JBA in Brussels advising Member States on climate change adaptation

Rachel Brisley, our Head of Climate Change Adaptation, was in Brussels this week. She was speaking at the JASPERS seminar on Climate Change Related Requirements for Major Projects in the 2014-2020 Programming Period. Here she tells us more about her trip.

Theory day

After a very early flight, I headed to the European Investment Bank for the first session of the two-day workshop. The room was packed with attendees comprising Government and local authority officers, consultants and infrastructure companies from several Member States, including Greece, Poland, Croatia, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The first day focused on ‘theory’, i.e. current thinking on climate change and the programme requirements. It consisted of informative and interesting presentations from DG CLIMA, the European Environment Agency, Arkadis on behalf of DG REGIO, JASPERS and the European Investment Bank.

These covered a range of topics from the EU Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. There was also an updated review of projected climate change impacts for Europe to the requirements for climate change vulnerability and risk assessment in major projects, and a review of the guidance available plus carbon footprinting.

I was concerned about keeping awake after the early flight but there was no difficulty there due to the quality of the presentations and enthusiasm of the speakers.

Practice day

Day two was based on ‘practice’ covering project examples and experience of undertaking climate change vulnerability and risk assessments. We kicked off at 9:30 with not too many bleary eyes after the previous evening’s networking activities.

Transport project developers from Poland and the Slovak Republic talked about how they had applied the climate change adaptation requirements to their projects. This highlighted the difficulties of applying new guidance to projects that can take up to 10 years to develop, and promoting strategic approaches to climate change risk assessment.

After a quick coffee break, it was the water sector’s turn. First a presentation from Croatia concerning the climate change vulnerability and risk assessment for a wastewater project. Croatia was one of the first Member States to apply the methodology. They have built up a good portfolio of experience over the last three years.

Then I took the final presentation spot, highlighting the capacity building work that JBA has been doing over the last three years supporting the JASPERS teams in Vienna, Luxembourg and Bucharest. We have also advised on projects under development in Croatia, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia. Key lessons learned from our experience included involving a wide group of stakeholders in the risk assessment approach and not side-lining climate change as an environmental issue.

We found it important to ensure that all conclusions from the assessment are presented in detail in the application form and supporting documents with full justification for assumptions and findings. It’s also good to build climate change risk assessment into project development as early as possible.

The final sessions comprised a panel session and summing up by JASPERS. A range of questions in relation to the process and sharing best practice were discussed before a great lunch and more networking.

Want to know more?

Find out more about out work on Climate Change Adaptation or the JASPERS seminar by contacting Rachel Brisley.

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