ACT Newsletter - Adapting to Climate change in Time

Initial Act Conference 2010 - Strategies and experiences on climate change

It was held in Ancona on 14th December 2010 the initial conference of ACT project “Adapting to climate change: strategies and experiences to increase cities resilience to climate change”.
Scientists, researchers, politicians from all around the world have met to discuss on adaptation to climate change, presenting strategies, models and instruments to tackle the problem.
After the opening presentation held by Fiorello Gramillano (Mayor of the Municipality of Ancona), María Dolores Muñoz Valverde (Deputy Mayor and Councilor of Local Development and Tourism of Bullas) and Spyros Politis (Municipal Councilor of Patras and Member of ADEP Administrative Board), the conference started with the intervention of Michiko Hama, speaking about the 2010-11 World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready!”.
The official signature of the campaign UNISDR “MAKING CITIES RESILIENT” by the Mayors of the Municipalities of Ancona (IT), Patras (GR) and Bullas (SP) was just before the participation of the other morning speakers: Marco Cardinaletti (Toward an Integrated Adaptation Policy for the Mediterranean Cities: the ACT project), Emilio D'Alessio (The outcomes of the COP 16 held in Cancun seen in the perspective of European cities and local authorities), Stefano Tibaldi (From climate change to adaptation plans and strategies: global issue, local interventions), Agostino Miozzo (General overview on the environmental issues characterizing the Italian territory), Ewa Ciuk-Jackson (Changing Climate, changing communities: the ICLEI Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation) and Guido Fioravanti (Baseline climate scenarios for the ACT project).
In the afternoon, speakers participated to the Parallel Sessions - Adaptation in practice, a challenge for the whole community- aimed at collecting “key advices” from experts and best practices, for the successful development of the ACT project.
It was made up of three sessions:

The session A, “Making a City Adaptation Policy for managing environmental and Climatic risks at local level” chaired by, Michiko Hama, hosted six speakers: Federica Appiotti, Emanuele Burgin, Maria Berrini, Mauro Bigi, Fabrizio Ferretti and Antonio Ninivaggi.
This session got into how to develop and implement adaptation strategies at urban level, improving cities resilience to climate change.
The contributions of this session pointed out that the key actors to be involved in the implementation of the Local Adaptation Strategy are institutions, private companies and the whole productive sector, experts and citizens. It is extremely important to assess the local perception on the climate change in order to define the correct approach to use, to find common goals to strive for, to communicate the economic and social advantages of acting preventively and through public-private partnerships. Then the most important challenge for Municipalities is the integration of adaptation into the mitigation policies and plans, where they exist, and boosting the local economy through the development of a locally based green industry, thanks to the pioneer introduction of climate protection measures. Another point of discussion focused on an Integrate urban Adaptation Strategy that should be developed on reliable scientific data, and hence the collaboration of the scientific and academic world is essential. Moreover guidelines and goals common to public and private sector should be defined, in order to strengthen bonds between actors. There are two fundamental actions that an Adaptation Strategy cannot forget: climate aware urban planning, education and creation of public awareness. Finally they agreed with social and economic studies and assessments of the territory, done with scientific and sound data, that should be used to define the priority sectors of intervention.
The session B “From development to implementation of a Urban/Local Adaptation Plan. Methods and best practices”, chaired by Ewa Ciuk-Jackson, hosted the speakers: Marco Calligaro and Francesco Vascellari, Fausto Marincioni and Aniello Russo, Anna Celenza, Kirsi-Marja Lonkila, Claudio Baffioni) presented innovative local Adaptation Plans and Strategies. These best practices were used to identify the key steps a city has to go through to put strategies into action. They focused on some best case studies, like Municipal Emergency Plan of Venice, GRABS project of Genoa, BaltiCICA Project of Baltic sea regions, the adaptation strategies of Northern Vietnam and Rome. Then they made a list of tools, strategies, indicators used by them.
The Session C was titled “Assessing and evaluating the economic impacts of Climate Change at urban level: a cost-benefit analysis for a local adaptation strategy” The economic evaluation of the losses deriving from climate change is still a very debated issue, since the existing methodologies stem from different approaches and standpoints. Hence, the purpose of this session is to define with the technical support of international experts, a methodological framework/approach to quantify the costs and damages of climate change and to set priorities or action. The chairman appointed for this session was Alessio Capriolo and the speakers were Enrica DeCian, Francesca Severini and Margaretha Breil. It emerged that economic impacts of climate change at urban level can been assessed identifying climate drivers and their evolution in the future, because economic impacts are a consequence of environmental impacts. Then it is important to have reliable data on the changes occurred in the past (example high water in Venice), and these can be collected involving the actors who have information. Possible ways to reduce uncertainties were identified: the elaboration of an economic assessment, shading light on possible future scenarios; the adoption of mathematic models that show the possible outcomes of undertaken actions (for example the results of environmental taxes), becoming more reliable as new data become available.
Finally it is important the involvement of stakeholders in the evaluation of Local Assessment, especially for the private economic sectors. The stakeholders' engagement can facilitate the identification of adaptation solutions.

Other news from the partners

With the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community