Adaptive Communities Node - NSW Adaptation Research Hub
This three year research node examining the process of community adaptation within the State of New South Wales (NSW), commenced in August 2013. The research is being led by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney in collaboration with the CSIRO- Climate Adaptation Flagship. The $2.75 million research node is funded by the NSW Office of the Environment and Heritage. The overall aim of the research node is to explore pathways of increasing the capacity of communities to adapt to such impacts and inform how government can service the changing and ongoing needs of adapting communities. [more details]
Climate Change Adaptation in the Philippines: Children and their Communities
The Institute for Sustainable Futures worked in partnership with Plan International Australia to support communities in five provinces in the Philippines that are highly vulnerable to extreme events including typhoons, storm surges, flooding, landslides and drought. This project, funded by AusAID's Community-based Climate Change Action Grants program, integrated traditional knowledge and practice with scientific knowledge to apply practical solutions that enable communities to enhance their resilience to climate change. As research partner, the Institute provided guidance and advice to Plan, the Philippines Climate Change Commission and local partners on concept note development, project design and monitoring and evaluation. The Institute also developed a framework of local-level climate change adaptation indicators that will help demonstrate and ensure effective, appropriate and sustainable climate change adaptation from the perspective of children and their communities.
Climate change adaptation in the Solomon Islands
Client: Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA
Climate Change risk assessment and adaptation planning in Solomon Island Communities. The project sought to support APHEDA's SKILLS project undertaken as part of the Solomon Islands NGO Partnership Agreement. ISF conducted a participative workshop on climate change basics and trailed a community-based process (designed by ISF to complement a risk assessment tool called CRiSTAL) to help communities to identify their own climate risks, impacts and current and future coping strategies based on local strengths and assets. The workshop was conducted along with a provincial village visit to take knowledge from the workshop and translate it into practice in the field.
Climate Change Adaption for Australian Minerals Industry Professionals: Best Practice Guidelines
Funded by: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility
This project investigates the mineral industry’s existing knowledge, skills and capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The industry is already facing a number of challenges associated with climate change, and the research project will help identify and fill gaps in the knowledge and skills of mining professionals in the area of future risk assessment and adaptation measures. A leading practice guideline has been developed in consultation with mining and mineral processing professionals to assist them in assessing risk from climate change, as well as planning, implementing and monitoring climate change adaptation measures.
Cross-Scale Barriers to Adaptation in Local Government, Australia
Funded by: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
A key feature of this study was to identify cross-scale barriers to planned adaptation within the context of Local Government (LG) in Australia. Many of the impacts of climate change and variability have or will be experienced at the local level. As a result, LGs in Australia (and overseas) have initiated plans to adapt to these impacts. However, the pathway to planning and implementation of adaptation is not a barrier free process. LGs are embedded in a larger governance context that has the potential to limit the effectiveness of planned adaptation initiatives on the ground. Drawing on current best practice, a framework and diagnostic tool was used to investigate and understand the governance architecture that gives rise to cross-scale barriers and their significance to certain contexts and sectors. This facilitated the identification of these barriers and related strategies to overcome them. Further, by identifying barriers experienced when coping with climate variability at a local government level, limitations and possible strategies to respond to future climate change induced impacts were be identified. Various methods were adopted in which end-users are engaged throughout the study, including: 3 workshops with LG representatives and multi-stakeholders, 5 case studies reflecting the critical barriers with a key focus on NSW but will have replicability at the national level, 20 key informant interviews in various States to validate results and desktop studies. A checklist matrix of 8-10 critical barriers for LG across Australia was be developed with proposed strategies to overcome them.
Mukheibir P, Kuruppu N, Gero A, Herriman J, 2013 Cross-Scale Barriers to Climate
Change Adaptation in Local Government, Australia, [prepared for NCCARF] Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney, pp.1-101. View/Download
Gero. A, Kuruppu. N, & Mukheibir. P, 2012 Cross-Scale Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in Local Government, Australia – Background Report, [prepared for NCCARF] Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney. View/Download
Kuruppu. N, Gero. A, Mukheibir. P & Herriman J, 2012 Cross-Scale Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in Local Government, Australia – Workshop One Report, [prepared for NCCARF] Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney. View/Download
Herriman, E.J., Kuruppu, N., Gero, A. & Mukheibir, P. 2012, 'Cross-scale barriers to climate change adaptation in local government, Australia - Workshop Two report', Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-47. View/Download
Mukheibir, P., Gero, A. & Herriman, E.J. 2012, 'Cross-scale barriers to climate change adaptation in local government, Australia - Workshop Three report', Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-27. View/Download
Enhancing the Adaptive Capacity of Small-to- Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to Climate Change and Variability
Funded by: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
Small-to-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) comprise 96 per cent of all private businesses in Australia and are the largest employers and the largest contributors to GDP. Moreover, SMEs play a significant role within socio-economic systems; providing employment, goods and services and tax revenue for communities. Given these linkages, the capacity of SMEs to adapt to expected climate change and variability will be vital to the overall adaptation efforts and thus the resilience of communities, government agencies and other sectors. Climate change may result in adverse business outcomes: business interruptions, increased investment or insurance costs, declining financial measures such as value, return and growth. SMEs face greater short-term losses after natural disaster and may have lower adaptive capacity than larger enterprises for various reasons. Research on understanding adaptation within the private sector in Australia and overseas in general, has been limited to date. This research aims to contribute to filling this void.
This research aims to address the following:
1) to what extent have SMEs considered and integrated adaptation into business planning?
