4.1. Safeguarding sound governance

This chapter points out the necessity to put integrated CCA/DRR policy into practice and showcases possible pathways to do so. Therefore, we contribute to overcoming the current implementation gap on various policy levels. Furthermore, we recommend strategies for integrated governance modes that were proven successful in our examples. However, in contrast to section 4.3 we focus not so much on the cooperation aspects of governance but on legislation, administrative processes and mandatory standards.

4.1.1 Climate Risk Management (CRM) to facilitate climate-resilient decision-making at the intersection of DRR and CCA

The implementation of a comprehensive Climate Risk Management (CRM) approach with a broad stakeholder involvement at and across different risk governance levels will support streamlining of current and future CCA and DRR activities in policy and practice.

Thomas Schinko, IIASA and Markus Leitner, EAA

We suggest Climate Risk Management “CRM”, as a comprehensive risk governance (see section 2.3) approach for decision-making at the intersection of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Climate change has been identified as a threat multiplier that adds further complexity to the already existing development challenges caused by climate-related risks. Hence, tackling climate change is fundamentally a challenge of managing and reducing climate-related risk. CRM aims at streamlining the intertwined decision-making contexts DRR and CCA in practice. It seeks to promote sustainable socioeconomic development by comprehensively tackling – reducing, preventing, alleviating – climate-related risks.

CRM supports decision-making in practice to better understand and address the complexities associated with managing climate-related risks across different geographical, hazard and governance level contexts. Operationalising a comprehensive CRM approach requires multiple methods and tools, ranging from quantitative risk assessment models to participatory stakeholder engagement tools. Embedded in iterative learning processes, the CRM approach overall and specific climate-risk management measures in particular can be assessed periodically in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and potential (positive & negative) impacts.


One element to foster the implementation of a comprehensive CRM that was put forward by Austrian stakeholders could be the installation of climate-risk councils at different governance levels (sub-national, national and trans-national) that could be linked to each other via a system of delegates. The climate-risk councils would comprise representatives from all relevant policy and decision-making authorities, practitioners, civil society, research and the private sector, who are active in CCA and/or DRR, at each governance level. In addition, from a research perspective, multiple methods and tools, such as the RESPECT role-play or the “Co-creation of a desirable and resilient future in Lienz”, are needed for operationalising/realising a comprehensive CRM in practice, comprising both quantitative risk-based modelling techniques and qualitative social science methods.


CRM aims at including public actors (public administration on the sub-national, national and trans-national level) as well as private actors (citizens, companies, insurance providers, NGOs) who are in charge of, or who are contributing to, CCA and/or DRR. Both public and private efforts are considered crucial to manage current and future climate-related risks. In addition to the relevance of insurance, to date it has been public sector risk management that has played the most significant role in the application of proactive risk management approaches. The governments’ central position in DRR is due to its fundamental role in providing public goods and services and redistributing income. To identify relevant actors’ stakeholder mapping, including identifying concrete roles and responsibilities, can be a useful starting point or Social Network Analysis.

4.1.2 Relevance of stakeholder engagement into DRR and CCA decision-making processes at different scales

Robust decision-making that increases resilience to climate change impacts is not made in a vacuum, but rather, is set within a diverse social, economic and cultural landscape. It is, therefore, critical to engage the stakeholders that have an interest in both the decision-making process and outcomes in order that all needs are recognised.

Peter Walton, UKCIP, University of Oxford

Constructive collaboration between all parties who have an interest in a project is by no means easy and can often be time consuming and frustrating but can yield benefits that working without them couldn’t elicit. Projects developed in such a way are often more robust as they have the agreement of all parties and therefore less chance of being rejected, and have explored all options that might not necessarily have been considered by a single agency, nor considered at the outset of the project. Participatory stakeholder engagement can also inspire new ideas or highlight options that have not seemed suitable at the start. In addition, engaging with stakeholders can elicit local knowledge that can be critical in identifying areas of vulnerability and possible solutions to risk management, as well providing legitimacy to the research. A single lens perspective to a hazard often results in narrow vision of what can and needs to be done, whereas, by bringing multiple stakeholders together from a range of sectors the problem and solutions can be viewed through multiple lenses. This may result in a single, unified solution or it may identify multiple options, but it would have the advantage of potentially being more integrated, resource efficient, leading to a more robust response.

