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The Austrian strategy for adaption to climate change

The Austrian Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change was adopted by the Council of Ministers in October 2012 and was endorsed by the Provincial Governors’ Conference in May 2013. Austria was thus one of the first EU member states to link a strategic concept for adaptation to climate change with a comprehensive action plan for implementing concrete recommendations for action. The implementation of measures listed in the plan has been under way since then.

In 2015, an initial evaluation of the level of implementation was published in accordance with the government program mandate. This progress report was also adopted by the Federal and by the Provincial governments. For the first time, the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC 2015) adopted a legally binding global climate change agreement with commitments for industrialized and developing countries.

Adaptation to climate change is treated as an objective of equal importance with mitigation. Austria had been pursuing this two-pronged principle in climate policy even before this international decision, focusing on the one hand on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to directly mitigate climate change and, on the other, on adapting to the effects of climate change that can no longer be avoided. Adaptation to climate change must be based on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge and current political conditions.

In fulfillment of the mandate of the Council of Ministers, the existing 2012 adaptation strategy has therefore been updated. Its structure has been preserved; the overall document is divided into a strategic part (context) and an action plan with concrete recommendations for action. In the revised version of the strategy, in which among other things all relevant ministries, the states, representatives of special interest groups, stakeholders and NGOs were involved, key findings from the 2015 progress report have also been integrated. Although there have been many changes in climate in the history of the earth, the changes currently under way are presenting enormous challenges, especially in view of their speed. On their own, and without any guiding intervention, the environment and society can scarcely keep up with the changes. A forward-looking adaptation policy must signpost the path into the future. This requires a “policy of small steps” with comprehensive consideration of aspects of climate change in all relevant planning. But it also requires long-term restructuring of society and renewed awareness of sustainability in its full meaning. It seems essential for the potential consequences of climate change to be taken into account in all relevant future planning and decision-making processes from the national to the local levels. The strategy presented here provides a framework for such an adaptation policy. 

Keywords

  • Themes:Climate Change, Disaster Risk Management, Governance
  • Countries/Regions:Austria

  • Short URL:http://preventionweb.net/go/61758

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