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Methodology for Effective Decision-making on Impacts and AdaptaTION

Europe has played a frontrunner role in both climate change science and policy development but it has to been slow to focus on adaptation within it own border. Because the different European countries have different resources for research and have different political priorities, the present data and assessments are scattered, not always direct relevance to policy makers and not readily accessible to stakeholders. The availability of assessments of climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in Europe is yet fragmented and incomplete. Easily accessible and policy-relevant information, including data, methods and other tools, is urgently needed to support the present dynamic adaptation policy development.

MEDIATION's objective was to develop an integrated methodology to support policy making in the field of climate change adaptation. It aimed to provide decision makers with a set of tools and metrics that can be used to meet the field's many challenges.
As there is no single method to make policy on
adaptation, the MEDIATION intended to develop guidance on several methods and to offer a number of options based on different cases. Methods should be selected according to the policy decision context, the available data, the conditions of applicability, and the objectives of the users. The results should be made available through a common platform, which should be linked with Climate-ADAPT.

MEDIATION achieved its objectives as follows:

  • Analysis of the decision-making context: Knowledge needs regarding climate impact assessment and adaptation policy developments will be assessed in consultation with decision makers from different levels of government and other stakeholders.
  • Inventory, review and improvement of methods and metrics for impacts, vulnerability analysis and adaptation options: Available methods and tools for analysing and assessing impacts, vulnerability and adaptation options will be identified, including cost-effectiveness criteria;
  • Development of an overarching integrated methodology: Available knowledge from previous national and international experience will be incorporated into an integrated methodology to analyse and assess impacts, vulnerability and adaptation options;

The main results of the MEDIATION project are reflected in the interactive MEDIATION Adaptation Platform which comprises:

·         The MEDIATION Adaptation Pathfinder, which guides users who want to support their decisions about particular adaptation challenges with the most appropriate methods and tools.

·         The MEDIATION Toolbox, which provides detailed information on around 40 methods and tools.

·         The MEDIATION Case Study Navigator, which provides case studies that were used to build the two tools above

In addition a synthesis brochure, several policy technical briefing notes and other training products have been developed to enable an easy uptake of the methods and tools.


Target audience: the Adaptation Platform is intended for use by experts with some basic technical or scientific knowledge and skills, who engage in policy advice, policy analysis or other research supporting decision making on climate change adaptation.


MEDIATION proposes a comprehensive framework to structure adaptation challenges:

In the project a diagnostic framework with multiple entry points that helps users select appropriate methods and tasks for a given adaptation situation was developed. It comprises a sequence of decision trees that map types of adaptation situations onto appropriate research approaches or onto practices in those cases in which research is not applicable. The interlinked framework encompasses generic methodologies, natural science–based models, socio economic evaluation methods, and social and institutional analytical frameworks.


Adaptation turning points are an innovative approach to addressing adaptation problems. This approach was - as much as in other projects -pioneered in the field of water safety in MEDIATION , but elaborated for other areas in MEDIATION (wine production, salmon reintroduction in the Rhine and Waddensea ecosystem services). Adaptation becomes relevant to decision makers in threshold situations where, due to climate change, policies no longer meet their objectives and alternative strategies must be considered. A focus on such thresholds allows for pertinent dialogue between decision makers and scientists about how such change is acceptable, when unacceptable conditions may be reached, how likely these conditions are, and which alternative adaptation pathways could be considered in such a situation.


MEDIATION  adds new and improved methods to the existing adaptation toolbox: MEDIATION developed a  stand-alone European Forest fire model, a pioneering attempt to quantify the impacts of reactive and preventive adaption strategies within one modelling framework on  large scale. The Spanish case studies link natural science and economic modelling with stakeholder network analysis and analytical hierarchical processing. In addition to conventional socioeconomic evaluation methods such as cost-benefit, cost –effectiveness and multi-criteria analyses, MEDIATION proposes other methods for adaptation support (e. g. real options analysis, portfolio analysis and robust decision making).


MEDIATION results are available for training purposes: In order to promote problem-oriented research and practice, MEDIATION has developed a number of training products and technical briefing notes. Further information can be found on the MEDIATION and weADAPT websites.

The MEDIATION framework was used as the conceptual basis for  the UNEP/WMO/UNESCO PROVIA´s Guidane for the Assessment of Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation.

Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek, Alterra (Netherlands) NL
Internationales Institut für Angewandte Systemanalyse AT
European Climate Forum DE
Commission of the European Communities – Directorate General Joint Research Centre - JRC IT
Potsdam Institut für Klimafolgenforschung DE
Regional Environment Center for Central and Eastern Europe HU
SEI Oxford Office Limited + Stockholm Environment Institute Oxford Office GB
Suomen Ymparistokeskus FI
Universita degli Studi Firenze IT
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid ES
Wageningen Universiteit NL