2.3 Relationships between Climate Adaptation, Climate Service and Disaster Risk Reduction Platforms

There are a growing number of web-based platforms and websites operating at national and EU levels providing data and information to users on climate, climate adaptation or DRR. . In addition, there is a range of sector-based websites that provide climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation information both at the EU and national levels (e.g., water (WISE[1]), biodiversity (BISE[2]) and health (WHO and ECDC[3])).  This report has purposefully focused on the relationships between climate adaptation, climate service and DRR platforms as many organisations within the EU and nationally realise that there is a need to enhance synergies and avoid duplication, as well as to effectively and efficiently use limited resources. 

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At the same time, there are a number of perspectives on the nature and scope of these platforms and their respective users. In reality, the differences among them, particularly from the perspective of users, are somewhat blurred and becoming more so, with implications for those using, and those delivering and supporting the services provided. At the same time, there is growing recognition of the potential benefits that could be realised if there was a stronger and sustained relationship among these platforms. This growing recognition is reflected in experimenting and learning about the potential nature and scope of these relationships; partly as a result of demand, partly because of a push by funders and partly because of various learning and mimicking processes.  In a few cases, the relationship is also happening because the same actors and organisations are involved (e.g., in Sweden, Switzerland and Finland).

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The strengthening of these relationships is expected to deliver benefits to the respective platforms managers, but also to those using the resulting services and to those funding the different platforms.

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This section of the report explores the potential for these relationships from the perspective of climate adaptation platforms and their managers.

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2.3.1 Elements of existing relationship between and among Climate Adaptation, Climate Service and Disaster Risk Reduction Platforms

The nature and scope of the platforms

Climate services have primarily focused on providing climate data, information and knowledge (i.e. services) to support decision and policy making (potentially including adaptation, mitigation and DRR). Although climate service platforms have been operating for many years, the Global Framework for Climate Services[4] (launched at the World Climate Conference-3 in 2009) has guided recent developments, including an implementation plan[5] and a user interface platform[6] that provides a structured means for users, researchers and climate service providers to interact at the global, regional and national levels to ensure that user needs for climate services are met.

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Climate adaptation platforms have different origins and do not yet have a general guiding framework. Their different histories and roles in the exchange and mobilisation of climate change adaptation information preclude the forming of any clear framework. They tend to focus on the provision of action-oriented and supportive policy data, information and knowledge (services) aimed at informing adaptation. Climate adaptation services have in most cases a broader ambition than climate services and include socio-economic and other physical data and information, and tools and resources to support adaptation decision-making.

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The Hyogo Framework for Action[7] (a 10-year plan to make the world safer from natural hazards) has been seminal in motivating the establishment of national platforms on DRR[8] which are now present in most European countries. The DRR community addresses all kinds of hazards, including geophysical, industrial, and meteorological / hydrological. In terms of scope of the DRR community’s efforts, these cover the whole policy and implementation cycle of early warning, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. EU policies on DRR have been explained in section 1.2 above. At the global level, the information and knowledge management for disaster risk reduction (IKM4DRR) dialogues[9] have provided opportunities for interested practitioners to share and develop knowledge and experiences on DRR-related issues. In Europe the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) facilitates discussion and advances on disaster risk reduction[10].

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The climate adaptation community also addresses changes in extreme events, along with slower onset changes that among other things can affect the distribution and frequency of extremes. Climate adaptation focuses its efforts on supporting adaptation and building resilience. Building resilience is also an important task for DRR. There is thus a common need to address (climatological) extremes, and to reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience. More specifically, the common interests include identification, implementation and evaluation of prevention and preparedness measures in the context of extreme events. These have led to an expressed need for a stronger relationship between the DRR and climate adaptation communities, including between their respective service platforms. 

