1.2 Linking Adaptation Platforms with Sector-based, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Services Platforms

1.2.1 The Broader Adaptation Policy Context

As mentioned above, the primary need for information and knowledge on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation comes from the development and implementation of adaptation strategies and actions at EU, transnational, national and sub-national scales. The policy context for adaptation has been described above. 

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However in parallel, important and relevant thematic and sector-based policies have also further developed their respective knowledge bases. For various themes and sectors this also includes knowledge on mainstreaming of climate change in their respective areas. Key thematic EU policies that are aiming at mainstreaming of climate change adaptation include agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, water management, coastal management, marine ecosystems and fisheries, human and animal health, and disaster risk reduction (DRR)[1]. Furthermore, there are various EU funds available for mainstreaming[2] activities in Member states, including enhancing resilience of infrastructure.

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For a number of reasons, it is important to explore the linkages between the information and knowledge platforms in place for these thematic areas and those in place for adaptation. For example, understanding these linkages may help to avoid overlap and duplication but also to enhance synergies and benefits for those using the respective platforms. Furthermore, different communities of practice may be better connected and thereby better informed as a result of enhancing the linkages between these platforms.  

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All of the policy areas mentioned above are relevant, and in some cases, such as water[3], biodiversity[4] and human health[5], information platforms are in place. However enhanced relationships between climate adaptation, climate services and DRR platforms are seen as important and thus the policy context for each of these is presented here in more detail. Links to platforms are further explained in section 2.3.

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The ‘policy cycle’ regarding disaster risks includes enhancing prevention, preparedness, emergency response and recovery. It should be noted that disasters cover a broader range of hazards, such as geophysical, hydrological, industrial, weather and climate related). The link with climate change adaptation is mainly relevant regarding weather- and climate-related disasters.

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1.2.2 Disaster risk reduction services

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism[6] (regulation revised in 2013[7]) enables a coordinated assistance from EU and other member states if the scale of an emergency overwhelms national response capabilities. It includes for example an Emergency Response Coordination Centre, which collects real-time information on disasters, monitors hazards, and prepares plans for the deployment of resources. Also many EU member states have similar national information and coordination centres and related knowledge platforms or web sites. Increasingly national as well as EU policies also focus attention on the important ‘prevention’ aspect[8]. In 2014, the European Commission published guidelines for risk assessment to support Member States in preparing national assessments. Based on information provided by Member States, the Commission in 2014 produced an overview of natural and man-made risks in the EU, which will be updated in upcoming years based on further information provided by Member States. The next update has to be reported by end 2015.

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Various countries are developing and implementing risk prevention measures (e.g. related to floods, also linked to the EU Floods directive). The EU Floods directive requires countries to develop and report flood risk management plans to the European Commission by 2015[9]. The Water Information System for Europe, managed by EEA, is including information related to the floods directive[10]. Integration of climate change in disaster risk management is already taking place, although there is interest and expressed need that this should be further enhanced.

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1.2.3 Climate change services

Attention to adaptation as a response to climate change has been increasing within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change[11]. The topic will also be addressed in the global climate change agreement, expected to be adopted by end of 2015. The need for better climate data and information, such as the impacts of climate change,) has thus increased. As a response at the global level, the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) was established[12]. It gives priority to the needs of climate-vulnerable developing countries.

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At the EU level various initiatives on climate and climate change services have emerged from different perspectives. Within the EU research budget until 2020 (Horizon2020) funding is available for climate related research, including climate services A ‘roadmap’ for climate services was developed, to be presented in 2015[13], and implemented over the coming years. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) was set up in November 2014, coordinated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF[14]). It is aimed to increase the knowledge base at the EU level to support adaptation and mitigation policies. It will include both in-situ and satellite-based observations on essential climate variables. Furthermore, it covers re-analysis of data, climate change predictions and projections and possibly climate change impacts and vulnerability information. EEA is exploring collaboration with C3S, towards enhancing linkages with its work on indicators and on Climate-ADAPT.

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The European Joint Programming Initiative on Climate (JPI Climate)[15] is a collaboration between 14 European countries to coordinate jointly their climate research and fund new transnational research initiatives. It also works on climate services[16], in collaboration with the European Commission.

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Furthermore within the EU-funded European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)[17] the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Communities (Climate-KIC) was established. This is a public-private innovation partnership, addressing both mitigation and adaptation and bringing together organisations from private, public and academic sectors. It includes activities related to adaptation services[18].

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Finally at national level a range of climate services have been established, such as the Climate Adaptation Service (CAS[19]) in the UK. These are often originating from meteorological institutes as a response to the GFCS. They have varying scopes, experiences and expertise, depending on the national circumstances, needs and capabilities.  They are structured in order to provide the information not only for adaptation, but also for mitigation and other policies.

