Assessing planning progress: the quality of urban adaptation plans in Europe

Pietrapertosa, F., Buzasi, A., Olazabal, M., Spyridaki, N.-A., Eckersley, P. ORCID: 0000-0001-9048-8529, Simoes, S., Salvia, M., Fokaides, P. and Reckien, D., 2023. Assessing planning progress: the quality of urban adaptation plans in Europe. In: European Climate Change Adaptation Conference (ECCA2023), Dublin, Ireland, 19-21 June 2023.

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Since the Paris Agreement, there has been an increasing focus on assessing the progress of climate change adaptation across multiple sectors and regions. An important question set concerns the 'progress' means and how they could be assessed at international, national and local level. The important question whether local governments are learning and improving their abilities to plan for adaptation over time remains under-explored, especially due to the lack of policy data repositories and methods to compare the adaptation policy contents.

This work aims to investigate the improvement of the quality of urban adaptation plans in Europe over time. To this end, a new index, named ADAQA (ADAptation plan Quality Assessment) was developed, with the aim to assess the quality of adaptation plans and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of urban adaptation planning processes in European cities. The ADAQA index was applied to 167 urban adaptation plans that were published between 2005 and 2020 in a sample of 327 European cities.

The assessment was carried out in relation to six well-established principles: 1) fact base of potential impacts and risks in the local area; 2) adaptation goals; 3) adaptation measures; 4) details on the implementation of adaptation measures; 5) monitoring & evaluation of adaptation measures; and 6) societal participation in plan creation. In addition, the consistency of the plans was also investigated, evaluating the alignment and the coherence between identified climate risks and measures planned and monitored.
The results revealed that the general quality of the plans improved significantly over time. Overall, European cities' adaptation plans scored well in the description of adaptation measures (51% of the maximum score), the definition of adaptation goals (50%) and the identification of implementation tools and processes (46%). Conversely, the investigated plans scored poorly in the level of public participation, the plan definition process (17%), and the definition of the monitoring and evaluation steps (20%).

Regarding the consistency of the plans, a slight improvement over time for almost all principles was found, with the exception of the impacts and risks on vulnerable groups and the respective adaptation measures. The consistency between climate impacts and risks and adaptation measures for vulnerable groups was found to be lower than the alignment between vulnerable sectors and industries and adaptation measures. Moreover, vulnerable groups were found to be rarely involved in participatory processes and the vast majority of plans did not mention monitoring & evaluation to address their specific needs.

In this study, it is argued that quality assessments of climate adaptation plans and policies should be included in the portfolio of adaptation evaluations regarding their success and effectiveness, such as the Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement in 2023 and related adaptation monitoring and tracking procedures. In the absence of comparable, globally available indicators of adaptation and its outcomes, the ADAQA index (Reckien et al, 2023) , is a valid indicator for assessing the quality of plans and for setting out how they address specific climate threats.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Pietrapertosa, F., Buzasi, A., Olazabal, M., Spyridaki, N.-A., Eckersley, P., Simoes, S., Salvia, M., Fokaides, P. and Reckien, D.
Date: June 2023
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 03 Jul 2023 15:51
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2023 15:51

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