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Table 2.3.1       Climate change adaptation, climate services and disaster risk reduction

Characteristics

Climate Services

Climate Change Adaptation Services

Disaster Risk Reduction

Means of delivery

Available and accessed through a variety of mechanisms, including web-based platforms

Scope of Climate information

Range of climate data, information and other climate-related services

Climate and weather data, information and other climate and weather related services

Interest in extremes and climate variability

Consideration of Risk

Interest in providing climate information to support risk assessment

Interest in assessing and addressing climate related risks

Interest in assessing and addressing disaster related risks, (broader than just climate risks)

Spatial scales

Global, regional and local scales

Strong interest in regional and local scales

Scope of services

Primarily climate to support adaptation, mitigation and business continuity

Integration of climate, environment as well as socio-economic information and data

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At a practical level, there is emerging experience in Europe of integrating adaptation with climate service provision. Some of that experience is a result of direct links and joint responsibility with either the national meteorological service or a national climate service provider (see Table 2.3.1). There are examples where climate information is also available on adaptation platforms. For example, some provide aggregated information with a link to more information available through a climate service provider (e.g. Denmark). Further exploring the nature of the specific required links, and the implications for service delivery and the respective business models would be useful. This includes benefits in the context of sharing lessons learnt and the further development of the respective services.

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Table 2.3.2       Identified relationships of adaptation platforms with climate service and DRR platforms

Country

Nature of the relationship

National

Austria

The Environment Agency Austria (EAA) is a partner of the Climate Change Centre Austria (CCCA) and will ensure future linkages; EAA portal provides observed trends, future projections, possible climate impacts and vulnerabilities. The Austrian DRR platform is under development with the Austrian Met Office taking the lead.

Denmark

Climate data is provided by the DMI – interactive maps and climate data, scenarios, and sea-level rise summary facts.

Finland

Adaptation and climate service platforms are jointly maintained by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Aalto University and the adaptation platform provides information on climate change; The national multi-hazard DRR platform is coordinated by the Weather Service within Finnish Meteorological Institute. A joint flood centre has been established between SYKE and FMI for flood related DRR.

France

Wiklimat: Currently links with climate services via ONERC, but plans to link to the national climate service DRIAS (www.drias-climat.fr ).

The adaptation platform includes information of the Observatoire National des Risques Naturels (www.onrn.fr ). Links are made with the national strategy for integrated coastal management.

Germany

KomPass – climate change impacts are explained; provides general information about, and links to websites providing climate services; provides links to the German climate portal (DWD) and the Climate Service Centre (CSC). Identification and assessment of risk is one of the topics included, and although there is not a national DRR website, KomPass is part of an alliance of federal and other institutions dealing with adaptation issues (with a website).

Hungary

Links with climate service through the National Climate Change Strategy and with DRR through the SEERISK project (CCA and risk assessment in the Danube macro-region.

Ireland

Data on observations and projections have been provided by Met Éireann (Irish National Meteorological Service). Employing this data a climate information tool is being developed as part of the platform. Under the national adaptation framework there is a requirement for an adaptation plan within the emergency planning sector.

The Netherlands

There are links between CCA and DRR (with Deltarres and the Ministry of Water Safety responsible for DRR).

Norway

Planning for closer links with the Norwegian climate change service platform (meetings with Met Office).  Part of the link may include streamlining visuals across both platforms.  The link with DRR will be maintained by continuing to work with the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB).

Poland

Climate Services and DRR are separated, operating as different platforms the responsibility of different institutes, ministries or other bodies. There have been discussions about possibilities and ways to cooperate and to integrate, but these have not yet lead to a clear or definite decision.

Spain

Link to the AEMET (climate service) platform and plans to update (even if data remains with AEMET).  No current links with DRR, but are expected to become clearer as meetings are being held across communities.

Sweden

Platform is developing within the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation at the SMHI and using the same framework and web platform as SMHI.  There is good cooperation in place with the National Disaster Risk Reduction platform (hosted by the Civil Contingency Agency).