There is no one way to go about engaging with stakeholders, however, there are a number of basic principles that can be followed to ensure a greater level of success. These include: spending time mapping the key actors; identifying what their needs for the project could be; how they could best work with the project; and what contribution from stakeholder engagement could be expected.

The initial process of recruiting stakeholders can take time, with the norm being a series of polite rejections before groups begin to sign up. Often individuals in organisations can leave or change jobs so losing their expertise or the contact in the organisation. Whilst these can’t be mitigated against, perseverance will ensure successful stakeholder engagement bringing a richness of expertise and experience that otherwise would be lacking, particularly when attempting to bring both DRR and CCA goals together.


The Community Resilience to Extreme Weather (CREW) project engaged in an extensive process of stakeholder engagement with an interest in improving the resilience of local communities in SE London, UK to the impacts of extreme weather events. By viewing the ‘problem’ holistically, rather than a series of siloes, the project was able to develop a series of decision-making tools that helped citizens, communities, and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) address climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Householders were able to better understand what future climate impacts they could potentially face and what they could do to adapt, whilst local government planners and first-responders are able to consider what strategies need to be implemented to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring following an extreme weather event. This level of stakeholder engagement requires a high degree of preparation, perseverance and time. This can be effective when working at the household level where working with community groups can help provide access to often hard to reach groups, and typically those most vulnerable.


The project CREW aimed to address the needs of a range of stakeholders:

  • Decision-makers for community resilience
  • Property owners and householders, insurance companies and the building industry
  • Small to medium sized business enterprises
  • The research community.

4.1.3 Stronger focus on self-precaution or individual prevention and preparedness

Successful societal implementation of adaptation to climate change and risk management requires substantial contributions by private actors. Here, public administrations can coordinate and pave the way. Therefore, they must find new formats for cross-sectoral collaboration.

Daniel Buschmann and Markus Leitner (EAA)

The basic idea of individual climate risk precaution is to downscale climate risk precaution, traditionally a public responsibility at different administrative levels, to the local level and include the wide range of private actors. The underlying rationale is that firstly, local measures need to be highly sensitive to their specific local context and secondly, many private risk contributions or vulnerabilities are simply out of reach of public regulation.

With climate change intensifying the likelihood of extreme events, preparing for this development through individual precaution becomes increasingly important for any risk prevention strategy. This is on one hand due to the fact that state-investments are decreasing and maintenance costs of existing infrastructures increase. On the other hand, despite the highest expenditures for protective measures, catastrophes remain a residual risk. However, experience has shown that in many cases even small measures on the endangered objects (e.g. property protection measures) or by individual property holders can achieve a significant reduction in damage.

Measures such as awareness raising, public relations, information and communication are at the core of individual risk precaution. Their focus can be on ‘grey’ measures (e.g. improvements or insurance of buildings), on ‘green’ measures (e.g. drainage on private ground, decreased sealing), or on ‘soft’ measures, which are less costly and time-consuming (e.g. alarm plans, provisional and temporary protection, extreme weather insurances). In the following we will focus on soft measures, particularly on the local assessment of climate risks, which affects both, vertical governance between local up to national scale and horizontal governance between the CCA and DRR domains.


A possible way forward for Individual Climate Risk Precaution can be seen in semi-formal, institutionalised cooperation modes between sectors in the national and sub-national public administration. Key conditions for success are:

  • Communicate the added value of collaboration for integrated CCA/DRR measures in a clear way, ideally with a precise goal and a concrete product
  • Transparently show efforts and costs
  • Avoid negative statements and competition for topical leadership by showing the leeway for joint CCA and DRR action
  • Offer a ‘safe’, i.e. informal, space for discussion on eye-level
  • Show proactive leadership, e.g. actively involve participants with a joint project whose concrete framework is prepared/supported by external experts
  • Steer away from maladaptation and individual blockages with intensive briefings and debriefings of meetings, if necessary, eye-to-eye
  • Maintain a well-kept network with good personal relations and trust to all relevant key actors
  • Do not shy away from committing resources (time, workforce, expertise, money) to the process
  • Build solutions by capitalising on existing materials, approaches, achievements, examples, experiences
  • Avoid top-down approaches in implementation by considering and consulting early on with all relevant stakeholders and potential users.


