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Preparing the ground for adaptation

1.2 How do I set up the adaptation process within my municipality?

Adaptation is a complex cross-sectoral, multi-issue and multi-level decision-making area and as such requires a certain set-up to ensure success, consistency and continuity.


When preparing the ground for developing adaptation policies, a number of key aspects to set up the process need to be addressed. These involve establishing a core team with an explicit mandate for the management of the process, liaising with all relevant administrative bodies and identifying affected stakeholders to be involved. Work on activities initiated at this stage should be continued throughout all later steps of the adaptation cycle and adapted to the size and capacities of the municipality (e.g. some cities might have specific units, other deal with it as part of the planning unit).

Establishing a core team:

To sustain an adaptation process in the long term, a clear mandate for the management of the adaptation process should be given to an organisation or a smaller group of people employed by the government. The precise responsibilities of the core team might be context-specific but can range from steering the process within the public authority to formulating policy drafts, from acting as contact point for adaptation to communicating adaptation internally and externally, etc. Members of the core team should have long standing experiences with weather/climate-related issues and should be qualified to cover a broad range of issues that might be relevant for the adaptation process.

The following aspects should be considered when establishing a core team for adaptation:

  • Determine the members and obtain their consent
  • Define the tasks of the group at the first meeting
  • Agree upon the structure for collaboration (e.g. frequency of meetings, type of communication within the core team, rules of cooperation)
  • Create a schedule and set milestones
  • Identify cooperation needs with other administrative bodies and stakeholders
  • Communicate, both internally (management) and externally (public, etc.) and with decision makers
  • Organise a transparent documentation of all steps taken in the process
  • Liaise with other relevant administrative bodies


Liaising with all relevant administrative bodies:

All relevant authorities (e.g. responsible for health, civil protection, transport, energy, economy, finance, education, utilities, social services etc.) need to be informed and involved in the adaptation process, receiving a clear mandate to take decisions in their fields of responsibility. This applies as well to the core team discussed above.

Their degree of involvement may vary from providing and exchanging information to building adaptive capacity or taking decisions on adaptation within their sphere of authority.

It is also useful to make use of and coordinate with existing platforms and institutional set-ups. In particular, the national platforms for disaster risk reduction, which many European countries have established, provides a multi-sectoral platform that could facilitate interaction between disaster risk reduction and adaptation stakeholders.

Identify affected stakeholders and involve them in the adaptation process:

Cooperation with relevant stakeholders within the urban area, including interest groups, NGOs or those from the private sector, can be set up with different levels of involvement, e.g. access to information, consultation on specific issues of concern to participatory involvement throughout the whole process. The level of involvement can also change over the course of the adaptation process (e.g. high level when defining objectives vs. low level when working on an evaluation scheme). But when starting the process, the aims of the process as well as the role of stakeholders need to be clear and communicated in order to manage expectations. More on stakeholder identification in involvement in Q1.6.

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