Switzerland

Platform coordinated and linked with the Swiss Met Office and the Swiss National Platform for Natural Hazards PLANAT (DRR) to provide complementary web information The Swiss National Centre for Climate Services is under development, led by the Swiss Met Office and supported by FOEN and further institutions.

United Kingdom

Partnership with the UK Met Office in development and presentation of climate information. There is good cooperation within government between Defra, the lead department for domestic climate change adaptation and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat at the Cabinet Office, responsible for work to improve the UK’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.

Trans-national

Pyrenees

Website (www.opcc-ctp.org) is the only one with Pyrenean specific data about temperature, precipitation, biodiversity, water, and natural hazards, forests and GIS information).

Alpine Region

DRR is one of the sectors covered by the platform, specific contents are thus made available. The platform is planned to be inter-operational opening the door to further linkages that could include DRR and/or climate services, which are up to now not existing on transnational level in the Alpine region.  The Alpine Convention has a permanent working group that established a natural hazard platform (PLANALP) and a related website on transnational cooperation in DRR.

European

Climate-ADAPT

Links with the Copernicus Climate Services are being developed in 2015. An informal cooperation between EEA, DG CLIMA, the Commission DG dealing with DRR (DG ECHO), UNISDR and EFDRR has been initiated.

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Challenges associated with building effective relationships

There are several challenges facing the different types of platforms when attempting to develop effective relationships. One such challenge is that there are no universally accepted definitions of what comprise climate services, climate adaptation services and disaster risk management services (see subsection 1.2 for definitions). This challenge also stems from different responsible institutions adopting a more comprehensive or restrictive definition according to what best suits their defined remit and particular situation (e.g., platform governance, organisational arrangements and funding).  Adding to this challenge is the lack of clarity available on platforms as to the scope and limits of the services available.

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There are also challenges related to the differences in operating environments (business models, skills, funding models and sources of funding) under which the different platforms operate[11]. Once again, there is not a universally accepted operating environment.  This challenge is often reflective of the fact that the platforms are often funded and coordinated by different organisations. For example, DRR platforms at the national level are often coordinated by ministries of interior or civil protection agencies, while adaptation platforms are primarily the responsibility of ministries of environment or climate and environment agencies. Developing a relationship must consider these differences and develop specific means and mechanisms towards establishing and sustaining an effective relationship.

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Further challenges associated with establishing and sustaining relationships between platforms may arise because of competition for the same space regarding provision of knowledge, targeted users and funding. From the users’ perspectives, these platforms can appear to be offering similar types of services that are in some cases, or at least appear to be, conflicting or non-consistent. For example, climate service platforms supporting adaptation decisions-making and adaptation platforms presenting climate data and information can be perceived to be conflicting or inconsistent. This is especially if the temporal or spatial scales presented differ, the models used for projections differ, or different underlying scenarios are used. The partial overlapping of the services available can add to the challenges of establishing effective relationships, but also provides opportunities for enhancing collaborations.

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In the case of climate adaptation platforms and DRR platforms, there are different spatial, temporal and functional perspectives, most evidently reflected in the manner in which the services are compiled and presented. In particular, disaster risks probability risk models calculate current risk based on events with a 100, 200 or 500 year return period[12].  Services presented within adaptation platforms include risks with a longer-term perspectives and possible multiple future climatic conditions and broader spatial scales.

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There is increasing recognition that considerable benefits could be realised for both service providers and users, as well as those funding the respective platforms. It can be done through collaborations between and among these different platforms. This is likely to require well-defined roles and responsibilities.  Without well-defined roles and responsibilities and a strong and sustained relationship there is the potential for inefficiencies and conflicts leading to user confusion/frustration and even a loss of users’ trust. 