2) what are the key barriers and opportunities to adaptation in various SME sectors? and
3) what types of adaptation strategies can businesses adopt in anticipation of climate change?
Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessment (IRVA) for Climate Change
Client: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Institute researchers assisted the Office of Environment and Heritage in undertaking integrated vulnerability assessments in regions throughout NSW. The IRVA is a process designed to develop a shared understanding among a group of stakeholders of the likely impacts of future changes to climate, and stimulate a desire for action to plan adaptation to climate impacts. The IRVA was developed for use with public sector managers to identify climate impacts on regional government service provision, but can be used with other types of stakeholders at a range of scales. The process incorporates: a complex systems thinking approach; participatory engagement in which stakeholders co-design an analysis of contextual vulnerability; a focus on developing an understanding of the constraints to adaptation and identifying opportunities for building the adaptive capacity of communities and the region; and, qualitative analysis supported wherever possible with quantitative data, which acknowledges the ‘wickedness’ of climate change as a problem. To date assessments have been conducted for the South East and Riverina-Murray regions of NSW. IRVAs are planned in 2013 for the City of Sydney and the North Coast of NSW.
Planning for Resilient Water Systems – Methods for Decision Making
Smart Water Fund
Institute researchers developed an options assessment framework for the preparation of water supply demand investment strategies. The brief indicated there is now widespread recognition that a generational shift is required away from conventional deterministic planning towards more flexible and adaptive planning and management. This shift is being driven by the need to maintain water security in the face of increasing uncertainty in key determinants of water businesses, as well as by increasing determination to broaden the objectives that a water system should meet.
In response, the assessment framework provides a process and methodology that specifically:
- Incorporates the vision of the utilities and the multiple values of water into the decision making process by setting clear objectives to ensure that the investment strategies contribute to a sustainable, liveable, prosperous and healthy city;
- Prioritises portfolios of measures that are least cost to the community in the broadest sense by providing methods to assess measures against social, environmental and economic criteria;
- Prioritises portfolios of measures through the use of investment strategies that are resilient to future uncertainty by assessing their flexibility and robustness against a range of scenario paths;
- Provides a clear and transparent process that clearly communicates the outcomes and basis of the assessment to key decision makers; and
- Involves stakeholders in the process of setting the objectives, identifying viable measures and in developing viable investment strategies.
In recognition of this innovative approach, ISF were awarded the Service Provider Innovation Award (2012) by the Smart Water Fund.
For more information about this project, please see the Smart Water Fund web site.
Understanding the Pacific’s adaptive capacity to emergencies in the context of climate change
Funded by: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF)
This project sees ISF researchers teaming up with another UTS research institute (WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health), working closely with policy makers and practitioners to assess Australia’s current systems for emergency and disaster response in the Pacific, the Pacific Islands’ current systems for disaster response and their future needs in order to enable better preparedness in the event of disasters. This project is funded by National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and ran throughout 2012.
Research outputs from this project:
Review of Australia’s Overseas Disaster and Emergency Response Sector
A desktop review was conducted to provide a background on the Australian organisations involved in disaster response in the Pacific, and the policies and strategies that underpin their response. This early research was complemented and updated with information from interviews and workshops later in the research process.
Background Review: Disaster Response Systems of Four Pacific Island Countries
A desktop review was conducted on the disaster response systems in the four case study countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu). This report contains information on the organisations involved and the policies and legislation supporting disaster response, and was complemented by information from interviews and workshops in-country later in the research process.
Projected Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific
A review of the current scientific understanding of climate change projections for the Pacific was conducted in the early stages of this research. This allowed the research to be contextualised according to the latest science on climate change impacts on extreme weather.
ISF and WHO CC Poster Presentation
ISF presented preliminary findings of the research at the NCCARF Conference in Melbourne in June 2012.
Pacific Regional Progress in Disaster Risk Management
ISF was involved in reviewing progress in disaster risk management across the Pacific region, in collaboration with the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SOPAC-SPC). A Regional Synthesis Report of progress was developed, including analysis of data and synthesis of the efforts made in regards to the implementation of international and regional disaster risk management frameworks at regional and national level in the Pacific. Results were presented at the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management in New Caledonia in September 2012.
Water in North East Victoria: regional community development climate adaptation plan
Client: North East Greenhouse Alliance
A toolbox of ten community engagement activities that can be used to engage the community in climate change adaptation was developed following extensive desktop research and three pilot community engagement initiatives to test practical community engagement approaches with communities in North East Victoria. Community groups that are vulnerable to climate change were identified and appropriate community engagement activities were designed based on a series of interviews with key stakeholders and knowledge holders at councils, other agencies or community groups.
The three pilot community engagement programs were:
• The North East Brains Trust – workshops on climate change resilience with older people in Wodonga and Tallangatta
• A grassroots community leadership pilot program, involving members of the Harrietville Community Building Initiative and community leaders in Yackandandah
• A trial of several mobile outreach activities on climate change resilience in Wangaratta, alongside a trial of Wangaratta Council’s new eco-living trailer.
Participant feedback surveys, facilitator observations and reflections and analysis of the outputs from the activities were used to inform the final plan and toolbox.
Riedy, C, Herriman, J, Daly, J, Ross, K, Jackson, M, Lederwasch, A, Boronyak, L and Murta, J, 2012, Water in North East Victoria: Regional Community Development Climate Adaptation Plan – Final Report , prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures for the North East Greenhouse Alliance. View/download