This project has recived funding from European Comission by means of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under Grant Agreement no. 700174

Adaptation Strategies: where to start?


Adaptation Strategies: where to start?

Prioritization methods for adaptation strategies from different sources - BY MARÍA GUERRERO-HIDALGA, CETAQUA

The sense of emergency to cope with climate change impacts, especially felt in the urban context, has a positive consequence: the creation of multiple adaptation measures and strategies. New nature-based solutions and technologies are developed on a constant basis around the world. Only within the RESCCUE project, more than 50 strategies have been gathered from 3 different sources: the Climate Adaptation Plans of Barcelona, Bristol and Lisbon; from the research carried out in the sectorial models that study the vulnerabilities and risks of different utilities in the cities; and from the software tool HAZUR®, which analyses the effects of weather impacts (severe rainfalls, droughts or heat waves) on the recovery time of urban services, as well as the cascading effects occurring from the interconnections between them.  

However, the large number of options can create uncertainties for decision-makers. Due to constraints in the budget, time and human resources, cities cannot implement all available strategies at once. It is important to support stakeholders, not only by proposing a list of strategies but also with an approach for ranking them according to their unique needs and priorities

Hence, a prioritization methodology has been developed to support decision-makers. It has been created taking advantage of the large number of valuable outputs generated in RESCCUE and keeping in mind that each city has a different perspective on how to tackle climate change.

The first step is to identify, on the one hand, the main adaptation issues to tackle for the city, which will allow selecting a long list of strategies. On the other hand, to recognise their welfare policies priorities, as a city might have defined goals of risk-reduction, while others can have a focus on economic development, or ecosystem services improvement. Depending on the final welfare goal, the prioritization exercise will be different, and since RESCCUE focuses on urban services, the prioritization exercise has an emphasis on strategies related to urban services and infrastructure, although there an alternative method for social-oriented strategies is available.

The variables considered for the prioritization exercise are risk reduction (measured through HAZUR® and the sectorial models), the estimated implementation and maintenance costs, the co-benefits (environmental, social and economic) and the resilience measuring, which is given by the recovery time reduction (after the impact), also provided by HAZUR®. These variables are evaluated in the baseline scenario and after implementing the strategies.

The purpose is to offer a set of tools to stakeholders for them to choose those that fit better their policy and operational framework. To do so, there is the possibility to apply a downselect exercise for a large number of urban-services related strategies, based on the implementation of different quantitative assessment methods provided, such as cost-effectiveness analysis, co-benefits ranking and cost-benefit analysis.

RESCCUE expects to support, not only the three cities involved in the project but also any other city or town that is seeking to improve their resilience and require support on prioritizing adaptation strategies.