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23 February 2018

RESIN project welcomes over 15 cities to Manchester for Stakeholder Dialogue event

The RESIN project welcomed 52 participants, including representatives of over 15 cities from across Europe to Manchester (United Kingdom) on 1st February 2018 for the project’s first Stakeholder Dialogue. RESIN has been working with cities since 2015 to co-create tools for adaptation planning in European cities.

Manchester in the north of England is facing rainier days and unpredictable weather. The event day saw wildly changeable weather, reflecting the agenda for the day: how just one place (and one project) can be a meeting point for common conditions in otherwise diverse locations. Even sunny southern cities could find common ground with Manchester. Ileana Luminița Balalau, Project Manager, Environmental Protection Agency Covasna, said, “We are facing heat waves and also floods.” Mark Atherton, Director of Environment, Greater Manchester, has gone through the same experience during “Boxing Day floods two years ago, where in the space of 24 hours we had several months’ worth, almost, of rainfall.”

City spotlights: flooding

The City of Lahti (Finland) is focusing on adapting to potential flooding from stormwater in densely built and non-permeable areas, especially the city centre. “We are interested in hearing how the RESIN tools can support our strategic adaptation plan and citizen-involved processes,” said Eira Rosberg, Sustainable Development Coordinator for Lahti. Newcastle’s biggest challenge is not from river flooding but from surface water flooding or flash flooding. In a shocking picture painted by Newcastle City Council’s Helen Hinds and John Robinson, “we had a month’s worth of rainfall in a very short space of time: the city ground to a halt” and “at least 500 properties were affected.”

For Reykjavik,”The main adaptation challenge that we are facing is sea level rise.” Major risk factors, including areas prone to flooding, will be introduced into the district plan and a plan will be formed for necessary counter measures. Reykjavik aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, but, “the main challenge is breaking people out of silos to work together to solve adaptation challenges.”

Researchers respond

The RESIN Climate Risk Typology will be an interactive online portal that support adaptation planning by offering users the means to describe, compare and analyse climate risk in European cities and regions. Climate risk encompasses many social and demographic factors that are important and interesting to citizens. As Burgas representatives pointed out, the facility to display different statistics about a region’s specific social and demographic conditions that contribute to climate risk can be a particularly useful tool for dissemination and awareness-raising among citizens. A risk-based Vulnerability Assessment using IVAVIA (Impact and vulnerability analysis for critical infrastructures and built-up areas) helps cities identify geographical risk and vulnerability hotspots, understand the cause-effect relationships of climate change, and assess its demographic, economic and local impacts now and for the future. This helps identify entry-points for adaptation measures and areas where priority action is needed. IVAVIA has been applied to the RESIN core city of Bilbao with regard to flooding.

Maddalen Mendizabal of Tecnalia offered the cities suffering from floods and heat stress some suggestions for finding replicable case studies. The RESIN Adaptation Options Library draws together hundreds of relevant papers and study cases on the performance of climate change adaptation measures in a database covering measures relating to heat, pluvial, fluvial and coastal floods, and drought – among other things. Once complete, each of the tools will be hosted in an online decision support system called the e-Guide. The e-Guide will accompany and support cities throughout their adaptation processes, allows practitioners to save their progress and relevant documentation in one online space, and providing convenient access to content supporting this process, including the remaining three tools developed by RESIN.

Getting to know the tools – and taking them forward

The Manchester event was a “dialogue” with two-way exchange and learning encouraged throughout the day. After two rounds of discussion, the afternoon focused on practical encounters with the tools under development in the RESIN tools marketplace. Cities visited parallel stations where the tool developers addressed their questions, proposed useful applications for their unique contexts and demonstrated their use.

The next release of the RESIN tools will take place in March 2018.

To read the full article and for pictures of the event, see http://www.resin-cities.eu/newsroom/stakeholder-dialogue/.

21 February 2018

European cities face more extreme weather than previously thought

A landmark study shows the impact of flooding, droughts and heatwaves by 2050-2100 will exceed previous predictions. The research is the outcome of the recently-concluded RAMSES project, where ICLEI worked with scientists and cities to deliver evidence of climate change impacts and the costs and benefits of adaptation measures.

Published last week in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters, the study shows:

- a worsening of heatwaves for all 571 cities

- increasing drought conditions, particularly in southern Europe

- an increase in river flooding, especially in north-western European cities

- for the worst projections, increases in all hazards for most European cities

“Although southern European regions are adapted to cope with droughts, this level of change could be beyond breaking point,” Dr Selma Guerreiro, lead author, explains.

European cities will meet at the Open European Day at Bonn Resilient Cities on 25th April 2018 to discuss exactly this objective. ICLEI members Helsinki (Finland), Rome (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal), identified in the RAMSES study, are front and centre in this initiative. Susanna Kankaanpää, City of Helsinki will exchange with Thessaloniki (Greece) and Paris (France) on climate change adaptation monitoring and evaluation. Pierluigi Potenza, Rome, will discuss Protection of Infrastructure with Bristol, Manchester (United Kingdom) and San Sebastian (Spain). Jose Silva Ferreira (Lisbon) will work with Vaxjö (Sweden) and Enschede (Netherlands) to find solutions for Adaptive Water Management.

For the high impact scenario, 98% of European cities could see worse droughts in the future and cities in Southern Europe may experience droughts up to 14 times worse than today. Lisbon (Portugal) is among the top capital cities for increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts. Of the European capitals, Helsinki (Finland) is among the cities most likely to experience the most extreme rise in flooding. Rome (Italy) is one of the cities likely to see the greatest increase in number of heat-wave days.

“The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions,” says Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study.

Registration is open for Open European Day at https://resilientcities2018.iclei.org/.