Climate adaptation became an important challenge for municipalities and regions, as the consequences of climate change are increasingly evident. But climate adaptation is a cross-cutting issue and covers a wide range of specialist fields in a municipality. Therefore the implementation of adequate administration and structures is key to have an integrated proceeding and to take into account different perspectives and requirements. B.&S.U. mbH developed the European Climate Adaptation Award (eca), 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 participating municipality receives information on past and projected climatic changes.
- Already implemented activities with regard to climate adaptation are discussed with local experts. Based on that, the eca provides a profile of strengths and weaknesses that shows in which sectors further adaptation measures would be most reasonable or rather most 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. For each adaptation measure degree of implementation, time horizon, the required work steps, the responsibilities, priorities and the necessary resource input are defined.
- Implementation of activities: The structured eca process guarantees a systematic and target-oriented implementation of measures as well as a steady improvement of the inter-divisionally cooperation. An accredited eca advisor supports the municipality throughout the whole 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 in a pilot project with 12 municipalities and is now available for municipalities throughout Germany.
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