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2.3.2        Benefits of improved cooperation between adaptation platforms and DRR and climate service platforms

From the perspective of the platform providers, these benefits include:

  • Cost-effectiveness of service development and delivery Improving the quality and credibility of aggregated climate information available on adaptation and DRR platforms;
  • Enhancing links within these platforms pointing to climate services providing state-of-the-art basic climate data; and
  • Enhancing the links within climate service platforms pointing to adaptation and DRR platforms providing evidence based on up-to-date and tailor-made decision-support tools and knowledge.
  • Enhance user engagement, including engagement of the adaptation and DRR platform operators as users of climate services, as a basis for informing the development of relevant climate services. It is also worth noting that collaboration in understanding users’ needs and capabilities could address concerns associated with user fatigue. It can furthermore provide users with opportunities to provide a united voice when speaking about their needs in areas of common interest; and
  • Enhance benefits of the services provided from the users’ perspectives.

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From the perspective of platform respective users, these benefits include:

  • Those related to the scope and quality of the services that users have access to through trusted and known sources. Furthermore they benefit from the consistency of the services available by reducing the potential for user confusion and further frustration;
  • Ensuring consistency in the information and data provided is crucial, but is becoming difficult as the overlap in the services being provided by these platforms is growing. In response to meeting users’ expressed needs, adaptation platforms are providing aggregated climate data, and climate service platforms are now starting to offer adaptation-related information.

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From the perspective of the of platform funding organisations:

  • It is important to ensure the appropriateness and effectiveness of the funding. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid duplication of efforts, especially if that can lead to real or perceived inconsistencies, and to look for stronger synergies.

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There are similarities between the perspectives taken by the adaptation and DRR platforms, including mutual interests in assessing and addressing risks (particularly risks associated with extremes), working at local and regional scales and interest in making available and integrating particular types of data and information such as socioeconomic data. In addition, the climate service community has an expressed interest in providing information to support understanding of these risks.

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From the perspectives of their respective users, the benefits are related to the scope and quality of the services that they have access to (available through trusted and known sources), and consistency of the services available (reducing the potential for user confusion and further frustration). Ensuring consistency in the information and data provided is becoming difficult as the overlap in the services being provided by these platforms is growing. In response to meeting users’ expressed needs, adaptation platforms are providing aggregated climate data, and climate service platforms are now starting to offer adaptation-related information. Both from the perspective of funding (funders’ confidence in the appropriateness and effectiveness) and from the users’ perspectives it is advisable to avoid duplication of efforts, especially if that can lead to (real or perceived) inconsistencies, and to look for stronger synergies.

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2.3.3        Towards realising the collaboration – Supportive processes and elements

Based on the evidence within Table 2.3.1 and other evidence reviewed and presented in this report it is possible to identify connections that can guide and strengthen the desired collaboration between platforms serving related but slightly different needs. There are similarities between the perspectives taken by the adaptation and DRR platforms, including mutual interests in assessing and addressing risks (particularly risks associated with extremes), working at local and regional scales and interest in making available and integrating particular types of data and information such as socioeconomic data. In addition, the climate service community has an expressed interest in providing information to support understanding of these risks. Within the DRR community, the need for collaboration is reflected in the recognition of the relevance of addressing the impacts of climate change in the context of prevention and preparedness measures (e.g., climate change changing risks with consequences on prevention and preparedness), and thus the need to better link climate adaptation and DRR platforms (e.g., in the frame of the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR)[13]). Similarly within the climate adaptation community there is increasing recognition of the need to include adaptation in addressing existing risks, including those associated with extremes (also as a means of building adaptive capacity).

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The need for an effective relationship between climate services, adaptation and DRR is also reflected within the European Commission.  For example, the importance of this relationship is reflected in the importance placed in enhancing this relationship in the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under the Secure Societies Challenge – Disaster resilience and climate change[14]. Also at the EU level, DG ECHO and DG CLIMA work together and responsibilities are relatively clear (e.g., DG ECHO is responsible for the ‘Mechanism for Civil Protection’ including the EU Monitoring and Information Centre, and DG CLIMA is responsible for the EU Strategy on Adaptation). Furthermore, the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR) is coordinating DRR across Europe. The platform ‘Preventionweb’ (with ISDR Europe) is well developed and recognised within the DRR community as a key information source.

