Climate Change Affects Regional Development

Climate change is already affecting regional development. This can be seen in the statistical data of international reinsurance companies which reflects the dramatic increase in the magnitude of damages during the last years, due to extreme weather events - notably floodings, storms, extreme heat and droughts (e.g. see Munich Publication). An increasing number of European municipalities and regions are struck by disasters which are very likely a result of climate change. In the process of managing the consequences of these disasters, the affected local and regional governments have become aware of the need for strategies and policies to reduce the risks and limit the impacts connected with such disasters. In other words, they have realised the need to find ways to adapt to the changing climate conditions and an increased probability of extreme weather events.

All the partners involved in the proposal have already been hit by extreme weather events such as floodings, overheating and droughts. These extremes affect buildings and infrastructure, cultural heritage, local business, ecosystems and agriculture, and as a consequence, lead to high economic losses and financial burdens. After coping with the immediate impacts, the affected cities and regions have agreed on the necessity of developing long-term strategies and precautionary approaches to limit future damages. The regional governments have so far worked individually on these problems. Very recently, they have begun to collaborate in order to learn from each other about the various impacts of climate change, to develop adaptation strategies that address these impacts, and to overcome obstacles towards implementing new approaches.

The potential of Climate Alliance's network and the vast experience on local climate protection existing within the network has fostered the development of the AMICA project. During CA's international conference in 2004, a workshop on adaptation policies was held as a first step to exchange experiences and possible solutions. Partners felt that an interregional effort is required in order to ensure that all relevant types of impacts and the various approaches to accordingly shape local policy are taken into consideration and interlinked. The partners are aiming at a broad exchange of experience among municipalities and regions to identify, with the assistance of CA, integrated and practical climate policies in order to maximise economic, social and ecological benefits.