Climate adaptation became an important challenge for municipalities and regions, as the consequences of climate change are increasingly evident. The flood disaster in the summer of 2021, with devastating damage in various parts of Germany underlines the life-threatening danger caused by extreme weather events and the need for comprehensive adaptation to climatic change.
B.&S.U. developed the European Climate Adaptation Award, which is a quality management process and certification system and enables municipalities to integrate climate adaptation into their communal processes and their daily work. The eca defines four essential process steps, which have to be regularly repeated in order to create sustainable results and a continuous process of improvement:
- Analysis of climate impact and current state: The extent to which individual municipalities are affected by the changing climate and the possibilities to counteract climate-related extreme weather events vary from region to region. For this reason, an analysis of the type and intensity of climate change (exposure) as well as the sensitivity to this change (sensitivity) is carried out at the beginning of the eca process in order to make the need for action visible. The participating municipality receives information on past and projected climatic changes. Based on that, the eca provides a profile of strengths and weaknesses that shows in which sectors further adaptation measures would be most reasonable and necessary. A catalogue of measures gives guidance and suggestions for new measures. It includes measures from all relevant fields of actions ranging from regional and urban development planning to buildings, social infrastructure, energy and water supply, transport and civil protection up to industry and commerce, tourism, agriculture, forestry, nature conversation and human health.
- Planning of activities: By means of the provided catalogue suitable measures are discussed with the responsible stakeholders on-site and combined in a climate change programme of activities.
- Implementation of activities: The structured eca process guarantees a systematic and target-oriented implementation of measures as well as a steady improvement of the interdivisionally cooperation. An accredited eca advisor supports the municipality throughout the entire process.
- Auditing, certification and awarding: After usually four years the municipality can undergo an external audit concerning its climate adaptation efforts. It is conducted by an independent eca auditor and ensures an objective comparability between different municipalities. The more comprehensive the adaptation successes are, the better the certification.
The eca has been successfully tested with financial support of the Ministries of the Environment of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Free State of Saxony and is currently implemented by a growing number of municipalities in Germany.
This best practice is issued from our publication Sustainable Regions in Action 2022. Read it now to discover many more best practices from FEDARENE members as well as an overview of our activities.