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uast_logo_5 Preparing the ground for adaptation Assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change Identifying adaptation options Assessing adaptation options Implementation Monitoring and evaluation


Implementing adaptation

5.3 Mainstreaming adaptation in urban policies and plans

Adaptation should not be performed in isolation from the existing urban policy framework that covers sectoral policies, strategies, implementation, management and organisation structures and processes. Mainstreaming adaptation into the existing city policy framework can raise the profile of adaptation, ensure a more efficient use of resources, help policy makers find synergies between development and adaptation and reduce conflicts among policies.

Due to its cross-cutting nature adaptation could be mainstreamed in sectoral policies such as water management, transportbuilt environment or health. The evaluation of the ongoing activities in various policy areas and sectors (see Step 2.6) will provide a municipality with an overview of adaptation mainstreaming opportunities in all the various sectoral policies.

The main entry points for urban adaptation are urban planning, risk management and budgeting. 

In terms of urban planning, review of several planning documents is required to identify options and strategies for integrating urban adaptation. These may include town and country planning acts and zoning regulations, existing land use plans, development control rules and building by-laws, district planning manuals, building codes, urban development plans, city master plans, sustainable development strategies and plans, integrated climate change strategies and plans as well as disaster risk management and emergency response plans and any specific sectoral strategies and plans.

From a risk management perspective, a useful approach may be to not focus on climate change per se but rather on improving preparedness, robustness of decision making and overall resilience. Risk management approaches along with economic analysis will help to target specific strategies to the most urgent, cheapest or highest net-benefit activities.

Mainstreaming adaptation into budgets is essential, especially in respect of acquiring and prioritizing resources. Moreover, the mainstreaming of adaptation decisions into all dimensions of government will allow implementation to occur over time using existing budgets and balancing incremental costs with the economic, environmental and social values produced.