The lead coordination of such a process should ideally be centralised on a higher administrative level and in a powerful and resourceful department. The benefit of this coordination is shared between all participating departments, but is also possible to share the costs and distribute the efforts in a consensual manner.

Sub-national climate risk coordinators can offer critical support (i.e. knowledge transfer and translation, mediation, context specific expertise, etc.), especially in regard to implementation of measures. The implementation phase relies on local stakeholders like mayors, businesses, municipal utilities, land owners, and citizens. In Austria, volunteers have proven to play a key role for implementation or climate risk prevention measures. The last, but as we argue most important part of this chain are private actors, who are both the main beneficiaries and often overlooked individual players in risk precaution at the smallest scale, meaning on their own property.

4.1.4 The importance of integrated adaptation and disaster reduction strategies and plans at municipal level

Implement participatory designed strategy and plan at the municipal level that deal with climate-induced disasters.

Ingrid Coninx, Wageningen University and Research

The impact of climate induced extreme weather events is felt at the local level. Therefore, we recommend developing strategies and plans at the local level that integrates climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. These strategies and plans should be developed in a participatory way, which means that it should involve stakeholders like public officers of different departments, representatives of citizens, businesses and other social groups. Community resilience will improve by considering emergency planning in climate adaptation actions and climate change data guides the identification of upcoming vulnerabilities. The main arguments to support local strategy and plan development are:

  • The inclusion of local knowledge in the design of the plan
  • The development of a plan that fits with local culture and social structures
  • Enabling local ownership and therefore improving successful implementation

Local knowledge matters, particularly about past disasters and the location of severe impacts supports the effectiveness of strategies and plans. This knowledge is helpful to assess where measures have to be implemented as well as what kind of measures might be useful. Furthermore, local culture and social structures may differ among communities. Municipal plans acknowledge this variety and make sure that they fit within the local context. When plans are participatory prepared, tailored to the local situation, the community owns the plan, which contributes to more successful implementation. The benefit of developing plans that integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction is to support a coherent strategy and coherent measures towards flooding, heat waves, droughts etc. Resources can be combined to finance the plan implementation. The biggest limitation of the recommendations is the availability of data, and in particular climate data at the local scale. Downscaling climate projections to the unit of a town is sometimes difficult and even impossible, depending on the quality of the available data. In addition, not all municipalities have sufficient funds to get the required data.


Integrated climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction strategies and plans can be developed in several ways. PLACARD recommends a participatory approach to mobilise local knowledge and local ownership. At the core of the participatory approach is the local risk and impact assessment of climate induced extreme events such as flooding, heat stress, wildfire. The risks are estimated, and potential impacts are assessed by combining climate data and disaster information that is coming from science with local knowledge. Science will clarify when these extreme events are expected to increase in terms of frequency and intensity. Consequently, it will be discussed in a participatory manner what measures to take to deal with these risks and impacts, which is the basis of the strategy and plan. The participatory approach is helpful to organise social support of the various stakeholders, encourages the willingness to collaborate and to invest in the implementation of the measures. The discussed measures are further prioritised, responsibilities divided and required resources organised in order to contribute to successful implementation of the strategy and the plan.


Local politicians, local policy officers, emergency services and organisations. They are the key players who develop these local strategies and plans, engage the local community and make sure that required resources are organised. The local community will benefit because the strategies and plans support their resilience to deal with climate related disasters. National government can support the municipal level by a national adaptation strategy that can guide local plans, by scientific data that can be easily applied by the municipal level and by providing resources like finance for project implementation, if needed.