“Adaptation Handbook for Cities” has been updated

Podręcznik adaptacji dla miast

Eight years after the document was released, the “Adaptation Handbook for Cities” has received a much-needed update. From the new publication, local government officials will learn how to prepare climate change adaptation plans (so-called MPAs), which may soon be required of all Polish cities with populations over 20,000.

Klimada 2.0 – a project of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.

The first “Adaptation Manual for Cities” was published by the Ministry of Environment in 2015. Even then, it provided for a clause on the need for regular monitoring and updates. The authors stressed that only a detailed analysis of historical data, especially on extreme climate events, will allow the preparation of relevant forecasts for cities.

The update of the manual, as part of the Klimada 2.0 project, was handled by the Institute of Environmental Protection-State Research Institute (IOŚ-PIB). Funding for it comes from the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Program. The goal of the project was to develop a knowledge base and adaptation strategies related to climate change. The earlier Climacities and 44MPA projects served as support. The Institute for Environmental Protection-State Research Institute has announced the organization of a series of free training sessions for local government representatives on the preparation of Municipal Adaptation Plans. The courses will be conducted stationary in Warsaw and online, in parallel with the publication of updates.

What are Urban Adaptation Plans?

The introduction to the updated handbook reads that cities now concentrate more than 60 percent of the country’s population. Poland’s population and generate the bulk of the national income. At the same time, they are also the most vulnerable to climate change. “Adaptation Handbook for Cities” is intended to help them prepare a long-term strategy for responding and adapting to forecasted extreme weather events.

In particular, heat waves and heavy rainfall have been identified as problematic in cities. Consistently increasing temperatures are a threat to human health and life. Intense rains, meanwhile, pose a risk of flooding, coastal erosion and changes in the water balance. The latter can limit the availability of potable water for urban residents – so without proper adaptation plans, we are in danger of disaster. MPAs are expected to increase the resilience of cities and raise their potential to cope with changing conditions.

By 2023. More than a hundred MPAs have been established in Poland. The development of further will be actively supported by EU, national and regional funds. Resources for cities with a population of more than 20,000. As well as county capitals with a population of 15,000 to 20,000. will come mainly from the EU.

What does the “Adaptation Handbook for Cities” contain in the updated version?

The new publication is of a strategic and implementation nature. He instructs local governments on how – step by step – to prepare MPAs. “The Adaptation Handbook for Cities” is divided into six stages that cover the comprehensive planning process, from the formation of the Adaptation Team. Adaptation to monitoring and evaluation. In addition, it provides guidance on how to prepare a mandatory strategic environmental impact assessment (SEA) and how to ensure local public participation at each stage of planning. Local governments can also learn about opportunities to obtain external funding for MPA preparation.

The Adaptation Handbook for Cities addresses issues such as mapping stakeholders, including representatives from academia, business and NGOs, and identifying sources of climate, social and spatial data. In addition, it instructs in detail how to conduct a vulnerability assessment and risk analysis for a given city and how to develop various adaptation options and then choose the best one.

A very interesting section of the updated manual is the descriptions of good practices, i.e. projects implemented in Poland between 2008 and 2022 to increase resilience to climate change. The process of implementing the MPA has not been neglected either – it is described from the establishment of organizational structures to the development of competencies and financing of activities. A checklist has been prepared for each stage to facilitate the development and implementation of plans.

Expected benefits for cities

The preparation of an MPA based on the “Adaptation Manual for Cities” is primarily intended to pave the way for funding available through EU and national programs. The appropriate structure and content of the plans will determine eligibility for funding.

In the long term, adaptation plans are expected to improve the quality of life in cities, ensure the safety and health of residents, and limit the potential damage that a capricious climate can do to cultural assets. There is also talk of developing blue-green infrastructure. At the same time, as multi-stakeholder documents, MPAs will develop the public’s environmental awareness and thus encourage citizens to participate in adaptation efforts.

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