Good practice in adapting: study offers practical criteria for municipalities and regions

Until now, the term "good practice" has been used somewhat vaguely. Now, however, a new study from adelphi provides practitioners and decision-makers in politics and economics with a solid basis for scientifically sound adaptation measures at the local and regional levels.

21/01/2016

If damage due to the effects of climate change is to be kept at a low level, adaptation to climatic changes and their consequences is inevitable. When they are optimally configured, adaptation measures can, for instance, significantly reduce the threat of damage-related costs in areas such as healthcare or flood prevention.

"Good practice" as regards adapting to climate change is often discussed in scientific papers, practical manuals and guidelines. Despite the regular use of this concept, the term often remains vague and unspecific. So that good adaptation practices can be communicated unambiguously and with real impact, coherent criteria should be found that can ensure that climate change adaptation measures can be identified as good practice. What added value can criteria for good practice offer in adapting to climate change? Which of these criteria are mentioned in the relevant literature and how they are defined?

Even involved parties with no or little experience can use the criteria

These are the questions are addressed in a new study entitled Gute Praxis der Anpassung an den Klimawandel ("Good Practice in Adapting to Climate Change"). The study was prepared by adelphi on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and is one of the first texts to explicitly and systematically get to grips with this fuzzy terminology. In order to provide a new structure for the concept of "good practice" and to make the term more tangible, the report used recent literature as a base for systematising and evaluating more than 30 criteria for assessing good adaptation practices at the local and regional levels. Moreover, the study analysed various definitions of "good practice in adapting to climate change" and expanded the main aspects. As a result, the study provides a set of six concise criteria and a new working definition of the concept.

The focus of attention, however, is not on individual examples of good practice - i.e. previously implemented, real-world activities dealing with adaptation to climate change - but on general criteria against which any measure can be identified as good practice. In this way, the study not only provides an important contribution to scientific discussion and food for thought for future adaptation activities. Practitioners and decision-makers in politics and business will also receive a scientifically sound basis for planning, implementation and evaluation of adaptation measures at the local and regional levels. The criteria are chosen so that they can be used for target-oriented stakeholders with no or little experience in this area.

Further information can be found in the new study Gute Praxis der Anpassung an den Klimawandel. For an English summary, please see pages 11-12.