In the opening plenary of the 3rd European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference, it was stressed that young people must be at the heart of climate change. When it comes to the most pressing environmental issue, we are the key stakeholder and part of our role at 2050 is communicating this to other young people. During this conference, members of our Operational Teams and Board will be attending sessions of interest and will use the 2050 blog as a space to report back on what they’ve learned and how young people can get involved.
On Tuesday 6 June, Policy Subgroup member, Bente Klein reports back…
This third year of the ECCA is unique because businesses are now involved and there is a full business day (Tuesday), as well as an innovation day (prize money up to £20,000 I believe) tomorrow. It was pointed out multiple times that there is a need to build alliances with businesses, hence the importance of their presence. Further, the importance of young people was stressed by the rep of the European Commission and Roseanna Cunningham MSP who even mentioned 2050. The youth voice during the opening plenary came from Joel Meekison from the Scottish Youth Parliament. He reported that in a recent survey by Scottish Youth Parliament, only 10% of the young people surveyed regard climate change as the number 1 environmental concern we should be working on. Others found e.g. litter much more important. It was mentioned that young people need to be able to participate in a systematic way and not just on an ad hoc basis or to tick the boxes. Further, because young people are such a diverse group, with consequently a diverse view on climate change, this should be catered for. How can we (young people & the 2050 Climate Group) ensure that businesses, politicians, key influencers work with us to ‘make the planet great again’? (a key message that was repeated multiple times in the plenary).
4.1 Adaptation Governance
This session looked at the way in which different levels of government interact with each other when it comes to adaptation strategies and policies. As climate change is clearly a multi-level governance challenge, there was an expectation that the adaptation to it would also be a part of adaptation strategy (Reinhard Steuer). However, it turns out that in the research conducted by Steuer et al. there was hardly any institutionalised interaction, if at all the interaction was only project based and purely ad hoc. The same applies for the active engagement from the private sector, policy documents do mention its importance but there is a lack on how (Johannes Klein). Case study of Pittsburgh, PA, presented by Kimberley Lucke showed that there was a big focus on the individual and the role they could play. This creates a ‘Climate Conscious Citizen’ but has led to the shifting away from actors that have much more leverage than individuals. It was concluded that because individualism does not produce effective action, serious action is required from those with more leverage. Potentially this applies only to the US and would need further research to see if it could be applicable elsewhere (the researcher seemed to hint that it wouldn’t be applicable elsewhere).
In short, more coordinated multilevel action is needed and there are many opportunities for young people to ensure that the policies among governance levels are streamlined. This will be a massive task, but the example of mitigation (e.g. effort sharing in the EU) will be there to help guide the adaptation policymakers.
6.9 Fostering dialogue and learning on M&E of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies.
Countries develop M&E (monitoring & evaluation) schemes especially for their reporting requirements under EU and international law, but also to a lesser extent for the national-level legal and admin requirements in place in their country. This applies both to CCA and to DRR. Both fields struggle with the same issues (‘pitfalls’) in their reporting. The main pitfall being that there is no single indicator that is universal, despite many attempts from researchers. If one tries to universalise issues, then there is a great risk that the deeper understanding of the specific context will get lost. Further, despite the desire to work with quantitative data only, one should never forget that there is a specific context and narrative behind these data and it is crucial to understand these as well. Finally, the adaptation progress is often greater than the simple sum of individual interventions. Therefore, the sketching of an overall picture is very difficult. The potential for M&E, on the other hand, in both fields is great. It can mainly be used as a learning tool as well as for accountability reporting.
Tomorrow we’ll have more updates!
Please note, we are keen to try and report daily and as such, these reports may be brief. It’s possible that we might elaborate on some of the learned topics in future blogs.
“The theme of ECCA 2017 is ‘Our Climate Ready Future’. Our vision is that this conference will inspire and enable people to work together to discover and deliver positive climate adaptation solutions that can strengthen society, revitalise local economies and enhance the environment. We are bringing together the people who will deliver action on the ground – from business, industry, NGOs, local government and communities – to share knowledge, ideas and experience with leading researchers and policymakers.”