Austrian Strategy for Adaptation
The Austrian Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change was adopted on 23 October 2012 by the federal government and taken into consideration by the Provincial Governors’ Conference on 16 May 2013.
The objective of the Austrian Adaptation Strategy is to avoid the adverse effects of climate change on the environment, society, and the economy and to fully utilize any opportunities that may arise. The adoption of the Adaptation Strategy is intended to strengthen natural, social, and technological adaptive capacities.
As a nationwide framework for the alignment of necessary adaptation measures, the strategy aims to bring together relevant actors, support cooperative action, and facilitate the use of synergies through cooperation wherever possible. It seeks to provide recommendations in each of the various areas and to identify linkages for all the actors challenged with implementation. In accordance with the precautionary principle, the strategy attempts to lay a foundation for forward-looking action with regard to future climate change impacts and to foster successful implementation.
The current Austrian Adaptation Strategy is divided into two parts: a Strategic Framework (or “context”) and an Action Plan. The framework addresses fundamental issues and explains the embedding of the strategy in the overall context. The Action Plan focuses on the vulnerability of the respective areas for actions and presents concrete recommendations for adaptation.
The following 14 areas for action are addressed by the strategy: agriculture, forestry, water resources and water management, tourism, energy (with a focus on the electricity industry), construction and housing, protection from natural hazards, disaster risk management, health, ecosystems/biodiversity, transportation infrastructure and selected aspects of mobility, spatial planning, business/industry/trade, and cities (with a focus on urban green and open spaces).
In the coming years and decades, Austria will have to gradually adapt to climate change. The present Adaptation Strategy provides an appropriate framework for this process. For its successful implementation, the closest possible cooperation between all actors concerned will be essential.
Adaptation to climate change is a process that must begin immediately but will extend over long time horizons. Continuous improvements in the state of knowledge and experiences with implementation are the basis for ongoing learning and the prerequisite for successful further progress.
In the next step, the following projects have been launched and implemented:
- Scientific-Economic Evaluation of the Consequences of Climate Change in Austria; results are available online, http://coin.ccca.at
- Framework to demonstrate the implementation Progress of the Austrian Adaptation Strategy published in 2014, http://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/umwelt/klimaschutz/klimapolitik_national/anpassungsstrategie/fortschrittsbericht.html (in German)
- First Progress Report on Adaptation in Austria launched in December 2015, http://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/umwelt/klimaschutz/klimapolitik_national/anpassungsstrategie/Fortschrittsbericht.html (in German)
- Establishment of a dialogue with stakeholders to discuss the next steps for implementation
- Revision of the Strategy (Framework and Action Plan) to integrate latest Information (e.g. APCC 2014) as well as results from the Progress Report, to be published late 2016
Origins of the strategy
The strategy was developed over five years on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment, and Water Management (Lebensministerium). The drafting process was characterized by the extensive and active participation of representatives from the ministries, the federal states, interest groups, stakeholders, NGOs, and other institutions. The Environment Agency Austria was actively involved in various aspects of the strategy’s development; among other things, it organized the participation process of around 100 institutions.