure technical and/or simple cost benefit considerations must occur, and that city stakeholders require a portfolio of options rather than one optimal pathway, with the empowerment of people being a fundamental element in increasing the acceptance of climate change adaptation measures.

RAMSES’ main outcomes included:

  • A strategic framing for evidence-based adaptation decision-making.
  • Multi-level analysis integrating cities’ traditional local approach to adaptation strategies in a comprehensive bottom-up/top-down framework that considered costs at the national, EU and international levels.
  • A framework for assessment of economic costs and benefits of adaptation, with methodologies developed to consider both direct and indirect costs of climate-related impacts.
  • City case studies and stakeholder engagement actions that highlighted the relevance of the framework for policymakers and increased acceptability of adaptation measures for other stakeholders.
  • A user-friendly toolbox for city stakeholders dealing with adaptation and mitigation decisions. It comprises a Transition Handbook (a step-by-step guide), training materials, and a web-based audio-visual guidance application.

Project information


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research


London School of Economics and Political Science Newcastle University & Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Flemish Institute for Technological Research IDDR - Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations TECNALIA Research & Innovation - Energy and Environment NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe T6 Ecosystem s.r.l. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, European Secretariat Seneca Consultants srl Climate Media Factory UG Institut Veolia Environnement

Source of funding

co-financed by the European Commission FP 7

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Apr 04 2024

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