In the framework of the Life Project ACT - Adapting to Climate change in Time, the last 12th and 13th May 2011 ISPRA organised a workshop on Local Impact Assessment of climate change in order to provide to the municipalities of Ancona, Bullas and Patras support and coordination to the implementation of their local impact assessments.
The workshop was divided into two different sessions.
The first one focused on the specific topic Adaptation to Climate Change and Health for the whole morning of May 12. The session focused on the added value of the Environmental and Health approach in planning urban adaptation policies based on results of "Health vulnerability to Climate Change: Assessment and suggested Adaptation Measures for No-Health Sectors”. This report was prepared by ISPRA in the framework of the Life Project and is the result of a Working Group chaired by ISPRA with contributions of representatives from health, civil protection departments and social organizations. The process and the approach is consistent with current European and pan-European strategies, including the pan European Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health held in Parma in March 2010 which hosted 53 member States delegations of Ministry of Health and Environment.
The overall aim of the Workshop was to enhance the awareness on the role of Urban and Environment Policies in preventing health risk from climate change.
Several experts from ISPRA, ISS (National Health Institute), Federasma ONLUS, and Lab of Public Health of the Medical school, University of Patras, met in this occasion to share their knowledge on climate change and health. The purpose of the workshop was also to be an asset for the municipalities involved in the Project, a background knowledge useful for the preparation of their adaptation plans to climate change.
The speeches ranged over a wide variety of subjects: a broad perspective of the climate change and health issue, the roles and challenges in mitigating health risks in environmental and urban adaptation policies, the climate-sensitive health risks water-related, strategies of urban and building design to reduce the impact of heath waves, the role of climate-related indicators in risk assessment, an overview on risk-awareness and social services.
A panel discussion closed the session, where representatives of the municipalities involved in the project shared their views on the subject and their experience in local/urban policy.
The second workshop Local impact assessment: methodological and operational aspects focused on the technical issues concerning the assessments that the municipalities are carrying out in the framework of the Action 3 of the Life ACT Project.
Nine different impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable natural systems and socio-economic sectors are being investigated in the three Mediterranean municipalities: coastal environment, infrastructure, historical and artistic heritage and natural risk (Municipality of Ancona-IT), agriculture and forestry, tourism and soil (Municipality of Bullas-SP), biodiversity, tourism and health (Municipality of Patras-GR).
During the workshop representatives of the three municipalities shared with the technical experts of ISPRA their approaches to the local impact assessment, thus highlighting strengths and barriers.
The local authorities involved in the project are engaged for the first time in climate change adaptation issues, thus paving the way to new experiences at local level in similar Mediterranean contexts. Crucial to the success of their adaptation process is the designation of the Local Adaptation Boards that the municipalities have already performed. The involvement of local stakeholders should ensure their stronger awareness on adaptation and that actions will widely agreed and more likely implemented in practice.
However, the adaptation process at local level shows various barriers that the municipalities should try to overcome. The three municipalities are currently at different stages as it concerns the implementation of their local impact assessment. Climate change assessment is permeated by uncertainty, requiring the understanding and knowledge of the future climate risk. But this requires
of course the use of specialised and complex methodologies and models as vital components for a suitable local impact assessment, and therefore the availability of tools, technical expertise and
financial resources which are not always accessible at municipal level. Furthermore, the lack of data at local level, short time to gather data and information and to process the indicators required represent additional barriers that municipalities have to overcome in order to be able to complete their analysis in the most successful way. In order to minimise all these problems, procedures could be simplified but this would result, at the same time, in a lower capability to understand the climate risk, in a higher uncertainty and, as a consequence, in less specific, suitable and effective adaptation measures.
During the closing session of the workshop ISPRA illustrated to ACT Partners the general elements of the Road Maps towards the Local Adaptation Plans. The Road Maps aim to pave the way to a step-by-step comprehensive, science-based process tailored to the future local needs and are intended to assist the municipalities of Ancona, Bullas and Patras in the formulation of their Local Adaptation Strategies and Plans. The three Road Maps will be enriched with city-specific elements and will be completed by the end of September 2011.