28 – 31 May 2019, Lisbon, Portugal. “Not acting is not an option – Climate Change is a current problem and the last four years have been the hottest ever” stressed João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Portugal’s Minister of the Environment and Energy Transition, in his opening remarks for the 4th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA). The conference’s slogan was “Working together to prepare for change” and participants from across Europe and beyond gathered to discuss options, and identify solutions, for current and future challenges related to climate change.
“Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction experts need to work more together, and it is all our responsibility to try to find ways to achieve this – knowledge exists but we are not using it as effectively as we could” emphasised Nina Jernberg, Policy Officer for PA Secure (EUSBSR), representing the CASCADE Project. CASCADE was presented as a practical example of cooperation between Climate Change Adaptation experts and Civil Protection professionals in the session “Transnational cooperation in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Europe: challenges, gaps and lesson learned”.
In 2016, Policy Area Secure and Horizontal Action Climate of EUSBSR, teamed up to address gaps identified in earlier projects (14.3 and From Gaps to Caps) and the CASCADE initiative was developed with stakeholders from both areas. CASCADE (2019 – 2020) aims to add the missing dimension and the climate adaptation expertise to the risk assessment methodologies and tailor them to the local level. CASCADE is funded by the European Commission, DG European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, and the project will run until the end of 2020.
ECCA 2019 offered a series of science and practice sessions, art exhibitions, poster competitions as well as demonstrations of innovative tools in the context of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the “ECCA tool-shed”. In the latter, the PLACARD Project launched their “Connectivity Hub” – a one-stop-shop for all information related to CCA and DRR, where the user can search and discover organisations, articles and information from various platforms such as Prevention Web and Climate Adapt.
The key messages from the ECCA 2019 were: “the Consequences of Climate Change are here and we must act now – we can win the battle against disasters – but only if we act together. Researchers, practitioners and policy makers from different sectors and levels must unite in Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction efforts to build more climate resilient societies.”
Marko Maver, the Slovenian Secretary of State for the Environment, concluded the Conference by stressing how disastrous the consequences will be if we do not manage to act in time: “Climate Change can rapidly eradicate decades of efforts to fight extreme poverty”. The next ECCA will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2021.