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1.2.4 Differences and similarities between climate change and adaptation services

Corresponding to the establishment of the term “climate services” the term “adaptation services” has been introduced to describe the services supporting decision-making to address climate change. Adaptation platforms as web-based resources are one important, but not the only means to provide the adaptation services. Based on their mandate in the policy cycle, the main purpose of the adaptation platforms is to build a consistent and updated knowledge base for the decision making on adaptation policy, planning and action. More specifically, they facilitate the collection, sharing and using of information on climate change, vulnerability and adaptation.

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There are not universally accepted definitions of climate services or of adaptation services (see definitions below). There is also no clear delineation between what comprise these two linked services (see definitions and Annexes 1 and 2) nor the platforms on which they are provided. This potentially confusing situation would benefit from a better understanding of the differences and similarities, as well as an exploration of the potential benefits of closer collaboration (see section 2.3). The lack of accepted definitions is largely because of the above-mentioned developments. It is also influenced by the related communities, which determine how climate change and climate services have been defined and continue to be developed and defined. These different communities are adopting a more comprehensive or restrictive definition according to what best suits their vision, remit, functions, stakeholders and their needs, and circumstances. Thus the definitions will develop and change over time based on increased experiences of users and providers that will be accumulated in the coming years.

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Some examples of current definitions of climate services are:

  • Global Framework of Climate Services[20] - providing climate information in a way that assists decision-making by individuals and organizations. A service requires appropriate engagement along with an effective access mechanism and must respond to user needs;
  • JPI Climate - User-driven development and provision of knowledge for understanding the climate, climate change and its impacts, as well as guidance in its use to researchers and decision makers in policy and business;
  • Climate Services Partnership[21] - Production, translation, transfer, and use of climate knowledge and information in climate-informed decision-making and climate-smart policy and planning;
  • Advisory Group for H2020 Societal Challenge 5 - transformation of climate-related data into customised products, their subsequent application and outreach and strong links with social sciences and humanities. Linked to this the abovementioned EU ‘Roadmap on climate services’ has been developed.

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For adaptation services, there is an evolving understanding of what these comprise as reflected in the following statements:

  • Climate-KIC - increasing the capacity of society, cities and infrastructure to be able to adapt to climate change (EIT Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community, Climate-KIC) – taking knowledge from climate services and translating it into concrete services and solutions further downstream to make a real impact;
  • UK based CAS Foundation - information services supporting the assessment of vulnerability in a wider perspective and includes design and appraisal of adaptation strategies – going the last mile by translating climate impact information to policy relevant and usable science[22].

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These definitions suggest that in both cases the services are those required by the intended user communities to inform their decision-making processes. They also suggest the following main differences:

  • Climate (or climate change) services focus primarily on the provision of climate information, data and knowledge, but include often also climate impacts).
  • Climate adaptation services go beyond the provision of these climate services to provide a broader set of services to support adaptation, including vulnerability and risks assessments of regions and sectors, adaptation strategies, adaptation options, case studies planning tools, policy frameworks and processes.

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As such, these definitions suggest that climate services are a sub-set of adaptation services (see figures in Annex 1 and 2, respectively). Furthermore this suggests that the main common element, which can provide synergies, lies in the area of climate change impacts, and vulnerability and risks.

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 Highlighting these differences i this report is to provide the context for understanding the adaptation platform landscape. Cl Understanding the services available through the different platforms helps to determine the the need for and scope of the relationships among the different platforms.

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[1] http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/eu-adaptation-policy/mainstreaming

[2] http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu/eu-adaptation-policy/funding

[3] Water information system for Europe, http://water.europa.eu/

[4] Biodiversity information system for Europe, http://biodiversity.europa.eu/topics/climate-change

[5] WHO, http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/Climate-change and ECDC,  http://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/healthtopics/climate_change/Pages/index.aspx

[6] http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/thematic/civil_protection_en.pdf

[7] http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/thematic/civil_protection_legislation_en.pdf

[8] http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/thematic/disaster_risk_management_en.pdf

[9] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/flood_risk/

[10] http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/water/interactive/floods-directive-viewer

[11] http://unfccc.int/adaptation/items/4159.php

[12] http://www.gfcs-climate.org/

[13] http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/fighting-and-adapting-climate-change-1 and http://ec.europa.eu/research/index.cfm?pg=events&eventcode=552E851C-E1C6-AFE7-C9A99A92D4104F7E

[14] http://www.ecmwf.int/en/about/media-centre/news/2014/copernicus-climate-change-and-atmosphere-monitoring-services

[15] European Joint Programming Initiative on Climate: “Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe”

[16] http://www.jpi-climate.eu/jpi-themes/research-agenda/theme2

[17] http://eit.europa.eu/

[18] http://www.climate-kic.org/themes/adapting-to-climate-change/

[19] http://www.climateadaptationservices.com/uk/home.

[20] http://www.gfcs-climate.org/what_are_climate_weather_services

[21] http://www.climate-services.org/content/what-are-climate-services

[22] http://www.climateadaptationservices.com/uk/home.

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