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Collaboration between and among the different platforms can be enhanced by:

  • Improving the institutional linkages to better connect these platforms in areas of common interest;
  • Identifying incentives (e. g. cost savings and improved impacts of services provided) and resources to enable the appropriate collaboration;
  • Exchanging experiences on the collection and structuring of information;
  • Identifying priority areas to initiate enhancing the links to support collaboration (e.g., integration of response policies, plans and actions, and better consideration of the long-term perspective of adaptation in addressing local DRR).

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A starting point is that climate adaptation, DRR and climate service platforms will continue to develop with slightly different foci and priorities. For DRR it is crucial to also have functions for those that are involved in early recovery to help ‘Build Back Better’[15]. Climate service platforms also have operational priorities, but these are across a number of time scales. Constant and fast updating is not as critical in this case as those for DRR. Climate adaptation has strong elements of awareness-raising and contributing to overall adaptive capacity by strengthening the users’ understanding of adaptation processes.

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Although there are as yet limited examples of emerging relationships, evidence does suggest that critical to their success is that the collaborating platforms are engaged for their mutual benefit and the benefit of their respective users. In addition, it also suggests that the specifics of the relationship should consider the different institutional relationships, funding and business models, and perceived remits and scope. In practice the collaboration between these types of platforms can be of different nature and scope; ranging from simple linking reflecting the different core responsibilities of the respective platforms to deeper integration of the services.

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The principles that are at the core of developing this collaboration are: 1) focus on improving the services available to support decision-making; 2) understanding and articulation of expectations and mutual benefits, as well as the respective roles, responsibilities and relationships; and 3) sustained and informed engagement at the necessary level(s) within those funding and delivering the platforms.

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The processes towards developing the required collaboration are the following ones.

  1. Building relationships and (initial engagement) and developing a mutual understanding - This initial element explores and seeks to clearly articulate the institutional, organisational and developmental contexts within which the organisations involved operate. There are examples among the existing platforms where building such relationships and engagement are recognised and underway. Organisational co-location of the platforms such as in Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, is seen as beneficial as is broadening engagement in the development of the platform to included appropriate adaptation and climate service providers such as in Ireland, Austria and the UK.
  2. Identifying areas where collaboration is possible - This process explores and clearly identifies where and why collaboration is meaningful. This includes consideration of quality and relevance of the services provided from the users’ perspectives, and user experience. In addition, the impacts on the service providers as a result of not collaborating should also be considered.  This process should lead to understanding and articulation of the mutual benefits, but also support deliberations with the respective funding bodies and management teams.
  3. Identification, appraisal and implementation of options for collaboration - This process involves identifying and prioritising based on an appraisal of different collaboration options. The nature of these options depends on the desired scope of collaboration. The options could range from providing links between the engaged platforms allowing users to find complementary information, to including specific jointly produced platform products/pages, to full integration with shared data, information and knowledge products and services. This process should results in the development of a collaborative implementation plan with clearly identified costs, roles and responsibilities based on realising the intended benefits.
  4. Harmonising and standardizing contents in areas where links are strong - The stronger the links are between the platforms the greater the demands are on harmonisation and standardization of the contents. For example the basis for estimating likelihood of extreme events and the way of expressing them should be harmonised (for example probabilities or expressed as return period). This harmonisation is particularly important if users are expected to switch between different views of the same topic such as short-term risk management of extreme events versus long term adaptation to extreme events in a changing climate. Concepts and elements also need to be standardized if the same elements are used and exchanged. These could be achieved through engagement of DRR and climate change adaptation actors in discussions on terminology, standards and indicators, rather than in parallel and divergent processes.
  5. Monitoring, evaluation and updating the relationship - Establishing a monitoring and evaluation process with clearly articulated criteria for identifying how the relationship has worked in practice and whether the expected benefits are being realised, and what and when the collaboration outputs and processes will need to be updated.

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