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Adapting to climate change in Time (ACT)
Start date: Jan 1, 2010, End date: Jun 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Climate change is one of the most challenging environmental, social and economic threats to society. The Mediterranean basin is particularly vulnerable: climate change projections foresee a reduction of water availability, hydropower potential, summer tourism and general crop productivity. In addition, the risk of flooding due to rising sea levels is high in all coastal areas, including the Adriatic basin. Local authorities can play a crucial role in shaping climate change adaptation actions because they connect households to local resources and collective action; they determine the extent of external support to different social groups, and link local populations to national interventions. As such, local public sector bodies can play a major role in implementing Italy’s National Adaptation Plan of Action concerning climate change. Objectives The main focus of the ACT project was on developing a process for an effective municipal strategy for local climate change adaptation measures. This was to be achieved by involving local stakeholders (businesses, citizens, public health sector, civil protection, etc.) in a consultation process to help determine proportionate, appropriate and cost-effective measures to be included in the adaptation strategy. Results In line with their overall objectives, the ACT project partners identified three municipalities in the Mediterranean basin that appeared particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change – namely Ancona (Italy), Patras (Greece) and Bullas (Spain) – and got them involved in the project. Thanks to the different characteristics of these cities regarding their size, number of inhabitants, priority sectors and vulnerable areas, it was possible to study a great variety of situations. The idea of the project, however, was not to implement concrete adaptation measures, but rather to identify a sustainable approach for drawing up an adaptation plan at local level and identifying the main difficulties that must be faced when determining the correct adaptation strategies. In line with this thinking, the project first conducted preliminary studies on the effects of climate change on the economies of the three participating municipalities, and used these to inform the drafting of a local adaptation plan (LAP) for each of the three cities involved. The LAP provided a list of practical actions to be taken in order to implement the adaptation strategies with the involvement of local stakeholders. As a main result, the ACT consortium succeeded in developing a local adaptation strategy with the help of a well-defined, integrated and participatory methodology shared by all local actors. This strategy takes into consideration the environmental, social and economic impacts of climate change, thus increasing the resilience of cities to this phenomenon. Hence, ACT created an environment and knowledge base that should help to reduce the risks of environmental disasters in the long run. From a legislative point of view, the project contributed actively to the implementation of the 2007 EU Green Paper “Adapting to climate change in Europe – options for EU actions” by scaling down climate change forecasting models to the local level, so that substantial and effective actions can now be developed with the participation of all interested parties. At the socio-economic level, the ACT project has made it possible to anticipate problems linked to climate change and establish an adequate adaptation plan, which in turn enables control over the negative impacts of climate change on important economic sectors, such as agriculture, energy, transport, tourism and public health. Last but not least, the ACT project partner drafted European guidelines for LAPs in order to provide practical and operational support to public administrations wishing to start the process of adaptation to climate change. Whilst the guidelines are primarily aimed at local communities in the Mediterranean facing similar climate change impacts as the three participating cities, they are not intended as a set of fixed rules, but rather as a theoretical foundation on which climate adaptation strategies rest. They provide a list of things to do - and problems to be faced -once a municipality attempts to implement a local adaptation plan. The ACT project suggests an innovative way to unite efforts, commitments and the knowledge of different groups and individuals that can contribute to the achievement of a common goal: resilient communities, able to withstand the challenges of climate change. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).
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